|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1972 - Quarter 2|
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Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On use of Molniya and Ekran for a unified satellite communications system' was issued. The YeSSS was defined as the Molniya-2 in elliptical orbit and Raduga (Statsionar) in geosynchronous orbit. References: 474 .
During an Orbital Workshop meteoroid shield test at MSFC, it was discovered that in one hinge section of the foldout panel, nine of the 15 torsion springs were installed in such a manner that they were only 50-percent effective in action to assist shield deployment. Action was initiated to ensure proper spring action.
The Apollo 16 (AS-511) space vehicle was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, KSC, at 12:54 p.m. EST April 16, with a crew of astronauts John W. Young, Thomas K. Mattingly II, and Charles M. Duke, Jr. After insertion into an earth parking orbit for spacecraft system checks, the spacecraft and the S-IVB stage were placed on a trajectory to the moon at 3:28 p.m. CSM transposition and docking with the LM were achieved, although a number of minor anomalies were noted.
One anomaly, an auxiliary propulsion system leak on the S-IVB stage, produced an unpredictable thrust and prevented a final S-IVB targeting maneuver after separation from the CSM. Tracking of the S-IVB ended at 4:04 p.m. EST April 17, when the instrument unit's signal was lost. The stage hit the lunar surface at 4:02 p.m. April 19, 260 kilometers northeast of the target point. The impact was detected by the seismometers left on the moon by the Apollo 12, 14, and 15 missions.
Spacecraft operations were near normal during the coast to the moon. Unexplained light-colored particles from the LM were investigated and identified as shredded thermal paint. Other activities during the translunar coast included a cislunar navigation exercise, ultraviolet photography of the earth and moon, an electrophoresis demonstration, and an investigation of the visual light-flash phenomenon noted on previous flights. Astronaut Duke counted 70 white, instantaneous light flashes that left no after-glow.
Apollo 16 entered a lunar orbit of 314 by 107.7 kilometers at 3:22 p.m. April 19. After separation of LM-11 Orion from CSM 112 Casper, a CSM active rendezvous kept the two vehicles close together while an anomaly discovered on the service propulsion system was evaluated. Tests and analyses showed the redundant system to be still safe and usable if required. The vehicles were again separated and the mission continued on a revised timeline because of the 5 3/4-hour delay.
The lunar module landed with Duke and Young in the moon's Descartes region, about 230 meters northwest of the planned target area at 9:23 p.m. EST April 20. A sleep period was scheduled before EVA.
The first extravehicular activity began at 11:59 a.m. April 21, after the eight-hour rest period. Television coverage of surface activity was delayed until the lunar roving vehicle systems were activated, because the steerable antenna on the lunar module could not be used. The lunar surface experiments packages were deployed, but accidental breaking of the electronics cable rendered the heat flow experiment inoperable. After completing activities at the experiments site, the crew drove the lunar roving vehicle west to Flag Crater, where they performed the planned tasks. The inbound traverse route was just slightly south of the outbound route, and the next stop was Spook Crater. The crew then returned via the experiment station to the lunar module and deployed the solar wind composition experiment. The duration of the extravehicular activity was 7 hours 11 minutes. The distance traveled by the lunar roving vehicle was 4.2 kilometers. The crew collected 20 kilograms of samples.
The second extravehicular traverse, which began at 11:33 a.m. April 22, was south-southeast to a mare-sampling area near the Cinco Craters on Stone Mountain. The crew then drove in a northwesterly direction, making stops near Stubby and Wreck Craters. The last leg of the traverse was north to the experiments station and the lunar module. The second extravehicular activity lasted 7 hours 23 minutes. The distance traveled by the lunar roving vehicle was 11.1 kilometers.
Four stations were deleted from the third extravehicular traverse, which began 30 minutes early at 10:27 a.m. April 23 to allow extra time. The first stop was North Ray Crater, where "House Rock" on the rim of the crater was sampled. The crew then drove southeast to "Shadow Rock." The return route to the LM retraced the outbound route. The third extravehicular activity lasted 5 hours 40 minutes, and the lunar roving vehicle traveled 11.4 kilometers.
Lunar surface activities outside the LM totaled 20 hours 15 minutes for the mission. The total distance traveled in the lunar roving vehicle was 26.7 kilometers. The crew remained on the lunar surface 71 hours 14 minutes and collected 96.6 kilograms of lunar samples.
While the lunar module crew was on the surface, Mattingly, orbiting the moon in the CSM, was obtaining photographs, measuring physical properties of the moon and deep space, and making visual observations. Essentially the same complement of instruments was used to gather data as was used on the Apollo 15 mission, but different areas of the lunar surface were flown over and more comprehensive deep space measurements were made, providing scientific data that could be used to validate findings from Apollo 15 as well as add to the total store of knowledge of the moon and its atmosphere, the solar system, and galactic space.
