Tag Archives: Manned Space Flight

19 November 1999, 22:30 UTC

神舟一号飞船 (Shenzhou 1) launch, 19 November 1999. (China National Space Administration)

19 November 1999, 22:30 UTC (20 November, 6:30 a.m., CST): The China National Space Administration ( 国家航天局 ) launched 神舟一號 (Shenzhou 1), an unmanned Project 921-1 spacecraft, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Area aboard a 长征二号F火箭, (Changzheng or “Divine Arrow”) two-stage rocket. Shenzhou 1 was placed into a Low Earth Orbit ranging from 195 kilometers (121 miles) to 315 kilometers (196 miles).

The vehicle completed 14 orbits. It successfully deorbited and reentered Earth’s atmosphere. The Shenzhou reentry module landed in Inner Mongolia, 20 November at 19:41 UTC. The duration of the flight was 21 hours, 11 minutes.

The Shenzhou 1 spacecraft was not fully operational and it differed in several ways from the manned space vehicles that followed. The primary purpose of this flight was a test of the man-rated Long March 2F rocket.

The Shenzhou spacecraft is similar to the Russian Federation’s Soyuz from which it was developed, although it is larger. Shenzhou vehicles are 9.25 meters (30 feet, 4.2 inches) long and 2.80 meters (9 feet, 2.2 inches) in diameter. The spacecraft has a mass of 7,840 kilograms (17,284 pounds). There are three modules: the orbital module, reentry module and service module. The vehicle is designed for three people for flights of up to 20 days duration.

An unidentified Shenzhou/Long March 2F launch from the Jiuquan Sateliite Launch Area. (CNSA)

The Changzheng is known as the Long March 2F in the West. It is a two-stage liquid-fueled rocket with external boosters.

The first stage is 23.7 meters (77 feet, 9.6 inches) long with a diameter of 3.35 meters (10 feet, 11.9 inches). It is powered by four YF-20B engines (clustered as a YF-21B unit) which use hypergolic fuels. The four “strap-on” boosters use the same engines. The boosters are 15.6 meters (51 feet, 2.2 inches) long and 2.25 meters (7 feet, 4.6 inches) in diameter. With all eight engines running, the total rated thrust is 1,331,140 pounds (5,921.206 kilonewtons) at Sea Level. The boosters’ burn time is 2 minutes, 8 seconds, while the primary engines burn for 38 seconds longer.

The second stage is 15.52 meters (50 feet, 11 inches) long and the same diameter as the first stage. It uses one YF-24B unit, consisting of one YF-22B and four YF-23B engines. The second stage uses the same hypergolic fuel as the first stage. This stage is rated at 177,240 pounds of thrust (788,403 kilonewtons) at Sea Level and burns for 5 minutes. The Long March 2F is capable of lifting a 8,400 kilograms (18,519 pounds) payload into Low Earth Orbit.

JIUQUAN SLC, INNER MONGOLIA, CHINA-DECEMBER 18, 2012: This December 18, 2012, image provides an overview of JSLC’s South Launch Complex just 11 hours prior to the launch of the G?kt?rk 2, a remote sensing satellite for the Turkish government. In addition to the vertical assembly building, the SLS-1 (921) launch pad and the SLS-2 (603) launch pad, various other support buildings are visible. (Photo DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)
Satellite image of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Area, Inner Mongolia, 18 December 2012. The vertical assembly building is in the lower half of the photograph, with two launch pads in the upper half.  (Bloomberg/DigitalGlobe via Getty Images)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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19 November 1997, 19:46:00 UTC, T minus Zero

Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-87) lifts of from Launch Complex 39B, 19:46 UTC, 19 November 1997. (NASA)
Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-87) lifts of from Launch Complex 39B, 19:46:00 UTC, 19 November 1997. (NASA)

19 November 1997, 19:46:00 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Columbia (OV-102) lifted off from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on mission STS-87. This was the 88th flight of the space shuttle program, and the 24th flight for Columbia.

