Monday, July 20, 2015

This Week in Space History: July 21st - July 27th

          Compiled by Matt Heimbecker

The Space Library, designed and built by the people at Burlington, Ontario based Apogee Books, is currently in beta test but even now contains 6,656 documents and over thirty thousand pages of first generation source materials from NASA and others covering almost the entirety of humanity's expansion into the high frontier.

Here are a few of the more noteworthy entries for the week of July 21st - 27th:
  • July 21st, 1966 -  The US and USSR agreed in discussions at Geneva to a treaty article on exploration of space barring any state from claiming sovereignty over space, including the moon and planets. The article was approved by a 28-nation UN Legal Subcommittee, using draft accords submitted by US and USSR. The subcommittee also accepted an article binding states to conduct space exploration in accordance with international law and in the interest of international peace.
  • July 22nd, 1969 - Scientists at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (now known as the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center), while monitoring seismometers left on the lunar surface by Apollo 11 astronauts, recorded a five-minute tremor they said could have been either an internal activity (such as a moon quake) or a meteoroid strike impacting on the surface. The scientists also expressed concern that the monitoring seismometer was overheating, probably because of damage to a protective cover from the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) exhaust and might not survive the heat of the lunar noon.

A NASA Apollo 10 Technical Crew briefing, which is available in full online at The Space Library.

  • July 23rd, 1966 - The USSR objected to a US proposal to allow military equipment to be used on the moon or other celestial bodies, even when used for peaceful purposes. Platon Morozov, the deputy acting permanent USSR United Nations representative, told the Legal Subcommittee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS) meeting in Geneva to draft a treaty governing outer space exploration. He said such a provision would create a loophole for violations; he was prepared, however, to accept the document with a few minor modifications to other provisions of US draft article.
  • July 24th, 1975 - The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project reflected the "progress made in the relations between our two nations and ... the successes of the policy of peaceful coexistence, and promotes a further improvement of the international situation, and the strengthening of mutually rewarding contacts," Acting President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences Vladimir Kotelnikov said at a press briefing.
  • July 25th, 1991 - Vice President Dan Quayle, speaking as chairman of the National Space Council, said the US would not buy or build more Space Shuttle orbiters and would instead continue to use the four existing orbiters into the next century while also developing a new family of rockets to replace the current fleet of unmanned vehicles. NASA Administrator Richard H. Truly said he helped devise the policy's wording and was "totally in support" of it.

Industry sales literature showing the capabilities of the US Space Shuttle available online at The Space Library.

  • July 26th, 1965 - Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, NASA Deputy Administrator, said during a recent interview that the next step beyond the initial Apollo lunar landings was to extend the usefulness of both spacecraft and launch vehicle to permit longer stays in earth orbit and on the moon. "This fall we will have to make a definite recommendation to fund one or both," he said.
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