The LM lifted off from the moon at 8:26 p.m. EST April 23, rendezvoused with the CSM, and docked with it in orbit. Young and Duke transferred to the CSM with samples, film, and equipment, and the LM was jettisoned the next day. LM attitude control was lost at jettison; therefore a deorbit maneuver was not possible and the LM remained in lunar orbit, with an estimated orbital lifetime of about one year.
The particles and fields subsatellite was launched into lunar orbit and normal system operation was noted. However, the spacecraft orbital shaping maneuver was not performed before ejection and the subsatellite was placed in a non-optimum orbit that resulted in a much shorter lifetime than the planned year. Loss of all subsatellite tracking and telemetry data on the 425th revolution (May 29) indicated that the subsatellite had hit the lunar surface.
The mass spectrometer deployment boom stalled during a retract cycle and was jettisoned before transearth injection. The second plane-change maneuver and some orbital science photography were deleted so that transearth injection could be performed about 24 hours earlier than originally planned.
Activities during the transearth coast phase of the mission included photography for a contamination study for the Skylab program and completion of the visual light-flash-phenomenon investigation that had been partially accomplished during translunar coast. A 1-hour 24-minute transearth extravehicular activity was conducted by command module pilot Mattingly to retrieve the film cassettes from the scientific instrument module cameras, inspect the equipment, and expose a microbial-response experiment to the space environment. Two midcourse corrections were made on the return flight to achieve the desired entry interface conditions.
Entry and landing were normal, completing a 265-hour 51-minute mission. The command module was viewed on television while dropping on the drogue parachutes, and continuous coverage was provided through crew recovery. Splashdown was at 2:44 p.m. EST April 27 in mid-Pacific, 5 kilometers from the recovery ship U.S.S. Ticonderoga. All primary mission objectives had been achieved. Additional Details: Apollo 16. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 16 , 26 , 27 , 33 , 60 .
Explored lunar surface near LM and deployed ALSEP unmanned scientific station equipment. References: 66 .
Drove in lunar rover to Stone Mountain. References: 66 .
Drove in lunar rover to North Ray crater. References: 66 .
Threw excess equipment out of LM before lift-off. References: 66 .
Deep space retrieval of film cartridges from Service Module. References: 66 .
Council of Chief Designers Decree 'On approval of the N1-L3M proposal' was issued. References: 474 .
Continued operation of the long-range telephone and telegraph radio-communication system; transmission of USSR central television programmes to stations in the Orbita network and international cooperation. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Not listed as failure by Martin but did not reach orbit. Possible spaceplane test? References: 5 .
Last launch of a Thorad/Agena from Vandenberg AFB (first launch on 9 August 1966). References: 88 .
In the second half of 1972 and first half of 1973 TsKBEM began technical development of a Multi-module Orbital Complex (MOK). MOK was not a single spacecraft but an integrated collection of earth-based and near-earth orbital systems consisting of the Multi-module Cosmic Base Station (MKBS); autonomous spacecraft, operating from the MKBS; and logistics systems (expendable and reusable launch vehicles, interorbital tugs, earth launch sites, etc). MOK was dependent on the N1 launch vehicle, and was abandoned when this was cancelled in 1974.
The Russians were never able to have enough success with the N1 booster to have a serious schedule for the first Soviet lunar landing. In January 1969, before the first N1 launch, it was not expected that a Soviet landing would take place until 1972 at the earliest. In such circumstances only a disaster leading to cancellation of the Apollo program would allow the Russians to be first to the moon. After the explosions of the first two N1 rockets, and the success of Apollo 11, Russian engineering efforts were diverted into crash development of the Salyut space station in order to beat the American Skylab. Cosmonauts trained for L3 lunar landing missions until October 1973, when the last training group was dissolved. By that time actual manned flight of the original single-launch L3 LOK/LK spacecraft to the moon had been abandoned. Instead work was underway on the N1F-L3M, a twin launch scenario that would put the L3M lander on the surface in 1978 for extended operations, and eventually, a lunar base. This in turn was cancelled with the entire N1 program in 1974.
He realized he had been sidelined at NASA and that future plans for lunar and Mars exploration were not to be. He became the vice-present of Fairchild Industries in Germantown, Maryland. There he was also active in establishing and promoting the National Space Institute.
Over Indian Ocean. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 278 .
Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 'On schedule of work for the Almaz and TKS programs' was issued. References: 474 .
Five men are apprehended by police in attempt to bug Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.'s Watergate complex - start of the Watergate scandal
Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 'On the Creation of Automatic Universal Orbital Stations (AUOS)-on approval of work on the AUOS satellite bus' was issued. References: 474 .
NASA Deputy Administrator George M. Low and Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight Dale D. Myers met and decided there was no foreseeable mission for CSMs 115 and 115a; funds would not be authorized for any work on these spacecraft; and skills would not be retained specifically to work on them. References: 16 .
Planned first crew to the first Almaz space station. Cancelled after the loss of control of Almaz OPS 1 (Salyut 2) in orbit. References: 344 .
Planned second crew to the first Almaz space station. Cancelled after the loss of control of Almaz OPS 1 (Salyut 2) in orbit. References: 344 .
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