First probe to impact lunar surface. Delivered a pennant to the surface of the Moon and conducted research during flight to the Moon. Impacted Moon 13 Sep 1959 at 22:02:04 UT, Latitude 29.10 N, Longitude 0.00 - Palus Putredinis, east of Mare Serenitatis near the Aristides, Archimedes, and Autolycus craters. After launch and attainment of escape velocity, Luna 2 separated from its third stage, which travelled along with it towards the Moon. On 13 September the spacecraft released a bright orange cloud of sodium gas which aided in spacecraft tracking and acted as an experiment on the behavior of gas in space. On 14 September, after 33.5 hours of flight, radio signals from Luna 2 abruptly ceased, indicating it had impacted on the Moon. Some 30 minutes after Luna 2, the third stage of its rocket also impacted the Moon. The mission confirmed that the Moon had no appreciable magnetic field, and found no evidence of radiation belts at the Moon. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 175 , 296 .
Decree 'On adoption of the R-7A into armaments' was issued. References: 474 .
President John F. Kennedy spoke at Rice University, Houston, Tex., where he said:
"Man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space. . . .
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
"It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency. . . ." References: 16 .
NASA announced it would launch a special satellite before the end of the year 'to obtain information on possible effects of radiation on future satellites and to give the world's scientific community additional data on the artificial environment created by the radiation belt.' The 100-pound satellite would be launched from Cape Canaveral into an elliptical orbit ranging from about 170-mile perigee to 10,350-mile apogee. First 'mystery' satellite in history of space exploration was launched, according to British magazine Flight International. The magazine said the satellite orbited at a height of 113 miles and reentered the earth's atmosphere 12 days later. The satellite was listed as belonging to the U.S. Air Force, but spokesman said this was a 'scientific guess based on our assessment of previous satellite launchings.' Launching was not confirmed, and no official U.S. listing included such a satellite. References: 483 .
President John F. Kennedy visited the Manned Spacecraft Center and was shown exhibits including Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft hardware. References: 483 .
NASA announced that, in the future, unmanned lunar landing spacecraft e.g., Rangers and Surveyors) will be assembled in "clean rooms" and treated with germ-killing substances to reduce the number of microbes on exposed surfaces. These sterilization procedures, less stringent than earlier methods, were intended to prevent contamination of the lunar surface and, at the same time, avoid damage to sensitive electronic components. Heat sterilization was suspected as one of the reasons for the failure of Ranger spacecraft. References: 16 .
DF-1 renumbered as DF-3; prior DF-3 project cancelled. References: 87 .
More highjinks with Conrad. First orbit docking with Agena, followed by boost up to record 800 km orbit, providing first manned views of earth as sphere. Tether attached by Gordon to Agena in spacewalk and after a lot of effort tethered spacecraft put into slow rotation, creating first artificial microgravity.
