Venera 4 designated 1V s/n 310 was a probe in the Soviet Venera program for the exploration of Venus. The probe comprised an entry probe, designed to enter the Venus atmosphere and parachute to the surface, a carrier/flyby spacecraft, which carried the entry probe to Venus and served as a communications relay for the entry probe. In 1967 it was the first successful probe to perform in-place analysis of the environment of another planet, it may have been the first probe to land on another planet, with the fate of its predecessor Venera 3 being unclear. Venera 4 provided the first chemical analysis of the Venusian atmosphere, showing it to be carbon dioxide with a few percent of nitrogen and below one percent of oxygen and water vapors; the station detected no radiation field. The outer atmospheric layer contained little hydrogen and no atomic oxygen; the probe sent the first direct measurements proving that Venus was hot, that its atmosphere was far denser than expected, that it had lost most of its water long ago.
The main carrier spacecraft 4 stood 3.5 metres high, its solar panels spanned 4 metres and had an area of 2.5 square metres. The carrier spacecraft included a 2-meter long magnetometer, an ion detector, a cosmic ray detector and an ultraviolet spectrometer capable of detecting hydrogen and oxygen gases; the devices were intended to operate until entry into the Venusian atmosphere. At that juncture, the station was designed to release the probe disintegrate; the rear part of the carrier spacecraft contained a liquid-fuel thruster capable of correcting the flight course. The flight program was planned to include two significant course corrections, for which purpose the station could receive and execute up to 127 different commands sent from the Earth; the front part of the carrier spacecraft contained a nearly spherical landing capsule 1 metre in diameter and weighing 383 kilograms. Compared to previous Venera probes, the capsule contained an improved heat shield which could withstand temperatures up to 11,000 °C.
Instead of the previous liquid-based cooling design, a simpler and more reliable gas system was installed. The durability of the capsule was checked by exposing it to high temperatures and accelerations using three unique testing installations; the heat resistance was checked in a high-temperature vacuum system emulating the upper layers of the atmosphere. The capsule was pressurized up to 25 atmospheres, it was subjected to accelerations of up to 450 g in a centrifuge. The centrifuge test caused cracking of electronic components and cable brackets, which were replaced shortly before launch; the timing for launch was rather tight, so as not to miss the launch window—the days of the year when the path to the destination planet from Earth is energetically least demanding. The capsule could float in case of a water landing. Considering the possibility of such a landing, its designers made the lock of the capsule using sugar; the capsule contained a newly developed vibration-damping system, its parachute could resist temperatures up to 450 °C.
The capsule contained an altimeter, thermal control, a parachute and equipment for making atmospheric measurements. The latter included a thermometer, hydrometer, altimeter and a set of gas analysis instruments; the data were sent by two transmitters at a rate of 1 bit/s. The transmitters were activated by the parachute deployment as soon as the outside pressure reached 0.6 standard atmospheres, thought to occur at the altitude about 26 kilometres above the surface of the planet. The signals were received including the Jodrell Bank Observatory; the capsule was equipped with a rechargeable battery with a capacity sufficient for 100 minutes of powering the measurement and transmitter systems. To avoid becoming discharged during the flight to Venus, the battery was kept charged using the solar panels of the carrier spacecraft. Before the launch, the entire Venera 4 station was sterilized to prevent possible biological contamination of Venus. Two nominally identical 4V-1 probes were launched in June 1967.
The first probe, Venera 4, was launched on 12 June by a Molniya-M carrier rocket flying from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. A course correction was performed on 29 July. Although two such corrections had been planned, the first one was accurate enough and therefore the second correction was canceled. On 18 October 1967, the spacecraft entered the Venusian atmosphere with an estimated landing place near 19°N 38°E; the second probe, Kosmos 167, was failed to depart low Earth orbit. During entry into the Venusian atmosphere, the heat shield temperature rose to 11,000 °C and at one point the cabin deceleration reached 300 G; the descent lasted 93 minutes. The capsule deployed its parachute at an altitude of about 52 kilometres, started sending data on pressure and gas composition back to Earth; the temperature control kept the inside of the capsule at −8 °C. The temperature at 52 km was recorded as 33 °C, the pressure as less than 1 standard atmosphere. At the end of the 26-km descent, the temperature reached 262 °C and pressure increased to 22 standard atmospheres, the signal transmission terminated.
