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1959 Chronology

1959 January - .
1959 January 1 - .
  • Cuban President Batista resigns and flees - Castro takes over - . Nation: USA.

1959 During the Year - .
  • Kosmoplans proposed by Chelomei. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Chelomei. Spacecraft Bus: Kosmoplan. Spacecraft: Kosmoplan.

    Chelomei began studying use of his encapsulated cruise missile technology for spacecraft. A whole family of unmanned spacecraft, dubbed Kosmoplans, would be built using modular elements. These would include highly manoeuvrable high performance storable liquid propellant engine modules; nuclear reactor modules for high power space applications; ion engine units for inter-orbital transfer and interplanetary flight; and re-entry vehicles permitting return of payloads from space with landing at conventional airfields.


1959 During the Year - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • TMK Heavy Piloted Interplanetary Spacecraft - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft Bus: TMK. Spacecraft: TMK-1.

    In 1959 a group of enthusiasts in OKB-1 Section 3 under the management of G U Maksimov started engineering design of this first fantastic project for manned interplanetary travel. The requirements for executing this project would shape the specifications for the N1 launch vehicle.

    The TMK-1 would then be put on a free flight trajectory towards Mars. After 10.5 months it would fly by Mars, dropping remote controlled landers, and then be flung by the gravity of Mars into an earth-return trajectory. Only minor midcourse manoeuvres would be required. The first flight to Mars of the TMK-1 was planned to begin on June 8, 1971, with the crew returning in a re-entry capsule to the earth on July 10, 1974, after a voyage of three years, one month, and two days. A variation of this scenario involved flybys of Venus on the return voyage, and may have been the project given the code name 'Mavr' ('Moor' or MArs - VeneRa).


1959 January 1 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • 1 million pound engine demonstrated. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Rocketdyne demonstrated 1-million-pound-thrust liquid-propellant rocket combustion chamber at full power..

1959 January - .
  • Balloon flights planned for Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Parachute.

    Balloon flights were planned for high-altitude qualification tests of the complete spacecraft, including all instrumentation, retrorockets, drogue parachute system, and recovery. Later balloon flights would be manned to provide as much as 24 hours of training followed by recovery at sea. The Space Task Group made surveys of organizations experienced in the balloon field and recommended that the Air Force Cambridge Research Center be given responsibilities for designing, contracting, and conducting the balloon program.


1959 January-February - .
  • Study contracts for tracking instrumentation for Project Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Study contracts were awarded to Aeronutronics, Space Electronics, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory for assistance in developing plans for tracking and ground instrumentation for Project Mercury..

1959 January - .
  • Honeywell named subcontractor for the Mercury stabilization system. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    McDonnell, as prime contractor, selected Minneapolis-Honeywell as subcontractor for the Mercury stabilization system. At that time, other subcontractors were under consideration for the fabrication of various components: Bell Aircraft Rockets Division, reaction control system; and General Electric, Barnes Instruments, and Detroit Controls were being considered for fabrication of the horizon scanner. Later Bell and Barnes were awarded contracts for respective components.


January 1959 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: DF-1.
  • R-2 production advisors - . Nation: China. Related Persons: Tsien. The first Soviet advisors arrive to assist the Chinese in production of the R-2 missile..

Early 1959 - . LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Chinese plan satellite launch by December 1959 - . Nation: China. Related Persons: Tsien. Spacecraft Bus: Project 581. Spacecraft: Project 581.

    Tsien and his colleagues set an initial goal of launching a satellite by the end of 1959. They see no reason to copy the antiquated R-2 missile being transferred from Russia, and want to make a great leap to an intermediate range missile capable of serving as the first stage of a satellite launcher. It very quickly becomes that this is much too ambitious and totally impossible.


1959 January - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Strategic Air Command takes over Atlas ICBM facilities. - . Nation: USA. VAFB SMS 576A facilities turned over to SAC.

1959 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC43. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF ETR. Apogee: 61 km (37 mi).