The flight crew was led by mission commander, Colonel Kevin R. Kregel, U.S. Air Force,  on his third space flight, with shuttle pilot Colonel Steven W. Lindsey, U.S. Air Force, on his first. Mission Specialist Captain Winston E. Scott, U.S. Navy, was on his second flight; Kalpana Chwala, Ph.D., was on her first; Takao Doi, Ph.D., Japanese Aerospace Explosration Agency (JAXA), was on his first; Payload Specialist Colonel Leonid K. Kandeniuk, Ukraine Air Force, and National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU), was on his only flight.

STS-87 carried a number of scientific research experiments which required Captain Scott and Doctor Doi to perform two “space walks”, the first EVAs conducted from Columbia.

Columbia landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF), Kennedy Space Center, at 12:20 UTC, 5 December 1997. The duration of the mission was 15 days, 16 hours, 35 minutes, 01 seconds.

The flight crew of Columbia (STS-87): left to right, in orange: Dr. Kalapana Chawla; Colonel Steven W. Lindsey, USAF; Colonel Kevin R. Kregel, USAF; Major General Leonid K. Kadenyuk, UAF. In white, Captain Winston E. Scott, USN; Dr. Takao Doi, JAXA. (NASA)
The flight crew of Columbia (STS-87): left to right, in orange: Dr. Kalapana Chawla; Colonel Steven W. Lindsey, USAF; Colonel Kevin R. Kregel, USAF; Colonel Leonid K. Kadeniuk, UAF. In white, Captain Winston E. Scott, USN; Dr. Takao Doi, JAXA. (NASA)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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19 November 1996, 19:55:47 UTC, T minus Zero

Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off from LC 39B, 2:55;47 p.m., EST, 19 November 1996. (NASA)
Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off from LC 39B, 2:55:47 p.m. EST, 19 November 1996. (NASA)

19 November 1996, 19:55:47 UTC, T minus Zero: Space Shuttle Columbia (OV-102) lifted off from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on mission STS-80. The veteran flight crew was led by mission commander, Captain Kenneth D. Cockrell, U.S. Navy,  on his third space flight, with shuttle pilot Captain Kent V. Rominger, U.S. Navy, on his second. Mission Specialist Story Musgrave, M.D., was on his sixth flight; Thomas D. Jones, Ph.D., (formerly Captain, USAF, a B-52 aircraft commander) was on his third; Tamara E. Jernigan, Ph.D. was on her fourth.

On STS-80, Story  Musgrave became the only person to have flown on all five space shuttles. At 61, he was the oldest person to have flown into space at the time.

STS-80 was the longest mission of any space shuttle flight, with a duration of 17 days, 15 hours, 53 minutes, 18 seconds. Columbia landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at Kennedy Space Center, 11:49:05 UTC, 7 December 1996.

The flight crew of Columbia STS-80, seated, left to right: Captain Kent V. Rominger, USN, and Captain Kenneth D. Cockrell, USN; standing, Tamara E. Jernigan, Ph.D.; Franklin Story Musgrave, M.D.; and Thomas D. Jones, Ph.D.. (NASA)
The flight crew of Columbia STS-80, seated, left to right: Captain Kent V. Rominger, USN, and Captain Kenneth D. Cockrell, USN; standing, Tamara E. Jernigan, Ph.D.; Franklin Story Musgrave, M.D.; and Thomas D. Jones, Ph.D. (NASA)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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19 November 1969, 06:54:35 UTC

Apollo 12 lunar lander Intrepid above the Moon before beginning its descent to the surface, 19 November 1969. (Richard F. Gordon, Jr./NASA)
Apollo 12 lunar lander Intrepid above the Moon before beginning its descent to the surface, 19 November 1969. (Richard F. Gordon, Jr./NASA)

19 November 1969: The Apollo 12 lunar lander, LM-6, named Intrepid by the flight crew, landed at Oceanus Procellarum, The Moon, at 06:54:35 UTC. The lunar module touched down within approximately 600 feet (183 meters) of the intended landing site, the lunar probe Surveyor 3, which had landed there 20 April 1967. The landing site is named Statio Cognitum.

