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IV F-1 in February, Intelsat-IVA F-1 and F-2 in July and October, and Marisat A and B in April and July. Other reimbursable launches would include Telesat-C (Anik 3) for Canada in March, COS-B Celestial Observation Satellite in July for the European Space Agency, Symphonie-B experimental comsat in September for France and West Germany, RCA-A (RCA-Satcom 1, in orbit) comsat in December for RCA Corp., and ITOS E-2 Improved TIROS Operational Satellite in late 1975 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Helios-B would be launched late in 1975 as a cooperative effort with West Germany. The schedule called for 18 of the 24 launches to be made from Kennedy Space Center, 5 from Western Test Range, and 1 from San Marco. For the launches NASA would use a Saturn IB, 3 Titan-Centaurs, 5 Atlas-Centaurs, and 15 Thor-Delta launch vehi
cles. (NASA Release 75–5; KSC Release 180–74) • The Department of Defense announced the award of a $1 500 000 cost
plus-incentive-fee contract to General Dynamics Corp. for launch services for the Atlas E and F vehicles at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
(DOD Release 8–75) 9 January: Sea Satellite (SEASAT)—a new program, approved in the
FY 1975 NASA authorization, to monitor the oceans and provide continuous weather and sea condition reports—was announced by NASA. SEASAT-A, a proof-of-concept mission scheduled for 1978 launch, would carry sensors to measure wave heights, current directions, surface wind directions, and surface temperatures. Objectives of the initial mission were to disseminate these data to users concerned about weather predictions; to route shipping to avoid storms, adverse currents, and ice fields; and to provide coastal disaster warnings.
SEASAT- A would also accumulate scientific data on the curvature of the oceans; ocean circulation; transport of mass, heat, and nutrients by surface currents; and the interaction between air and sea.
SEASAT would be managed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory with Langley Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops Flight Center, and JPL each having responsibility for one of the four sensors-off-the-shelf NASA or Air Force spacecraft to which a sensor module would be attached. Existing tracking facilities and support hardware would also be used. Cost of the SEASAT- A mission, as cur
rently planned, was $58.2 million. (NASA Release 75-1) McDonnell Douglas Corp., working under contract to NASA, began
flight and static tests of the refanned engine to demonstrate NASAdeveloped noise-reduction techniques. More than 2 yr of work at Lewis Research Center; Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Div. of United Aircraft Corp.; Boeing Co.; United Air Lines, Inc.; and American Airlines, Inc., had been spent in modifying a JT8D engine to reduce irritating high-frequency noise. When installed on the McDonnell DC-9, the new engine was expected to reduce by 60% the ground area exposed to excessive noise levels. Similar results were expected with the engine installed on Boeing’s 727 and 737 aircraft. During the initial test phase, McDonnell Douglas would fly for 90 hr a DC-9 outfitted with the modified engine, to evaluate noise characteristics and flight performance. The second phase of testing would begin in mid-January when Boeing would flight-test it in a 727. (NASA Release 75-4; LeRC Release 75-2)
11 January: The 38 000-kg second stage from the Saturn V booster that
placed the Skylab 1 orbital workshop in orbit 14 May 1973 reentered the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean just before 3 am EST. NASA reported that radar tracked one large chunk that survived the fiery plunge through the atmosphere and fell into the ocean at 34° north latitude, 19° west longitude, about 1600 km west of Gibraltar. Smaller pieces might have scattered over an area several kilometers to the northwest and southeast of that point and some charred debris might have fallen on the Sahara Desert, but NASA received no report that any fragments had caused damage or injury. (NASA PAO, interview, 30 June 1976; Reuter, W Post, 12 Jan 75, A14; AP, W Star-News, 12 Jan
75, Al; UPI, NYT, 12 Jan 75, 55) 11 January-9 February: The U.S.S.R. launched Soyuz 17, carrying cos
monauts Lt. Col. Aleksey A. Gubarev and Georgy M. Grechko, from Baykonur cosmodrome at 2:43 am local time (4:43 pm EST 10 Jan.) to rendezvous and dock with the Salyut 4 space station launched 26 Dec. 1974. Soyuz 17 entered orbit with a 249-km apogee, 186-km perigee, 88.9-min period, and 51.6° inclination. Tass announced that the mission would carry joint experiments with Salyut 4, including a comprehensive checkout of the spacecraft's onboard systems in various flight conditions.
After an orbital correction that raised the spacecraft's orbit to 354km apogee, 90.7-min period, and 51.6° inclination, Soyuz 17 docked with Salyut 4 on 12 Jan. Gubarev and Grechko entered the station, switched on the power and radio transmitters, and inspected the scientific equipment.
During their nearly 30 days aboard Salyut 4, the cosmonauts studied solar phenomena, x-radiation from celestial bodies, and earth's radiation. They also studied the effects of weightlessness on the human body, made earth-resources observations, and studied the earth's upper atmosphere. They resprayed two telescope mirrors dulled by exposure to space; carried out biological “Oasis” experiments using insects, microorganisms, tissue cultures, and plants; and recycled water, condensed from the cabin's atmosphere, for drinking and food preparation.