The atmospheric compo
A sample-return mission is a spacecraft mission with the goal of collecting and returning samples from an extraterrestrial location to Earth for analysis. Sample-return missions may bring back atoms and molecules or a deposit of complex compounds such as loose material and rocks; these samples may be obtained in a number of ways, such as soil and rock excavation or a collector array used for capturing particles of solar wind or cometary debris. To date, samples of Moon rock from Earth's Moon have been collected by robotic and crewed missions, the comet Wild 2 and the asteroid 25143 Itokawa have been visited by a robotic spacecraft which returned samples to Earth, samples of the solar wind have been returned by a robotic mission. In addition to sample-return missions, samples from three identified non-terrestrial bodies have been collected by means other than sample-return missions: samples from the Moon in the form of Lunar meteorites, samples from Mars in the form of Martian meteorites, samples from Vesta in the form of HED meteorites.
Samples available on Earth can be analyzed in laboratories, so we can further our understanding and knowledge as part of the discovery and exploration of the Solar System. Until now many important scientific discoveries about the Solar System were made remotely with telescopes, some Solar System bodies were visited by orbiting or landing spacecraft with instruments capable of remote sensing or sample analysis. While such an investigation of the Solar System is technically easier than a sample-return mission, the scientific tools available on Earth to study such samples are far more advanced and diverse than those that can go on spacecraft. Analysis of samples on Earth allows to follow up any findings with different tools, including tools that have yet to be developed. Samples analyzed on Earth can be matched against findings of remote sensing, for more insight into the processes that formed the Solar System; this was done, for example, with findings by the Dawn spacecraft, which visited the asteroid Vesta from 2011 to 2012 for imaging, samples from HED meteorites, which were compared to data gathered by Dawn.
These meteorites could be identified as material ejected from the large impact crater Rheasilvia on Vesta. This allowed deducing the composition of crust and core of Vesta; some differences in composition of asteroids can be discerned by imaging alone. However, for a more precise inventory of the material on these different bodies, more samples will be collected and returned in the future, to match their compositions with the data gathered through telescopes and astronomical spectroscopy. One further focus of such investigation—besides the basic composition and geologic history of the various Solar System bodies—is the presence of the building blocks of life on comets, Mars or the moons of the gas giants. Several sample-return missions to asteroids and comets are in the works. More samples from asteroids and comets will help determine whether life formed in space and was carried to Earth by meteorites. Another question under investigation is whether extraterrestrial life formed on other Solar System bodies like Mars or on the moons of the gas giants, whether life might exist there.
The result of NASA's last "Decadal Survey" was to prioritize a Mars sample-return mission, as Mars has a special importance: it is comparatively "nearby", might have harbored life in the past, might continue to sustain life. Jupiter's moon Europa is another important focus in the search for life in the Solar System. However, due to the distance and other constraints, Europa might not be the target of a sample-return mission in the foreseeable future. Planetary protection aims to prevent biological contamination of both the target celestial body and the Earth—in the case of sample-return missions. No sample has yet been returned with alien life in it. A sample-return from Mars or other location with potential to host life, is a category V mission under COSPAR which directs to containment of any unsterilized sample returned to Earth; this is because it is unknown the effects of such hypothetical life would be on humans or on the biosphere of Earth. For this reason, Carl Sagan and Joshua Lederberg argued in the 1970s that we should do sample-return missions classified as category V missions with extreme caution, studies by the NRC and ESF agreed.