1959? - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Edwards AFB DZ. Launch Pad: 34.9 N x 117.8 W. Launch Platform: F-104. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: ALSOR.
  • Model A (F1) test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 74 km (45 mi). Air dropped in Edwards AFB DZ..

1959 January 2 - .
  • Von Braun predicted manned circumlunar flight within ten years - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Glennan, Silverstein, von Braun. Program: Apollo.

    In a staff report of the House Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration, Wernher von Braun of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency predicted manned circumlunar flight within the next eight to ten years and a manned lunar landing and return mission a few years thereafter. Administrator T. Keith Glennan, Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden, Abe Silverstein, John P. Hagen, and Homer E. Newell, all of NASA, also foresaw manned circumlunar flight within the decade as well as instrumented probes soft-landed on the moon. Roy K. Knutson, Chairman of the Corporate Space Committee, NAA, projected a manned lunar landing expedition for the early 1970's with extensive unmanned instrumented soft lunar landings during the last half of the 1960's.


1959 January 2 - . 16:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72. FAILURE: Failure of the launch vehicle control system.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Luna 1 - . Payload: E-1 s/n 4. Mass: 361 kg (795 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1. USAF Sat Cat: 112 . COSPAR: 1959-Mu-1.

    Lunar probe; passed within 5,995 km of moon but did not hit it as planned due to a failure of the launch vehicle control system. Went into solar orbit. First manmade object to attain of escape velocity. Also known as Mechta ("Dream"), popularly called Lunik I. Because of its high velocity and its announced package of various metallic emblems with the Soviet coat of arms, it was concluded that Luna 1 was intended to impact the Moon. After reaching escape velocity, Luna 1 separated from its 1472 kg third stage. The third stage, 5.2 m long and 2.4 m in diameter, travelled along with Luna 1. On 3 January, at a distance of 113,000 km from Earth, a large (1 kg) cloud of sodium gas was released by the spacecraft. This glowing orange trail of gas, visible over the Indian Ocean with the brightness of a sixth-magnitude star, allowed astronomers to track the spacecraft. It also served as an experiment on the behavior of gas in outer space. Luna 1 passed within 5,995 km of the Moon's surface on 4 January after 34 hours of flight. It went into orbit around the Sun, between the orbits of Earth and Mars. The measurements obtained during this mission provided new data on the Earth's radiation belt and outer space, including the discovery that the Moon had no magnetic field and that a solar wind, a strong flow of ionized plasma emmanating from the Sun, streamed through interplanetary space.


1959 January 3 - . LV Family: Alfa. Launch Vehicle: Alfa.
  • Switzerland decided to pursue development of nuclear weapons - . Nation: Switzerland.

1959 January 3 - .
  • Birth of Fyodor Nikolayevich Yurchikhin - . Nation: Georgia, Russia. Related Persons: Yurchikhin. Georgian-Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on STS-112, ISS EO-15,ISS EO-24. Engineer, Energia NPO..

1959 January 4 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg.
  • Vandenberg AFB / PMR operaitonal. - . Nation: USA. Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Pacific Missile Range declared officially operational for firings..

1959 January 5 - .
  • Cosmonaut selection for Vostok flights authorised. - . Nation: Russia. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 22-10ss 'On biomedical preparations for human spaceflight' was issued..

1959 January 5 - .
  • Mercury pilot selection qualifications - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    Qualifications were established for pilot selection in a meeting at the NASA Headquarters. These qualifications were as follows: age, less than 40; height, less than 5 feet 11 inches; excellent physical condition; bachelor's degree or equivalent; graduate of test pilot school; 1,500 hours flight time; and a qualified jet pilot.


1959 January 6 - .
  • Mercury spacecraft heat protection. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Heat Shield.

    A meeting was held at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters to discuss the method for spacecraft heat protection. Two plans were considered: beryllium heat sink and ablation. Based on this meeting a decision was made to modify the spacecraft structure in order to accomodate interchangeably ablation heat shields and beryllium heat sinks , and orders were placed for 12 and 6, respectively. The material chosen for the ablation heat was Fiberglas bonded with a modified phenolic resin. This material was found to have good structural properties even after being subjected to reentry heating.


