|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1976 - Quarter 2|
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Final test flight of Italian submarine- and ship-launched ballistic missile. Dummy second stage. Project cancelled after Italy ratified Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and decided to give up pursuit of an independent nuclear deterrent.
Complete assembly and deliver MPTA structure on dock, Lockheed test site, Palmdale References: 15 .
MPTA-098 proof load test setup, Lockheed test site, Palmdale References: 15 .
LAGEOS (Laser Geodetic Satellite) was a very dense (high mass-to-area ratio) laser retroreflector satellite which provided a permanent reference point in a very stable orbit for such precision earth-dynamics measurements as crustal motions, regional strains, fault motions, polar motion and earth-rotation variations, solid earth tides, and other kinematic and dynamic parameters associated with earthquake assessment and alleviation. The performance in orbit of LAGEOS was limited only by degradation of the retroreflectors, so many decades of useful life can be expected. The high mass-to-area ratio and the precise, stable (attitude-independent) geometry of the spacecraft, together with the orbit, made this satellite the most precise position reference available. Because it is visible in all parts of the world and has an extended operation life in orbit, LAGEOS can serve as a fundamental standard for decades. Additional Details: Lageos. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Continued operation of the long-range telephone and telegraph radio-communication system within the Soviet Union and transmission of USSR central television programmes to stations in the Orbita and participating international networks (international coope ration scheme). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
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 .
Decree 409-147 'On Creation of Yantar-1KFT Space Complex for Solving Goals of Cartography--development of the Yantar-1KFT reconnaissance satellite' was issued. References: 474 .
Decree 'On selection of design layout for Buran' was issued. Following exhaustive analysis and inability to improve on the design, a straight aerodynamic copy of the US space shuttle, was selected as the Buran orbiter configuration. MiG was selected as subcontractor to build the orbiter. For this purpose MiG spun off a new design bureau, Molniya, with G E Lozino-Lozinskiy as chief designer. References: 474 .
Decree 'On course of work on nuclear rocket engines' was issued. The 11B97 stage would have an electric capacity of 500-600 kW and would use specialised plasma-ion electric engines using standing plasma waves and anodes. It was powered from a reactor with a 200 litre core containing 30 kg of uranium fuel. In 1978 this engine was studied for use as a reusable interorbital space tug for launch by Energia-Buran. References: 474 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Second successful flight of the Almaz manned military space station. Operated for 409 days, during which the crews of Soyuz 22 and 24 visited the station. Soyuz 23 was to have docked but its long-distance rendezvous system failed. Soyuz 25 was planned, but the mission would have been incomplete due to low orientation fuel on Salyut 5, so it was cancelled. The film capsule was ejected 22 February 1977 (and sold at Sotheby's, New York, on December 11, 1993!). The station was deorbited on 8 August 1977. In addition to the human crew two Russian tortoises (Testudo horsfieldi) and Zebrafish (Danio rerio) were flown.
The results of the Salyut 3 and 5 flights showed that manned reconnaissance was not worth the expense. There was minimal time to operate the equipment after the crew took the necessary time for maintenance of station housekeeping and environmental control systems. The experiments themselves showed good results and especially the value of reconnaissance of the same location in many different spectral bands and parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Additional Details: Salyut 5. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 274 .
Complete MPTA-098 proof load test, Lockheed test site and on dock, Palmdale References: 15 .
Last launch of a Titan II ICBM (first West Coast launch on 16 February 1963). References: 88 .
Start horizontal ground vibration tests and proof load tests, Enterprise (OV-101) References: 15 .
SSME dummy set on dock, Palmdale, Enterprise (OV-101) References: 15 .
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