The primary objective of the Gemini XI mission was to rendezvous with the Gemini Agena target vehicle (GATV) during the first revolution and dock. Five maneuvers completed the spacecraft/GATV rendezvous at 1 hour 25 minutes ground elapsed time, and the two vehicles docked nine minutes later. Secondary objectives included docking practice, extravehicular activity (EVA), 11 experiments, docked maneuvers, a tethered vehicle test, demonstrating automatic reentry, and parking the GATV. All objectives were achieved except one experiment - evaluation of the minimum reaction power tool - which was not performed because umbilical EVA was terminated prematurely. Umbilical EVA began at 24 hours 2 minutes ground elapsed time and ended 33 minutes later. Gordon became fatigued while attaching the tether from the GATV to the spacecraft docking bar. An hour later the hatch was opened to jettison equipment no longer required. At 40 hours 30 minutes after liftoff, the GATV primary propulsion system (PPS) was fired to raise the apogee of the docked vehicles to 741 nautical miles for two revolutions. The PPS was fired again, 3 hours 23 minutes later, to reduce apogee to 164 nautical miles. The crew then prepared for standup EVA, which began at 47 hours 7 minutes into the flight and lasted 2 hours 8 minutes. The spacecraft was then undocked to begin the tether evaluation. At 50 hours 13 minutes ground elapsed time, the crew initiated rotation. Initial oscillations damped out and the combination became very stable after about 20 minutes; the rotational rate was then increased. Again, initial oscillations gradually damped out and the combination stabilized. At about 53 hours into the mission, the crew released the tether, separated from the GATV, and maneuvered the spacecraft to an identical orbit with the target vehicle. A fuel cell stack failed at 54 hours 31 minutes, but the remaining five stacks shared the load and operated satisfactorily. A rerendezvous was accomplished at 66 hours 40 minutes ground elapsed time, and the crew then prepared for reentry. The spacecraft landed less than 5 km from the planned landing point at 71 hours 17 minutes after liftoff. The crew was retrieved by helicopter, and the spacecraft was brought aboard the prime recovery ship, the aircraft carrier Guam, about an hour after landing. Additional Details: Gemini 11. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 26 , 33 , 60 .
Lunar Sample Return. Landed on Moon 20 September 1970 at 05:18:00 GMT, Latitude 0.68 S, Longitude 56.30 E - Mare Fecunditatis. Luna 16 was launched toward the Moon from a preliminary earth orbit and entered a lunar orbit on September 17, 1970. On September 20, the spacecraft soft landed on the lunar surface as planned. The spacecraft was equipped with an extendable arm with a drilling rig for the collection of a lunar soil sample. After 26 hours and 25 minutes on the lunar surface, the ascent stage, with a hermetically sealed soil sample container, left the lunar surface carrying 100 grams of collected material. It landed in the Soviet Union on September 24, 1970. The lower stage of Luna 16 remained on the lunar surface and continued transmission of lunar temperature and radiation data. Parameters are for lunar orbit. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 67 , 274 , 296 .
Launched with Spacenet F3. References: 5 .
Manned five crew. Deployed UARS; conducted materials and biological research. Payloads: Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), Ascent Particle Monitor (APM)-03, Physiological and Anatomical Rodent Experiment (PARE)-01, Protein Crystal Growth (PCG)-ll-2, Middeck Zero-Gravity Dynamics, Experiment (MODE)-01, Investigations Into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP)-04, Cosmic Radiation Effects and Activation Monitor (CREAM-02), Radiation Monitoring Equipment (RME)-lll-06, Shuttle Activation Monitor (SAM)-03, Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS) Calibration Test. Additional Details: STS-48. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 7 .
Manned seven crew. Carried Spacelab-J with microgravity and biology experiments. Payloads: Spacelab-J, nine getaway special canister experiments, Israel Space Agency Investigation About Hornets (ISAIAH), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II, Solid Surface Combus-tion Experiment (SSCE). Additional Details: STS-47. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 7 .
Deployed and retrieved Orfeus-SPAS. During the EVA conducted tests in support of the Hubble Space Telescope first servicing mission and future EVAs, including Space Station assembly and maintenance. First night landing at KSC. Payloads: Advanced Communication Technology Sat-ellite (ACTS)/Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS), Orbiting Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer—Shuttle Pallet Satellite (ORFEUS-SPAS) with Remote IMAX Camera System (RICS), Limited Duration Space Environ-ment Candidate Materials Exposure (LDCE) (Beam Configuration C), Commercial Protein Crystal Growth (CPCG Block II), Chromosome and Plant Cell Division in Space (CHROMEX), High Resolution Shuttle Glow Spectroscopy-A (HRSGS-A), Auroral Photography Experiment-B (APE-B), Investigation into Polymer Membrane Processing (IPMP), Radiation Monitoring Equip-ment (RME-III), Air Force Maui Optical Site Cal-ibration Test (AMOS), IMAX In-Cabin Camera. Additional Details: STS-51. References: 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 7 .