The Apollo program returned over 382 kg of lunar rocks and regolith to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Houston. Today, 75% of the samples are stored at the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility built in 1979. In July 1969, Apollo 11 achieved the first successful sample return from another Solar System body, it returned 22 kilograms of Lunar surface material. This was followed by 34 kilograms of material from Apollo 12, 42.8 kilograms of material from Apollo 14, 76.7 kilograms of material from Apollo 15, 94.3 kilograms of material from Apollo 16, 110.4 kilograms of material from Apollo 17. One of the most significant advances in sample-return missions occurred in 1970 when the robotic Soviet mission known as Luna 16 returned 101 grams of lunar soil. Luna 20 returned 55 grams in 1974, Luna 24 returned 170 grams in 1976. Although they recovered far less than the Apollo missions, they did this automatically. Apart from these three successes, other attempts under the Luna programme failed; the first two missions were intended to outstrip Apollo 11 and wer
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is the Japanese national aerospace and space agency. Through the merger of three independent organizations, JAXA was formed on 1 October 2003. JAXA is responsible for research, technology development and launch of satellites into orbit, is involved in many more advanced missions such as asteroid exploration and possible manned exploration of the Moon, its motto is One its corporate slogan is Explore to Realize. On 1 October 2003, three organizations were merged to form the new JAXA: Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan, National Space Development Agency of Japan. JAXA was formed as an Independent Administrative Institution administered by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Technology and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Before the merger, ISAS was responsible for space and planetary research, while NAL was focused on aviation research. NASDA, founded on 1 October 1969, had developed rockets and built the Japanese Experiment Module.
The old NASDA headquarters were located at the current site of the Tanegashima Space Center, on Tanegashima Island, 115 kilometers south of Kyūshū. NASDA trained Japanese astronauts, who flew with the US Space Shuttles; the Basic Space Law was passed in 2008, the jurisdictional authority of JAXA moved from MEXT to the Strategic Headquarters for Space Development in the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister. In 2016, the National Space Policy Secretariat was set up the Cabinet. In 2012, new legislation extended JAXA's remit from peaceful purposes only to include some military space development, such as missile early warning systems. Political control of JAXA passed from MEXT to the Prime Minister's Cabinet Office through a new Space Strategy Office. JAXA is composed of the following organizations: Space Technology Directorate I Space Technology Directorate II Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate Research and Development Directorate Aeronautical Technology Directorate Institute of Space and Astronautical Science Space Exploration Innovation Hub CenterJAXA has research centers in many locations in Japan, some offices overseas.
Its headquarters are in Tokyo. It has Earth Observation Research Center, Tokyo Earth Observation Center in Hatoyama, Saitama Noshiro Testing Center in Noshiro, Akita – Established in 1962, it carries out testing of rocket engines. Sanriku Balloon Center – Balloons have been launched from this site since 1971. Kakuda Space Center in Kakuda, Miyagi – Leads the development of rocket engines. Works with development of liquid fuel engines. Sagamihara Campus – Development of experimental equipment for rockets and satellites. Administrative buildings. Tanegashima Space Center – the launch site for the H-IIA and H-IIB rockets. Tsukuba Space Center in Tsukuba; this is the center of Japan's space network. It is involved in research and development of satellites and rockets, tracking and controlling of satellites, it develops experimental equipment for the Japanese Experiment Module. Training of astronauts takes place here. For International Space Station operations, the Japanese Flight Control Team is located at the Space Station Integration & Promotion Center in Tsukuba.
SSIPC communicates with ISS crewmembers via S-band audio. Uchinoura Space Center – the launch site for the Epsilon rocket. JAXA uses the H-IIA rocket from the former NASDA body and its variant H-IIB to launch engineering test satellites, weather satellites, etc. For science missions like X-ray astronomy, JAXA uses the Epsilon rocket. For experiments in the upper atmosphere JAXA uses the SS-520, S-520, S-310 sounding rockets. Prior to the establishment of JAXA, ISAS had been most successful in its space program in the field of X-ray astronomy during the 1980s and 1990s. Another successful area for Japan has been Very Long Baseline Interferometry with the HALCA mission. Additional success was achieved with solar observation and research of the magnetosphere, among other areas. NASDA was active in the field of communication satellite technology. However, since the satellite market of Japan is open, the first time a Japanese company won a contract for a civilian communication satellite was in 2005.