Surveyor 3 landed at Oceanus Procellarum 20 April 1967. (Alan L. Bean/NASA)
NASA Astronaut Charles (“Pete”) Conrad, Jr., descends the lunar lander’s ladder to the surface of the Moon, 11:35 UTC, 19 November 1969. (Alan L. Bean/NASA)
NASA Astronaut Charles (“Pete”) Conrad, Jr., descends the lunar lander’s ladder to the surface of the Moon, 11:35 UTC, 19 November 1969. (Alan L. Bean/NASA)

Mission Commander, Charles (“Pete”) Conrad, Jr., began the first lunar EVA at 11:32:35 UTC and set foot on the surface at 11:44:22 UTC. Approximately one-half hour later, at 12:13;50 UTC, Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean, Jr., also stepped out onto The Moon.

NASA Astronaut Alan L. Bean descends the ladder of Intrepid to the Moon's surface, 12:13 UTC, 19 November 1969. (Charles Conrad, Jr./NASA)
NASA Astronaut Alan L. Bean descends the ladder of Intrepid to the Moon’s surface, 12:13 UTC, 19 November 1969. (Charles Conrad, Jr./NASA)

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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16 November 1973

Skylab 4 (SA-208) lift off from Launch Complex 39B, 14:01:23 UTC, 16 November 1973. (NASA)

16 November 1973: Skylab 4 lifted off from Launch Complex 39B, Kennedy Space Center, at 14:01:23 UTC. Aboard the Apollo Command and Service Module were NASA astronauts Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Paul Carr, U.S. Marine Corps, Mission Commander;  Lieutenant Colonel William Reid Pogue, U.S. Air Force; and Edward George Gibson, Ph.D. This would be the only space mission for each of them. They would spend 84 days working aboard Skylab.

Skylab 4 crew, left to right, Carr, Gibson and Pogue. (NASA)
Skylab 4 crew, left to right, Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson and William Pogue. (NASA)

The launch vehicle was a Saturn IB, SA-208. This rocket had previously stood by as a rescue vehicle during the Skylab 3 mission. The Saturn IB consisted of an S-IB first stage and an S-IVB second stage.

Saturn IB Launch Vehicle. (NASA)
Mission SL-2 Saturn IB Launch Vehicle. (NASA)

The S-IB was built by Chrysler Corporation Space Division at the Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, Louisiana. It was powered by eight Rocketdyne H-1 engines, burning RP-1 and liquid oxygen. Eight Redstone rocket fuel tanks, with 4 containing the RP-1 fuel, and 4 filled with liquid oxygen, surrounded a Jupiter rocket fuel tank containing liquid oxygen. Total thrust of the S-IB stage was 1,666,460 pounds (7,417.783 kilonewtons) and it carried sufficient propellant for a maximum 4 minutes, 22.57 seconds of burn. First stage separation was planned for n altitude of 193,605 feet, with the vehicle accelerating through 7,591.20 feet per second (2,313.80 meters per second).

The McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co. S-IVB stage was built at Huntington Beach, California. It was powered by one Rocketdyne J-2 engine, fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The J-2 produced 229,714 pounds of thrust (1,021.819 kilonewtons), at high thrust, and 198,047 pounds (880.957 kilonewtons) at low thrust). The second stage carried enough fuel for 7 minutes, 49.50 seconds burn at high thrust. Orbital insertion would be occur 9 minutes, 51.9 seconds after launch, at an altitude of 98.5 miles (158.5 kilometers) with a velocity of 25,705.77 feet per second (7,835.12 meters per second).

The Skylab-configuration Saturn IB rocket was 223 feet, 5.9 inches (68.119 meters) tall. It had a maximum diameter of 22.8 feet (6.949 meters), and the span across the first stage guide fins was 40.7 feet (12.405 meters). Its empty weight was 159,000 pounds (72,122 kilograms) and at liftoff, it weighed 1,296,000 pounds (587,856 kilograms). It was capable of launching a 46,000 pound (20,865 kilogram) payload to Earth orbit.

Skylab in Earth orbit, as seen by the departing Skylab 4 mission crew, 8 February 1974. (NASA)
Skylab in Earth orbit, as seen by the departing Skylab 4 mission crew, 8 February 1974. (NASA)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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