1959 January 6 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • NASA Large Booster Review Committee - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo.

    The Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC), the Air Force, and missile contractors presented to the ARPA-NASA Large Booster Review Committee their views on the quickest and surest way for the United States to attain large booster capability. The Committee decided that the Juno V approach advocated by AOMC was best and NASA started plans to utilize the Juno V booster.


1959 January 7 - .
  • $10 million of fiscal year 1959 funds for the Dyna-Soar program. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft Bus: Dynasoar. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. Deputy Secretary of Defense, D. A. Quarles reinstated the $10 million of fiscal year 1959 funds for the Dyna-Soar program..

1959 January 8 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Redstones ordered for Mercury suborbital launches. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Mercury. NASA requested eight Redstone-type launch vehicles from the Army to be used in Project Mercury development flights..

1959 January 9 - .
  • McDonnell selected to produce the Mercury spacecraft. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Glennan, Silverstein. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    The Source Selection Board at NASA Headquarters composed of Abe Silverstein, Ralph Cushman, George Low, Walter Schier, DeMarquis Wyatt, and Charles Zimmerman, completed their findings and reported to Dr. T. Keith Glennan, the Administrator. McDonnell Aircraft Corporation was selected as the prime contractor to develop and produce the Mercury spacecraft.


1959 January 10 - . 11:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A-1 (R-1).
  • Ionosphere / aeronomy mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 January 12 - .
  • McDonnell awarded contract for Mercury project - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. 12 capsules to be built. Other leading contender was Grumman. Original schedule was for manned flights from January - August 1960..

1959 January 13 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. LV Family: Stromboli. Launch Vehicle: SE4400.
  • Test mission - . Nation: France. Agency: STA. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

1959 January 14 - .
  • Preliminary negotiations with McDonnell on the Mercury spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Preliminary negotiations were started with McDonnell on the technical and legal aspects of the Mercury spacecraft research and development program..

1959 January 15 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur LV-3C.
  • Centaur first contract. - . Nation: USA. Centaur project (Atlas upper stage) contracted for $7 million in its first year.

1959 January 16 - .
  • Eight Redstone and two Jupiter launch vehicles for Mercury - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Mercury. NASA requested the Army Ordnance Missile Command, Huntsville, Alabama, to construct and launch eight Redstone launch vehicles and two Jupiter launch vehicles in support of Project Mercury manned and unmanned flights..

1959 January 16 - .
  • OKB-2 becomes independent design bureau. - . Nation: Russia. Decree 'On separation of OKB-2 from NII-88' was issued..

1959 January 16 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 January 19 - .
  • Contract with Rocketdyne for development of the F-1 engine - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    NASA signed a definitive contract with Rocketdyne Division, NAA, for $102 million covering the design and development of a single-chamber, liquid-propellant rocket engine in the 1- to l.5-million-pound-thrust class (the F-1, to be used in the Nova superbooster concept). NASA had announced the selection of Rocketdyne on December 12.


1959 January 19 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC36. Launch Pad: ALA3. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. FAILURE: Human error in connecting separation system..
  • Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 1,189 m..

1959 January 21 - .
  • The screening of records for prospective Mercury astronauts began. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

1959 January 21 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. FAILURE: Launch vehicle failure.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Thor Agena test - . Mass: 779 kg (1,717 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. COSPAR: F590121A. First flight test of Thor-Agena for KH program..

1959 January 22 - . 00:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC5. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Tactical test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

    Tactical Test. The first Chrysler production qualification missile was fired from AMR at 1910 hours EST. The nose cone impacted in the pre-selected target area at a range of 1,302 nm. Miss distance was 3 nm over and 1 nm to the left of the target. The overshoot was caused by failure of the vernier engine to cut off high resistance of the squib firing circuit. Primary missions were successfully accomplished.


