Goddard achieves the first flight of a liquid-propellant rocket at Aunt Effie's Farm, Auburn, Massachusetts. Altitude 41 ft; average speed 60 mph; in air 2.5 sec; landed 184 ft from launching frame; total path 220 ft. This event was the "Kitty Hawk" of rocketry. References: 17 , 482 .
Robert H. Goddard's classic report on "Liquid Propellant Rocket Development," reviewing his liquid -fuel rocket research and flight testing since 1919, was published by the Smithsonian Institution. References: 17 .
At a National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) seminar, in Washington, D.C., with Air Force and Navy personnel attending, NACA personnel proposed a jet-propelled transonic research airplane be developed. This proposal ultimately led to the 'X' series research airplane projects. References: 483 .
Council of Soviet Ministers (SM) Decree 'On uniting the First and Second Chief Directorates of Council of Ministers' was issued. References: 474 .
The second Walt Disney / Wernher Von Braun program presented the powerful image of a wheelike space station as a launching point for a mission to the Moon.
Purchase approval in the amount of $125,000 was requested by the Space Task Group from NASA Headquarters for the procurement of five developmental pressure suits for Project Mercury. References: 483 .
An enabling decree was issued on 1 August 1961 by the Central Committee and Politburo. The UR-200 was designed not only to send a thermonuclear warhead over a range of 12,000 km, but also to orbit all of the Kosmoplan military variants: the IS ASAT; the US nuclear-powered naval intelligence satellite; and the Kosmoplan combat re-entry vehicle.
It was allocated to a ground test simulating orbital flight environmental conditions at the McDonnell plant site. References: 483 .
The Air Force successfully launched a Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile. This was the first full-scale test of the vehicle; it flew 8000 km out over the Atlantic Ocean.
First successful launch of Kosmos 63S1 launch vehicle. Decay date suspect Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space; development of elements in the design of space craft. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 99 .
The Atlas-Agena target vehicle for the Gemini VIII mission was successfully launched from KSC Launch Complex 14 at 10 a.m. EST March 16. The Gemini VIII spacecraft followed from Launch Complex 19 at 11:41 a.m., with command pilot Neil A. Armstrong and pilot David R. Scott aboard. The spacecraft and its target vehicle rendezvoused and docked, with docking confirmed 6 hours 33 minutes after the spacecraft was launched. This first successful docking with an Agena target vehicle was followed by a major space emergency. About 27 minutes later the spacecraft-Agena combination encountered unexpected roll and yaw motion. A stuck thruster on Gemini put the docked assembly into a wild high speed gyration. Near structural limits and blackout, Armstrong undocked, figuring the problem was in the Agena, which only made it worse. The problem arose again and when the yaw and roll rates became too high the crew shut the main Gemini reaction control system down and activated and used both rings of the reentry control system to reduce the spacecraft rates to zero. This used 75% of that system's fuel. Although the crew wanted to press on with the mission and Scott's planned space walk, ground control ordered an emergency splashdown in the western Pacific during the seventh revolution. The spacecraft landed at 10:23 p.m. EST March 16 and Armstrong and Scott were picked up by the destroyer U.S.S. Mason at 1:37 a.m. EST March 17. Although the flight was cut short by the incident, one of the primary objectives - rendezvous and docking (the first rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbital flight) - was accomplished.
Primary objectives of the scheduled three-day mission were to rendezvous and dock with the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) and to conduct extravehicular activities. Secondary objectives included rendezvous and docking during the fourth revolution, performing docked maneuvers using the GATV primary propulsion system, executing 10 experiments, conducting docking practice, performing a rerendezvous, evaluating the auxiliary tape memory unit, demonstrating controlled reentry, and parking the GATV in a 220-nautical mile circular orbit. The GATV was inserted into a nominal 161-nautical mile circular orbit, the spacecraft into a nominal 86 by 147-nautical mile elliptical orbit. During the six hours following insertion, the spacecraft completed nine maneuvers to rendezvous with the GATV. Rendezvous phase ended at 5 hours 58 minutes ground elapsed time, with the spacecraft 150 feet from the GATV and no relative motion between the two vehicles. Stationkeeping maneuvers preceded docking, which was accomplished at 6 hours 33 minutes ground elapsed time. A major problem developed 27 minutes after docking, when a spacecraft orbit attitude and maneuver system (OAMS) thruster malfunctioned. The crew undocked from the GATV and managed to bring the spacecraft under control by deactivating the OAMS and using the reentry control system (RCS) to reduce the spacecraft's rapid rotation. Premature use of the RCS, however, required the mission to be terminated early. The retrofire sequence was initiated in the seventh revolution, followed by nominal reentry and landing in a secondary recovery area in the western Pacific Ocean. The spacecraft touched down less than 10 km from the planned landing point. The recovery ship, the destroyer Leonard Mason, picked up both crew and spacecraft some three hours later. Early termination of the mission precluded achieving all mission objectives, but one primary objective - rendezvous and docking - was accomplished. Several secondary objectives were also achieved: rendezvous and docking during the fourth revolution, evaluating the auxiliary tape memory unit, demonstrating controlled reentry, and parking the GATV. Two experiments were partially performed. Additional Details: Gemini 8. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
First launch of 63SM/11K63 version of Kosmos launch vehicle; first launch from Raduga launch complex at Plesetsk. Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 99 .
The third and final Mercury encounter yielded primarily fields and particles data.
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Creation of a Universal Space Missile Complex 11K77 'Zenit'--approval of work on the Zenit launcher' was issued. References: 474 .
Replaced Molniya 1-50. Operation of the long-range telephone and telegraph radio communications system in the USSR; transmission of USSR Central Television programmes to stations in the Orbita network. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Conducted fourth test of Buran ejection seat during ascent to orbit. The K-36M.11F35 seat was installed in an 'experimental droppable compartment' installed in place of the Launch Escape Tower engine on top of the shroud. Delivered Bulgarian Spektr 256 spectrometer, power supplies for failed equipment. Docked with Mir on 18 Mar 1989 20:50:46 GMT. Between April 9 and 17 boosted Mir into a 373 X 416 km storage orbit after the decision was made to delay remanning the station. However these maneuvers resulted in the spacecraft running out of fuel. Undocked on 21 Apr 1989 01:46:15 GMT. Destroyed in uncontrolled decay of orbit on 25 Apr 1989 12:12:00 GMT. Total free-flight time 6.52 days. Total docked time 33.21 days. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 275 .
UHF Follow-On F8 was the first Block III UHF Follow-On satellite, replacing the old FLTSATCOM satellites. It carried UHF, EHF and Ka-band transponders, including a video broadcast payload. This was the last Atlas II launch; future Atlas launches would use the Atlas IIA, IIAS and III models. Geostationary at 171.8 degrees E. References: , 278 .