Another prime focus of the NASDA body is Earth climate observation. JAXA was awarded the Space Foundation's John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr. Award for Space Exploration in 2008. Japan launched Ohsumi, in 1970, using ISAS' L-4S rocket. Prior to the merger, ISAS used small solid-fueled launch vehicles, while NASDA developed larger liquid-fueled launchers. In the beginning, NASDA used licensed American models; the first model of liquid-fuelled launch vehicle indigenously developed in Japan was the H-II, introduced in 1994. However, at the end of the 1990s, with two H-II launch failures, Japanese rocket technology began to face criticism. Japan's first space mission under JAXA, an H-IIA rocket launch on 29 November 2003, ended in failure due to stress problems. After a 15-month hiatus, JAXA performed a successful launch of an H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Center, placing a satellite into orbit on 26 February 2005. In January 2017, JAXA attempted and failed to put a mini satellite into orbit atop one of its SS520 series rockets.
A second attempt on February 2, 2018 was successful, putting a 10-pound Cube
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA was established in 1958; the new agency was to have a distinctly civilian orientation, encouraging peaceful applications in space science. Since its establishment, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, the Space Shuttle. NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles; the agency is responsible for the Launch Services Program which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System. From 1946, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics had been experimenting with rocket planes such as the supersonic Bell X-1.
In the early 1950s, there was challenge to launch an artificial satellite for the International Geophysical Year. An effort for this was the American Project Vanguard. After the Soviet launch of the world's first artificial satellite on October 4, 1957, the attention of the United States turned toward its own fledgling space efforts; the US Congress, alarmed by the perceived threat to national security and technological leadership, urged immediate and swift action. On January 12, 1958, NACA organized a "Special Committee on Space Technology", headed by Guyford Stever. On January 14, 1958, NACA Director Hugh Dryden published "A National Research Program for Space Technology" stating: It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space... It is accordingly proposed that the scientific research be the responsibility of a national civilian agency...
NACA is capable, by rapid extension and expansion of its effort, of providing leadership in space technology. While this new federal agency would conduct all non-military space activity, the Advanced Research Projects Agency was created in February 1958 to develop space technology for military application. On July 29, 1958, Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, establishing NASA; when it began operations on October 1, 1958, NASA absorbed the 43-year-old NACA intact. A NASA seal was approved by President Eisenhower in 1959. Elements of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and the United States Naval Research Laboratory were incorporated into NASA. A significant contributor to NASA's entry into the Space Race with the Soviet Union was the technology from the German rocket program led by Wernher von Braun, now working for the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, which in turn incorporated the technology of American scientist Robert Goddard's earlier works. Earlier research efforts within the US Air Force and many of ARPA's early space programs were transferred to NASA.
In December 1958, NASA gained control of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a contractor facility operated by the California Institute of Technology. The agency's leader, NASA's administrator, is nominated by the President of the United States subject to approval of the US Senate, reports to him or her and serves as senior space science advisor. Though space exploration is ostensibly non-partisan, the appointee is associated with the President's political party, a new administrator is chosen when the Presidency changes parties; the only exceptions to this have been: Democrat Thomas O. Paine, acting administrator under Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson, stayed on while Republican Richard Nixon tried but failed to get one of his own choices to accept the job. Paine was confirmed by the Senate in March 1969 and served through September 1970. Republican James C. Fletcher, appointed by Nixon and confirmed in April 1971, stayed through May 1977 into the term of Democrat Jimmy Carter. Daniel Goldin was appointed by Republican George H. W. Bush and stayed through the entire administration of Democrat Bill Clinton.
Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr. associate administrator under Democrat Barack Obama, was kept on as acting administrator by Republican Donald Trump until Trump's own choice Jim Bridenstine, was confirmed in April 2018. Though the agency is independent, the survival or discontinuation of projects can depend directly on the will of the President; the first administrator was Dr. T. Keith Glennan appointed by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. During his term he brought together the disparate projects in American space development research; the second administrator, James E. Webb, appointed by President John F. Kennedy, was a Democrat who first publicly served under President Harry S. Truman. In order to implement the Apollo program to achieve Kennedy's Moon la
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, with internal convective motion that generates a magnetic field via a dynamo process, it is by far the most important source of energy for life on Earth. Its diameter is about 1.39 million kilometers, or 109 times that of Earth, its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth. It accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System. Three quarters of the Sun's mass consists of hydrogen; the Sun is a G-type main-sequence star based on its spectral class. As such, it is informally and not accurately referred to as a yellow dwarf, it formed 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of matter within a region of a large molecular cloud. Most of this matter gathered in the center, whereas the rest flattened into an orbiting disk that became the Solar System; the central mass became so hot and dense that it initiated nuclear fusion in its core. It is thought that all stars form by this process.