1959 January 23 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able II. FAILURE: Failure.
  • RVX-1 Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 January 25 - .
  • Mercury pilot egress trainer received. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. The pilot egress trainer was received from McDonnell and rough water evaluation of the equipment was started immediately by Space Task Group personnel..

1959 January 26 - .
  • NASA completed negotiations with McDonnell for the Mercury spacecraft. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    NASA completed contract negotiations with McDonnell for the design and development of the Mercury spacecraft. At that time, McDonnell estimated that the first 3 spacecraft could be delivered in 10 months. Spacecraft refinements slipped this estimated goal by only 2 months.


1959 January 26 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral RW30/12. LV Family: Navaho. Launch Vehicle: Navaho X-10.
  • Navaho X-10 Drone BOMARC target mission 3 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: Navaho. The X-10 was launched with only one electrical generator due to a lack of any remaining spares. As it headed out over the ocean, that generator failed. It lost all electrical power, and crashed into the ocean 105 km downrange..

1959 January 27 - .
  • NASA National Space Vehicle Program - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    After consultation and discussion with DOD, NASA formulated a national space vehicle program. The central idea of the program was that a single launch vehicle should be developed for use in each series of future space missions. The launch vehicle would thus achieve a high degree of reliability, while the guidance and payload could be varied according to purpose of the mission. Four general-purpose launch vehicles were described: Vega, Centaur, Saturn, and Nova. The Nova booster stage would be powered by a cluster of four F-1 engines, the second stage by a single F-1, and the third stage would be the size of an intercontinental ballistic missile but would use liquid hydrogen as a fuel. This launch vehicle would be the first in a series that could transport a man to the lunar surface and return him safely to earth in a direct ascent mission. Four additional stages would be required in such a mission.


1959 January 27 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Jericho. Launch Vehicle: Daniel.
  • Test / aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 127 km (78 mi).

1959 January 27 - . 23:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C.
  • Mod II re-entry vehicle research and development mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 990 km (610 mi).

1959 January 28 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island.
  • Third space balloon test. - . Nation: USA. Nike-Cajun successfully launched 12-foot-diameter test inflatable sphere to a height of 75 miles over NASA Wallops Island, the sphere inflating satisfactorily..

1959 January 28 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Beacon Test 4 Satellite test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Langley. Apogee: 122 km (75 mi).

1959 January 29 - .
  • The Little Joe flight test program was drafted. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    This plan was updated on April 14, 1959. Primary objectives of the test were to investigate flight dynamics, check drogue parachute operations, determine physiological effects of acceleration on a small primate, and, to some extent, check the spacecraft aerodynamic characteristics.


1959 January 30 - .
  • Navy candidates for Project Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Glennan. Program: Mercury. Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, advised Dr. T. Keith Glennan that Navy candidates for Project Mercury had started in the first selection process..

1959 January 30 - . 23:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 January 31 - . Launch Site: Tonopah. LV Family: Lacrosse. Launch Vehicle: Doorknob.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Sandia. Apogee: 24 km (14 mi).

1959 February - . LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5M.
  • First deployment to Germany of nuclear-tipped R-5M IRBM's - . Nation: Russia.

    The 72nd Brigade had actually been formed in Germany in 1946, to assist in testing of V-2 technology. It later moved to Kaputsin Yar, where it had conducted the first R-1 trials. In 1955 it was moved to Medved, Novgorod, to form the first R-5 brigade. In January 1959 it was redeployed to Gvardeisk, Kaliningrad. Then two divisions were detached for a test German deployment - one division by train, the control division by airplane to Templin air base. The divisions deployed over a wide area of north-east East Germany. The total deployment consisted of 4 launchers and 12 rockets. In August-September 1959 the divisions returned to Gvardeisk and began conversion to R-12.