The crew began preparations return to earth on 9 Feb., boarding Soyuz 17 and undocking from the space station at 11:08 am Baykonur time (1:08 am EST). Soyuz 17 softlanded in the U.S.S.R. 110 km northeast of Tselinograd, Kazakhstan, “in complex meteorological conditions” after 29 da 13 hr 20 min in space.
On-the-spot and subsequent medical checks showed the cosmonauts to be in good health. The Soyuz 17 cosmonauts broke the previous 23-day 18-hr 22-min Soviet record for time in space, set by the Soyuz 11 crew (6-30 June 1971) before they were killed during reentry. (GSFC SSR, 28 Feb 75; Tass, FBIS-Sov, 13 Jan-13 Feb 75;SF, April 75, 144-5, June 75, 235; UPI, NYT, 16 Jan 75, 14;SBD, 14 Jan 75,
62; LC S&T News Alert 2645) 12 January: The communications satellite business was becoming one of
the fastest growing businesses on earth, Thomas O'Toole said in a Washington Post article. The huge dish-shaped antennas used as telephone and television links between earth and the dozen or so orbiting comsats had sprouted up in the suburbs of Moscow and Peking, in Brazilian jungles, in the mountains of Iran, and in the deserts of Algeria. In addition, Algeria was building 14 antennas;
Indonesia, 60; and Brazil, 2000. More than 90 countries were currently communicating by satellite, most using the seven Intelsat satellites orbited by the 89-country consortium, the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization. Worldwide Intelsat traffic was growing by 20% a year. In addition to the Intelsat comsats, the Soviet Union, Canada, France, and West Germany, and Western Union already owned their own comsats. Japan would have one by 1977, and Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia were each planning to orbit their own.
Besides making it easier to communicate around the world, satellites were responsible for cutting the cost of overseas conversations. In 1947, a 3-min phone call from New York to London cost $12.
The same call in 1975 cost $5.40. (O'Toole, W Post, 12 Jan 75, 1) 13 January: Dr. John L. McLucas, Secretary of the Air Force, announced
the selection of the General Dynamics Corp. YF-16 prototype for fullscale engineering development as the Air Force's F-16 air combat fighter. A $417 904 758 fixed-price-incentive contract to fabricate 15 engineering development F-16 aircraft was awarded to General Dynamics, which had been in competition with Northrop Corp. and its YF-17 lightweight fighter prototype during flight-test evaluations at the Air Force Flight Test Center. Dr. McLucas said the decision in favor of General Dynamics had been based on cost and technical engineering proposals submitted by the companies. The Air Force planned to introduce a minimum of 650 F-16 aircraft into the active inventory by the early 1980s.
The Air Force also awarded a $55 500 000 fixed-price-incentive contract to United Aircraft Corp's Pratt & Whitney Div. to produce
the F100 engine used in the F-16. (DOD Release 16-75) • Marshall Space Flight Center plans for the FY 1975 reduction-in
force had been revised, MSFC announced. The target date for issuance of RIF notices to MSFC employees had been delayed from mid-January to 29 Jan, with an effective date of 14 Mar. The 2-wk delay resulted from the need for an additional decrease in the end-of-FY 1975 personnel ceiling, from 4145 to 4113. This further reduction was MSFC's share of the government-wide reduction of 40 000 employees
called for by President Ford in 1974. (MSFC Release 75-6) • Marshall Space Flight Center announced the award of a $59 950
contract to Abbott Laboratories for living human kidney cells to be used by U.S. astronauts in the German electrophoresis experiment during the July U.S.-U.S.S.R. Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Abbott Laboratories would provide the cells as part of an experiment to find a way to isolate effectively the one kidney cell in 20 that produced the enzyme urokinase, an enzyme capable of dissolving blood clots. Because gravity made such separations difficult on earth, scientists hoped to develop new technology in the zero-g environment of space. The experiment was being developed, built, and tested by West Germany's Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm Gmbtt. (MSFC Releases
75-7, 75-13) 13–21 January: Preparations for U.S. participation in the joint U.S.
U.S.S.R. Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission in July continued at Kennedy Space Center. After removal from environmentally protected shrouds, poststorage inspection, and installation of eight stabilizing fins, the Saturn IB booster, SA-210, was stacked on the
mobile launcher inside the Vehicle Assembly Building on 13 Jan. Engineers began electrical and mechanical systems tests on the first stage and installed flame curtains and panels to shroud the outboard engines. The Saturn IVB second stage was mated to the booster 14 Jan. and the instrument unit added to the stack 16 Jan. A boilerplate unit simulating the Apollo command module was added 17 Jan. The boilerplate would be removed and replaced with the actual spacecraft, and the rollout of the entire vehicle to the launch pad was scheduled for March.