The Sun is middle-aged. It fuses about 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium every second, converting 4 million tons of matter into energy every second as a result; this energy, which can take between 10,000 and 170,000 years to escape from its core, is the source of the Sun's light and heat. In about 5 billion years, when hydrogen fusion in its core has diminished to the point at which the Sun is no longer in hydrostatic equilibrium, its core will undergo a marked increase in density and temperature while its outer layers expand to become a red giant, it is calculated that the Sun will become sufficiently large to engulf the current orbits of Mercury and Venus, render Earth uninhabitable. After this, it will shed its outer layers and become a dense type of cooling star known as a white dwarf, no longer produce energy by fusion, but still glow and give off heat from its previous fusion; the enormous effect of the Sun on Earth has been recognized since prehistoric times, the Sun has been regarded by some cultures as a deity.
The synodic rotation of Earth and its orbit around the Sun are the basis of solar calendars, one of, the predominant calendar in use today. The English proper name Sun may be related to south. Cognates to English sun appear in other Germanic languages, including Old Frisian sunne, Old Saxon sunna, Middle Dutch sonne, modern Dutch zon, Old High German sunna, modern German Sonne, Old Norse sunna, Gothic sunnō. All Germanic terms for the Sun stem from Proto-Germanic *sunnōn; the Latin name for the Sun, Sol, is not used in everyday English. Sol is used by planetary astronomers to refer to the duration of a solar day on another planet, such as Mars; the related word solar is the usual adjectival term used for the Sun, in terms such as solar day, solar eclipse, Solar System. A mean Earth solar day is 24 hours, whereas a mean Martian'sol' is 24 hours, 39 minutes, 35.244 seconds. The English weekday name Sunday stems from Old English and is a result of a Germanic interpretation of Latin dies solis, itself a translation of the Greek ἡμέρα ἡλίου.
The Sun is a G-type main-sequence star. The Sun has an absolute magnitude of +4.83, estimated to be brighter than about 85% of the stars in the Milky Way, most of which are red dwarfs. The Sun is heavy-element-rich, star; the formation of the Sun may have been triggered by shockwaves from more nearby supernovae. This is suggested by a high abundance of heavy elements in the Solar System, such as gold and uranium, relative to the abundances of these elements in so-called Population II, heavy-element-poor, stars; the heavy elements could most plausibly have been produced by endothermic nuclear reactions during a supernova, or by transmutation through neutron absorption within a massive second-generation star. The Sun is by far the brightest object in the Earth's sky, with an apparent magnitude of −26.74. This is about 13 billion times brighter than the next brightest star, which has an apparent magnitude of −1.46. The mean distance of the Sun's center to Earth's center is 1 astronomical unit, though the distance varies as Earth moves from perihelion in January to aphelion in July.
At this average distance, light travels from the Sun's horizon to Earth's horizon in about 8 minutes and 19 seconds, while light from the closest points of the Sun and Earth takes about two seconds less. The energy of this sunlight supports all life on Earth by photosynthesis, drives Earth's climate and weather; the Sun does not have a definite boundary, but its density decreases exponentially with increasing height above the photosphere. For the purpose of measurement, the Sun's radius is considered to be the distance from its center to the edge of the photosphere, the apparent visible surface of the Sun. By this measure, the Sun is a near-perfect sphere with an oblateness estimated at about 9 millionths, which means that its polar diameter differs from its equatorial diameter by only 10 kilometres; the tidal effect of the planets is weak and does not affect the shape of the Sun. The Sun rotates faster at its equator than at its poles; this differential rotation is caused by convective motion
National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution called the Air and Space Museum, is a museum in Washington, D. C, it was established in 1946 as the National Air Museum and opened its main building on the National Mall near L'Enfant Plaza in 1976. In 2016, the museum saw 7.5 million visitors, making it the third most visited museum in the world, the most visited museum in the United States. The museum contains the Apollo 11 command module, the Friendship 7 capsule, flown by John Glenn, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1 which broke the sound barrier, the model of the starship Enterprise used in the science fiction television show Star Trek: The Original Series, the Wright brothers' airplane near the entrance; the National Air and Space Museum is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and spaceflight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics. All space and aircraft on display are originals or the original backup craft.