1959 February - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • NASA/USAF responsibilities for the first two Mercury Atlas firings. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    During a meeting between personnel of the Space Task Group and the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division, the responsibilities of the two organizations were outlined for the first two Atlas firings. Space Technology Laboratories, under Air Force Ballistic Missile Division direction, would select the design trajectories according to the specifications set forth by the Space Task Group. These specifications were to match a point in the trajectory at about 450,000 feet, corresponding to a normal reentry condition for the manned spacecraft after firing of the retrorockets at an altitude of 120 nautical miles. Space Technology Laboratories would also provide impact dispersion data, data for range safety purposes, and the necessary reprograming of the guidance computers. The spacecraft for the suborbital Atlas flights would be manufactured under the deriction of the Lewis Research Center, based on Space Task Group designs. Space Task Group was developing the spacecraft instrumentation, with a contingent of personnel at the Lewis Research Center. The attitude control system was being developed by Lewis.


1959 February 1-14 - .
  • 110 US military pilots appeared to qualify for Mercury - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    Some 508 records were reviewed for prospective pilot candidates of which about 110 appeared to qualify. The special committee on Life Sciences decided to divide these into two groups and 69 prospective pilot candidates were briefed and interviewed in Washington. Out of this number, 53 volunteered for the Mercury program, and 32 of the 53 were selected for further testing. The committee agreed there was no further need to brief other individuals, because of the high qualities exhibited in the existing pool of candidates. These 32 were scheduled for physical examination at the Lovelace Clinic, Albuquerque, New Mexico.


1959 February - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Atlas ICBM coffin launcher design completed. - . Nation: USA. Design of horizontal operational ground support equipment (coffin configuration) completed.

1959 February 1 - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Corporal. Launch Vehicle: Corporal.
  • Nation: USA. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

1959 February 2 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Booster name changed from Juno V to Saturn - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Johnson, Roy, von Braun. Program: Apollo. The Army proposed that the name of the large clustered-engine booster be changed from Juno V to Saturn, since Saturn was the next planet after Jupiter. Roy W. Johnson, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, approved the name on February 3..

1959 February 3 - . 20:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Nike Hercules. Launch Vehicle: Nike Hercules.
  • Cold weather test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1959 February 4 - . 08:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B.
  • Research and development / AFSWC-4? test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 990 km (610 mi). Last Atlas B flight, fully successful.

1959 February 5 - .
  • Working Group on Lunar Exploration established by NASA - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Source Selection.

    A Working Group on Lunar Exploration was established by NASA at a meeting at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Members of NASA, JPL, Army Ballistic Missile Agency, California Institute of Technology, and the University of California participated in the meeting. The Working Group was assigned the responsibility of preparing a lunar exploration program, which was outlined: circumlunar vehicles, unmanned and manned; hard lunar impact; close lunar satellites; soft lunar landings (instrumented). Preliminary studies showed that the Saturn booster with an intercontinental ballistic missile as a second stage and a Centaur as a third stage, would be capable of launching manned lunar circumnavigation spacecraft and instrumented packages of about one ton to a soft landing on the moon.


1959 February 5 - . 14:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Meteorites mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 212 km (131 mi).

1959 February 6 - .
  • Formal contract for 12 Mercury spacecraft with McDonnell. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Following industry-wide competition, a formal contract for research and development of the Mercury spacecraft was negotiated with the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. The contract called for design and construction of 12 Mercury spacecraft, but it did not include details on changes and ground support equipment which were to be negotiated as the project developed. Later, orders were placed with the company for eight additional spacecraft, two procedural trainers, an environmental trainer, and seven checkout trainers. McDonnell had been engaged in studying the development of a manned spacecraft since the NACA presentation in mid-March of 1958.


1959 February 6 - . 21:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC15. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan I.
  • Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). First test launch of USAF Titan ICBM (A-3) from Cape Canaveral. Dummy second stage (500 km range)..

1959 February 7 - .
  • Medical tests for the Mercury astronaut selection started. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. At the Lovelace Clinic, Albuquerque, New Mexico, the medical tests for the Mercury astronaut selection were started..

1959 February 10 - .
  • Wiind tunnel tests of Project Mercury configuration models were started. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. By the end of the year, over 70 different models had been tested by facilities at the Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center and the NASA Langley, Ames, and Lewis Research Centers..

