Start of official rocket-mail service between two Austrian towns by Friedrich Schmiedl; test flights began in February 1931, while rocket-mail service continued until March 16, 1933. References: 17 .
ARS Rocket No. 4 launched to 400 feet altitude, at Marine Island, Staten Island, N.Y. References: 17 .
The Department of Defense's Stewart Committee reviewed the alternatives for an IGY satellite program: wait for the development of an Atlas launcher, use a modified Redstone, or develop a rocket derived from the Viking missile. The committee voted seven to two in favor of abandoning Project Orbiter (Redstone) and developing Vanguard (Viking derivative with and Aerobee-Hi upper stage). Secretary Donald Quarles ruled with the committee majority in the Department of Defense Policy Committee, which approved the decision. The Department of Defense wrote a letter to the Department of Navy authorizing the Navy Research Laboratory to proceed with the Vanguard proposal. The responsibility for carrying out the program was placed with the Office of Naval Research. Objectives of Project Vanguard were: to develop and procure a satellite-launching vehicle; to place at least one satellite in orbit around the earth during IGY; to accomplish one scientific experiment; and to track flight to demonstrate the satellite actually attained orbit. References: 483 .
The 40th Field Artillery Missile Group, the first heavy missile group organized in the U.S. Army, was transferred from Fort Carson, Colorado, to Redstone Arsenal.
A Big Joe Atlas boilerplate Mercury spacecraft model was successfully launched and flown from Cape Canaveral, although booster-engine separation did not occur. Objectives of this test flight were to determine the performance of the ablation shield and measure afterbody heating; to determine the flight dynamics of the spacecraft during reentry; to evaluate the adequacy of the spacecraft recovery system and procedures; to familiarize operating personnel with Atlas launch procedures; to evaluate loads on the spacecraft while in the flight environment; to observe and evaluate the operation of the spacecraft control system; and to recover the spacecraft. The flight was considered to be highly successful, and a majority of the test objectives were attained. The heat shield temperatures (reaching a peak of 3,500 degrees F) were below those expected, but were close enough to provide data for the engineering design of the Mercury heat shield. Space Task Group officials were also pleased that the spacecraft could reenter the atmosphere at high angles-of-attack and maintain its heat shield in a forward position without using the control system. The spacecraft was picked up by the recovery force about 8 hours after lift-off. Because of the success of this flight, a similar launch was considered unnecessary and accordingly was canceled. References: 483 .
Suborbital. NASA boilerplate model of Mercury capsule successfully launched on an Atlas (Big Joe) missile from AMR and recovered in South Atlantic after surviving reentry heat of more than 10,000°F. References: 5 , 26 , 59 , 278 .
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 .
JETS-1 (Japanese Engineering Test Satellite -1, national name 'Kiku') is intended for preliminary experiments for confirmation of the launching technologies, acquiring the satellite tracking and control technologies, and for extension tests of the extenda ble antennas, measurement of satellite environment, measurement of satellite attitudes, etc. Launch time 0530 GMT. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Combined Mars orbiter and lander mission; orbiter inserted in Mars orbit 8/7/76; lander soft landed on Martian surface 9/3/76Mars. Mars Orbit. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 .
Venera 11 was part of a two-spacecraft mission to study Venus and the interplanetary medium. Each of the two spacecraft, Venera 11 and Venera 12, consisted of a flight platform and a lander probe. Identical instruments were carried on both spacecraft. Venera 11 was launched into a 177 x 205 km, 51.5 degree inclination earth orbit from which it was propelled into a 3.5 month Venus transfer orbit. After ejection of the lander probe, the flight platform continued on past Venus in a heliocentric orbit. Near encounter with Venus occurred on December 25, 1978, at approximately 34,000 km altitude. The flight platform acted as a data relay for the descent craft for 95 minutes until it flew out of range and returned its own measurements on interplanetary space. The Venera 11 descent craft separated from its flight platform on December 23, 1978 and entered the Venus atmosphere two days later at 11.2 km/sec. During the descent, it employed aerodynamic braking followed by parachute braking and ending with atmospheric braking. It made a soft landing on the surface at 06:24 Moscow time on 25 December after a descent time of approximately 1 hour. The touchdown speed was 7-8 m/s.
Both Venera 11 and 12 landers failed to return colour television views of the surface and perform soil analysis experiments. All of the camera protective covers failed to eject after landing (the cause was not established) The soil drilling experiment was apparently damaged by a leak in the soil collection device, the interior of which was exposed to the high Venusian atmospheric pressure. The leak had probably formed during the descent phase because the lander was less aerodynamically stable than had been thought.
Two further experiments on the lander failed as well. Results reported included evidence of lightning and thunder, a high Ar36/Ar40 ratio, and the discovery of carbon monoxide at low altitudes. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 274 , 296 , 428 .
Suborbital. References: 5 .
Marecs B intended for maritime communications, planned for lease to Inmarsat; launched with Sirio 2. Geosynch orbit. References: 5 .
Repaired station external insulation. Checked docking port. References: 66 .
Payloads: Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE), Shuttle Pointed Autonomous Research Tool for Astronomy (SPARTAN) 201-II, Robot-Operated Materials Processing System (ROMPS), Shuttle Plume Impingement Flight Experiment (SPIFEX), getaway special (GAS) bridge assembly with ten GAS experiments, Trajectory Control Sensor (TCS), Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER), Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE), Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) III, Radiation Monitoring Experiment (RME) III, Military Applications of Ship Tracks (MAST), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II, Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) Calibration Test. Additional Details: STS-64. References: 2 , 5 , 6 , 7 .
Fell in Siberia. References: 279 .
Foton 12 carried European microgravity experiments. The spacecraft's descent module landed on Russian territory at 52.47 deg N 53.83 deg E on September 24, 1999.