It operates an annex, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, at Dulles International Airport, which opened in 2003 and itself encompasses 760,000 square feet; the museum conducts restoration of its collection at the Paul E. Garber Preservation and Storage Facility in Suitland, while moving such restoration and archival activities into the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, a part of the Udvar-Hazy annex facilities as of 2014; because of the museum's close proximity to the United States Capitol, the Smithsonian wanted a building that would be architecturally impressive but would not stand out too boldly against the Capitol building. St. Louis-based architect Gyo Obata of HOK designed the museum as four simple marble-encased cubes containing the smaller and more theatrical exhibits, connected by three spacious steel-and-glass atria which house the larger exhibits such as missiles and spacecraft; the mass of the museum is similar to the National Gallery of Art across the National Mall, uses the same pink Tennessee marble as the National Gallery.
Built by Gilbane Building Company, the museum was completed in 1976. The west glass wall of the building is used for the installation of airplanes, functioning as a giant door; the museum's prominent site on the National Mall once housed the city's armory, during the Civil War, Armory Square Hospital nursed the worst wounded cases who were transported to Washington after battles. The Air and Space Museum was called the National Air Museum when formed on August 12, 1946 by an act of Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman; some pieces in the National Air and Space Museum collection date back to the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia after which the Chinese Imperial Commission donated a group of kites to the Smithsonian after Smithsonian Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird convinced exhibiters that shipping them home would be too costly. The Stringfellow steam engine intended for aircraft was added to the collection in 1889, the first piece acquired by the Smithsonian now in the current NASM collection.
After the establishment of the museum, there was no one building that could hold all the items to be displayed, many obtained from the United States Army and United States Navy collections of domestic and captured aircraft from World War I. Some pieces were on display in the Arts and Industries Building, some were stored in the Aircraft Building, a large temporary metal shed in the Smithsonian Castle's south yard. Larger missiles and rockets were displayed outdoors in; the shed housed a large Martin bomber, a LePere fighter-bomber, an Aeromarine 39B floatplane. Still, much of the collection remained in storage due to a lack of display space; the combination of the large numbers of aircraft donated to the Smithsonian after World War II and the need for hangar and factory space for the Korean War drove the Smithsonian to look for its own facility to store and restore aircraft. The current Garber Facility was ceded to the Smithsonian by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1952 after the curator Paul E. Garber spotted the wooded area from the air.
Bulldozers from Fort Belvoir and prefabricated buildings from the United States Navy kept the initial costs low. The space race in the 1950s and 1960s led to the renaming of the museum to the National Air and Space Museum, congressional passage of appropriations for the construction of the new exhibition hall, which opened July 1, 1976 at the height of the United States Bicentennial festivities under the leadership of Director Michael Collins, who had flown to the Moon on Apollo 11; the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center opened in 2003, funded by a private donation; the museum received COSTAR, the corrective optics instrument installed in the Hubble Space Telescope during its first servicing mission, when it was removed and returned to Earth after Space Shuttle mission STS-125. The museum holds the backup mirror for the Hubble which, unlike the one, launched, was ground to the correct shape. There were once plans for it to be installed to the Hubble itself, but plans to return the satellite to Earth were scrapped after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.
The Smithsonian has been promised the International Cometary Explorer, in a solar orbit that brings it back to Earth, should NASA attempt to recover it. The Air and Space Museum announced a two-year renovation of its main entrance hall, "Milestones of Flight" in April 2014; the renovation to the main hall was funded by a $30 mil
Philae is a robotic European Space Agency lander that accompanied the Rosetta spacecraft until it separated to land on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, ten years and eight months after departing Earth. On 12 November 2014, Philae touched down on the comet, but it bounced when its anchoring harpoons failed to deploy and a thruster designed to hold the probe to the surface did not fire. After bouncing off the surface twice, Philae achieved the first-ever "soft" landing on a comet nucleus, although the lander's final, uncontrolled touchdown left it in a non-optimal location and orientation. Despite the landing problems, the probe's instruments obtained the first images from a comet's surface. Several of the instruments on Philae made the first direct analysis of a comet, sending back data that will be analysed to determine the composition of the surface. On 15 November 2014 Philae entered safe mode, or hibernation, after its batteries ran down due to reduced sunlight and an off-nominal spacecraft orientation at its unplanned landing site.