1959 February 11 - .
  • Redstone and Jupiter flight phases of Project Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Space Task Group and Army Ballistic Missile Agency personnel met at Huntsville, Alabama, to discuss Redstone and Jupiter flight phases of Project Mercury. During the course of the meeting the following points became firm: (1) Space Task Group was the overall manager and technical director of this phase of the program, (2) ABMA was responsible for the launch vehicle until spacecraft separation, (3) ABMA was responsible for the Redstone launch vehicle recovery (this phase of the program was later eliminated since benefits from recovering the launch vehicle would have been insignificant), (4) Space Task Group was responsible for the spacecraft flight after separation, (5) McDonnell was responsible for the adapters for the Mercury-Redstone configuration, and (6) ABMA would build adapters for the Mercury-Jupiter configuration. Because many points could only be settled by detailed design studies, it was decided to establish several working panels for later meetings.


1959 February 12-13 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Atlas launch vehicles in Project Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    Discussions were held at Langley Field between the Space Task Group and the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division covering aspects of the use of Atlas launch vehicles in Project Mercury. Specifically discussed were technical details of the first Atlas test flight (Big Joe), the abort sensing capability for later flights, and overall program objectives.


1959 February 12 - . 00:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: M-100. Launch Vehicle: M-100.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1959 February 13 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Bomarc. Launch Vehicle: Bomarc.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1959 February 15 - .
  • Final medical examinations of the Mercury astronauts started. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. The medical examinations at the Wright Air Development Center for the final selection of the Mercury astronauts were started..

1959 February 15 - .
  • NASA Booster Development Plan for 60's - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. NASA issues plan for development in next decade of Vega (later cancelled as too similar to Agena), Centaur, Saturn, and Nova launch vehicles. Juno V renamed Saturn I..

1959 February 16 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC36. Launch Pad: ALA3. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. FAILURE: Improper setting of thrust controller and malfunction of tilt program at 17 sec.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi). Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 17,942 m..

1959 February 16 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC10. LV Family: Sergeant. Launch Vehicle: Draco.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

1959 February 17 - .
  • Exploration of the moon a NASA responsibility - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Johnson, Roy. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Source Selection.

    Roy W. Johnson, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), testified before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics that DOD and ARPA had no lunar landing program. Herbert F. York, DOD Director of Defense Research and Engineering, testified that exploration of the moon was a NASA responsibility.


1959 February 17 - . 15:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18A. Launch Pad: LC18A. LV Family: Vanguard. Launch Vehicle: Vanguard.
  • Vanguard 2 - . Payload: Vanguard 2E / Cloud cover satellite. Mass: 10 kg (22 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Vanguard. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Vanguard 2. Spacecraft: Vanguard 2. USAF Sat Cat: 11 . COSPAR: 1959-Alpha-1. Apogee: 3,049 km (1,894 mi). Perigee: 557 km (346 mi). Inclination: 32.9000 deg. Period: 122.80 min. Operated for 18 days; satellite wobble degraded data..

1959 February 19 - .
  • Rocket sled reaches Mach 4. - . Nation: USA. Monorail two-stage rocket-research sled attained 3,090 mph, or roughly Mach 4.1, at Holloman AFB..

1959 February 20 - .
  • Long-range objectives of the NASA space program - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    In testimony before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Deputy Administrator Hugh L. Dryden and DeMarquis D. Wyatt described the long-range objectives of the NASA space program: an orbiting space station with several men, operating for several days; a permanent manned orbiting laboratory; unmanned hard-landing and soft-landing lunar probes; manned circumlunar flight; manned lunar landing and return; and, ultimately, interplanetary flight.


1959 February 20 - . LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11FM.
  • R-11FM accepted into military service. - . Nation: Russia.

    Decree 'On adoption of the R-11FM into armaments' was issued. The first Soviet SLBM system was accepted, but never deployed on an operational vessel. However the project had cemented Makeyev's relationship with the Soviet Navy, which decided to make him their sole source for all future naval ballistic missiles.