The docking system and docking module were mated 17 Jan. after combined systems tests. The complete unit would be placed into the spacecraft adapter in February. Swing-arm launch-control center integration was completed 21 Jan. (KSC Release 165-74; MSFC Release 75-19; Spaceport News, 23 Jan 75, 3; 6 Feb 75, 3; Marshall
Star, 2 Jan 75, 2) 14 January: NASA's Earth Resources Technology Satellite, ERTS, had been
renamed Landsat, NASA Associate Administrator for Applications Charles W. Mathews announced at a Landsat-B prelaunch press briefing in Washington, D.C. Erts 1, launched 23 July 1972, would be called Landsat 1; ERTS-B, scheduled for launch 19 Jan., would be designated Landsat 2 once in orbit. Mathews said that, since NASA planned a SEASAT to study the oceans (see 9 Jan.), Landsat seemed a more appropriate name for a satellite that studied the land.
Landsat Program Manager Harry Mannheimer said that Landsat-B would be launched into the same orbital plane as Landsat 1 but 180° out of phase. Between them the two satellites would retrace the identical ground track every 9 days rather than the 18-day interval of one satellite. The additional coverage would enable scientists to study dynamic phenomena more effectively. Mannheimer said that a significant improvement over Landsat I was Landsat-B's increase in command storage, adding flexibility in commanding the various instruments while the spacecraft was out of view of a ground station.
James R. Morrison, Landsat Resources Survey Program Manager, said that, whereas the emphasis of the Landsat 1 mission was on experimentation, the emphasis for Landsat-B would be on fewer but larger scale applications of remote-sensing information to real resource problems. Of the 120 investigators—compared with 320 investigators during the Landsat 1 mission–57 were U.S.-sponsored and 52 were from foreign countries. During the rigorous selection, preference had been given to investigations that included direct participation and cost-sharing by bona fide users in both the public and private sectors.
New with Landsat-B were the Applications Systems Verification Tests (ASVT), based on results of Landsat 1, to further develop, demonstrate, and document Landsat results. The ASVTs were larger in design and scope than earlier investigations, essentially beyond the capability of any one investigator to manage. ASVTs for Landsat-B included a large-area crop inventory experiment (LACIE), ice-warn program, snow-cover and snow-melt prediction program, natural resources information system, and environmental information sys
tem. (Text) • Apollo-Soyuz Test Project crew members Thomas P. Stafford, Donald
K. Slayton, and Vance D. Brand participated in a 9-hr exercise at
Kennedy Space Center to test the Apollo spacecraft's internal systems, earth-landing systems, and instrument packages. The astronauts climbed into the Apollo, which was inside a huge altitude chamber, to test the systems at simulated altitudes of up to 61 000 m while cabin pressure was maintained at 34 474 newtons per sq m. Pressure inside the cabin was also lowered to zero to test the integrity of the astronauts' space suits. On 16 Jan. the U.S. backup crew for the mission, Alan L. Bean, Ronald E. Evans, and Jack R. Lousma, participated in a similar exercise. (NASA Activities, Feb 75, 11; KSC
Release 5-75) • Flight Research Center was investigating the use of TV to provide visual
information to pilots of future aircraft and spacecraft, NASA announced. TV might enhance target visibility for pilots of high-performance aircraft that might have to approach and land at high angles of attack with reduced window area, and for unmanned remotely piloted research vehicles that would augment flight instrumentation with visual. For testing, FRC had installed a TV camera on top of a Piper PA-30 aircraft with a 12.5-by 17.5-m TV screen installed on the instrument panel. A curtain would restrict the test pilot's view through cockpit windows with a safety pilot riding in the right seat of the aircraft. Besides demonstrating use of TV for approach and landings, the first phase of the program would evaluate the pilot's ability to judge altitude using TV. The second phase would aim at optimizing the TV system for landing maneuvers. (NASA Release
75-11) 14-17 January: NASA and Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory
launched 10 rocket-borne experiments to study the upper atmosphere as a follow-on to the June 1974 Atmospheric Layering and Density Distribution of Ions and Neutrals program (Project ALADDIN ’74). Two experiments on the Ute-Tomahawk rockets released chemical clouds into the atmosphere to measure winds and temperature and diffusion coefficients. The first, launched 15 Jan., released aluminum vapor at 160-km altitude, creating a blue-green glowing cloud visible along much of the eastern seaboard. A second, launched 17 Jan. after a l-day postponement, released trimethylaluminum in puffs 10 sec apart from 180 km down to 90 km. Five single-stage Super-Lokis carried instruments to measure density, temperature, and wind, and instrumentation aboard two Paiute-Tomahawks measured the atomic oxygen density profile. A prelaunch performance test of a UteTomahawk was made 14 Jan. (WFC Releases 75-1, 75–2; NYT, 16
June 75, 29) 15 January: President Ford signed Executive Order 11834 establishing the
Energy Research and Development Administration under Administrator Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr.—and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission-under Chairman William A. Anders-effective 19 Jan. Establishment of the two new agencies was provided for in the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, signed into law on 11 Oct. 1974 by President Ford, which abolished the Atomic Energy Commission and reassigned its responsibilities. ERDA would take over AEC's research and development programs including the development of fossil, nuclear, solar, and geothermal energy to meet present and future needs. ERDA would also take the lead in energy R&D programs transferred from the Dept. of the Interior, National Science