Mission controllers hoped that additional sunlight on the solar panels might be sufficient to reboot the lander. Philae communicated sporadically with Rosetta from 13 June to 9 July 2015, but contact was lost; the lander's location was identified to within a few tens of metres. Philae, though silent, was identified unambiguously, lying on its side in a deep crack in the shadow of a cliff, in photographs taken by Rosetta on 2 September 2016 as the orbiter was sent on orbits closer to the comet. Knowledge of its precise location will help in interpretation of the images it had sent. On 30 September 2016, the Rosetta spacecraft ended its mission by crashing in the comet's Ma'at region; the lander is named after the Philae obelisk, which bears a bilingual inscription and was used along with the Rosetta Stone to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. Philae was operated from DLR's Lander Control Center in Cologne, Germany. Philae's mission was to land on the surface of a comet, attach itself, transmit data about the comet's composition.
The Rosetta spacecraft and Philae lander were launched on an Ariane 5G+ rocket from French Guiana on 2 March 2004, 07:17 UTC, travelled for 3,907 days to Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Unlike the Deep Impact probe, which by design struck comet Tempel 1's nucleus on 4 July 2005, Philae is not an impactor; some of the instruments on the lander were used for the first time as autonomous systems during the Mars flyby on 25 February 2007. CIVA, one of the camera systems, returned some images while the Rosetta instruments were powered down, while ROMAP took measurements of the Martian magnetosphere. Most of the other instruments need contact with the surface for analysis and stayed offline during the flyby. An optimistic estimate of mission length following touchdown was "four to five months"; the goals of the scientific mission have been summarized as follows: "The scientific goals of its experiments focus on elemental, isotopic and mineralogical composition of the cometary material, the characterization of physical properties of the surface and subsurface material, the large-scale structure and the magnetic and plasma environment of the nucleus.
In particular and sub-surface samples will be acquired and sequentially analyzed by a suite of instruments. Measurements will be performed during descent and along the first five days following touch-down." Philae remained attached to the Rosetta spacecraft after rendezvousing with Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014. On 15 September 2014, ESA announced "Site J" on the smaller lobe of the comet as the lander's destination. Following an ESA public contest in October 2014, Site J was renamed Agilkia in honour of Agilkia Island. A series of four Go/NoGo checks were performed on 11–12 November 2014. One of the final tests before detachment from Rosetta showed that the lander's cold-gas thruster was not working but the "Go" was given anyway, as it could not be repaired. Philae detached from Rosetta on 12 November 2014 at 08:35 UTC SCET. Philae's landing signal was received by Earth communication stations at 16:03 UTC after a 28-minute delay. Unknown to mission scientists at that time, the lander had bounced.
It began performing scientific measurements while moving away from the comet and coming back down, confusing the science team. Further analysis showed. Philae's first contact with the comet occurred at 15:34:04 UTC SCET; the probe rebounded off the comet's surface at 38 cm/s and rose to an altitude of 1 km. For perspective, had the lander exceeded about 44 cm/s, it would have escaped the comet's gravity. After detecting the touchdown, Philae's reaction wheel was automatically powered off, resulting in its momentum being transferred back into the lander; this caused the vehicle to begin rotating every 13 seconds. During this first bounce, at 16:20 UTC SCET, the lander is thought to have struck a surface prominence, which slowed its rotation to once every 24 seconds and sent the craft tumbling. Philae rebounded at 3 cm/s; the lander came to a final stop on the surface at 17:31:17 UTC SCET. It sits in rough terrain in the shadow of a nearby cliff or crater wall, is canted at an angle of around 30 degrees, but is otherwise undamaged.
Its final location was determined by analysis of data from CONSERT in combination with the comet shape model based on images from the Rosetta orbiter, precisely by direct imaging from Rosetta. An analysis of telemetry indicated that the initial impact was softer than expected, that the harpoons had not deployed, that the thruster had not fired; the harpoon propulsi