1959 February 20 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar VLAD. Launch Pad: Burya. LV Family: Burya La-350. Launch Vehicle: Burya La-350.
  • Burya launch attempt - . Nation: Russia. Program: Navaho. Erroneous operation of the AVD abort system in one of the boosters prevented launch..

1959 February 20 - . LV Family: RT-2. Launch Vehicle: RT-1.
  • RT-1 experimental solid propellant ballistic missile development authorised - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korolev. Korolev was to begin development of the three stage rocket, which was to have a range of 800 to 2500 km and a lift-off mass of 35 tonnes..

1959 February 20 - . 05:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 February 23 - .
  • Birth of Clayton Conrad Anderson - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Anderson, Clayton. American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on ISS EO-15-1, STS-131..

1959 February 24 - .
  • Mercury-Redstone-Jupiter trajectory, aerodynamics, and flight loads - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Mercury-Redstone-Jupiter Study Panel Number IV (choice of trajectory, aerodynamics, and flight loads) met at Redstone Arsenal. Subjects studied included pilot safety, simulation of entry from orbit, length of zero-g time, missile stability and aerodynamics, ascent accelerations, and range. This group reconvened on March 13, 1959.


1959 February 25 - . 19:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC15. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan I.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1959 February 26 - .
  • Integration of the Mercury spacecraft with the Redstone and Jupiter launch vehicles. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Panel Number I (Design Subcommittee) met at Redstone Arsenal for the first time to discuss integration requirements for the Mercury spacecraft with the Redstone and Jupiter launch vehicles..

1959 February 27 - . 15:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee.
  • Solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 210 km (130 mi).

1959 February 27 - . 23:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

    Fired from AMR at 1850 hours EST. The primary mission of impacting the nose cone in a pre-calculated target (MILS Network) was successfully accomplished, The nose cone impacted in the 1,302 nm target area, 2.8 nm over, with no lateral deviations. Again, the vernier engine ran to cut-off rather than the commanded 14 seconds -- a near perfect flight. For the first rime, missile roll was controlled by a turbine exhaust nozzle designed to eliminate problems experienced on previous flights.


1959 February 28 - . 07:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able II.
  • RVX-1 Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

    In the first use of a Thor as a space booster, the world's first polar orbiting satellite, Discoverer I, was launched by a Thor/Agena (Thor 163) booster combination from Vandenberg AFB. The mission was also the first successful flight test of Lockheed's Agena A upper stage vehicle designed for orbiting U.S. satellite systems.


1959 February 28 - . 21:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A.
  • Discoverer 1 - . Payload: KH-1 prototype / Agena A 1022. Mass: 618 kg (1,362 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-03-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 13 . COSPAR: 1959-Beta-1. Apogee: 968 km (601 mi). Perigee: 163 km (101 mi). Inclination: 89.7000 deg. Period: 96.00 min.

    In the first use of a Thor as a space booster, the world's first polar orbiting satellite, Discoverer I, was launched by a Thor/Agena (Thor 163) booster combination from Vandenberg AFB. The mission was also the first successful flight test of Lockheed's Agena A upper stage vehicle designed for orbiting U.S. satellite systems. First polar orbiting satellite; KH-1 prototype; did not carry camera or film capsule.


1959 March - .
  • Heatshield test of Mercury at lunar reentry speeds - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    H. Kurt Strass and Leo T. Chauvin of STG proposed a heatshield test of a fullscale Mercury spacecraft at lunar reentry speeds. This test, in which the capsule would penetrate the earth's radiation belt, was called Project Boomerang. An advanced version of the Titan missile was to be the launch vehicle. The project was postponed and ultimately dropped because of cost.


1959 March 1 - . LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout A.
  • Scout development begun. - . Nation: USA. "Poor man's rocket," Scout, was jointly announced by NASA and AF. The concept of Scout originated at Langley Research Center in 1958, based upon extensive experience with staged solid-propellant rockets..

1959 March - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C.
  • Atlas 6C blows up. - . Nation: USA. Missile 6C blows up, destroying ERB Stand 1-A..

1959 March 1 - .
  • OKB-1 preliminary work on circumlunar spacecraft - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Feoktistov. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Sever.

    The first design sketched out was known as Sever (North). The reentry capsule had the same configuration as the ultimate Soyuz design but was 50% larger. By summer 1959 Feoktistov had reduced the size to that of the later Soyuz, while retaining the three-man crew size.


1959 March 3 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer test vehicle. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1.
  • D58 re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1959 March 3 - . 05:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC5. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Juno II.
  • Pioneer 4 - . Mass: 6.00 kg (13.20 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Pioneer. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Pioneer 3-4. Spacecraft: Pioneer 3-4. USAF Sat Cat: 113 . COSPAR: 1959-Nu-1.

    The fourth U.S.-IGY lunar probe effort, Pioneer IV, a joint project of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and Jet Propulsion Laboratory under the direction of NASA, was launched by a Juno II rocket from the Atlantic Missile Range. Intended to impact on the lunar surface, Pioneer IV achieved earth-moon trajectory, passing within 60,200 km of the moon before going into permanent orbit around the sun.


1959 March 4 - . LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • R-12 accepted into military service. - . Nation: Russia. Decree 'On adoption of the R-12 into armaments' was issued..

1959 March 6 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Thrust chamber of the Saturn F-1 engine successfully static-fired - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    The thrust chamber of the F-1 engine was successfully static-fired at the Santa Susana Air Force-Rocketdyne Propulsion Laboratory in California. More than one million pounds of thrust were produced, the greatest amount attained to that time in the United States.


1959 March 7 - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Blandine. LV Family: Veronique. Launch Vehicle: Veronique. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 March 8 - .
  • Mercury abort test conducted at Wallops Island - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Escape Tower.

    An abort test was conducted at Wallops Island on a full-scale model of the spacecraft with the escape tower, using a Recruit escape rocket. The configuration did not perform as expected (erratic motion), and as a result, the Langley Research Center was requested to test small-scale flight models of the abort system to determine its motion in flight.


1959 March 9 - .
  • Tests on several ablating materials for Mercury heat shield. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Heat Shield. Tests were in progress at Langley and Wallops Island on several types of ablating materials under environmental conditions that would be experienced by a spacecraft reentering from orbit..

1959 March 10 - .
  • Lack of a DX priority delaying Project Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    The Space Task Group was notified by McDonnell that several of its subcontractors were experiencing difficulties in procuring material necessary to fabricate Project Mercury components. This delay was being caused by the lack of a DX priority procurement rating.


1959 March 10 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC36. Launch Pad: ALA3. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone.
  • Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Successful missile test. Army Redstone ejected miniature TV camera which transmitted pictures of its target impact area. Missed aimpoint by 144 m..

1959 March 10 - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Edwards RW04/22. Launch Pad: Edwards. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15.
  • X-15A test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, USAF. Apogee: 11 km (6 mi). X-15 captive flight.

1959 March 10 - . 18:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Blandine. LV Family: Veronique. Launch Vehicle: Veronique.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 124 km (77 mi).

1959 March 11 - .
  • First full-scale test simulating a Mercury pad-abort situation. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Escape Tower.

    Langley's Pilotless Aircraft Research Division conducted, at Wallops Island, the first full-scale test simulating a pad-abort situation. A full weight and size spacecraft was used. For the first 50 feet the flight was essentially straight, indicating the successful functioning of the abort rocket. Thereafter, the spacecraft pitched through several turns and impacted a short distance from the shore. The malfunction was traced to the loss of a graphite insert from one of the three abort rocket nozzles, which caused a misalignment of thrust.


1959 March 12 - . 05:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Hammaguira. Launch Complex: Hammaguira Blandine. LV Family: Veronique. Launch Vehicle: Veronique.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: France. Agency: CASDN. Apogee: 174 km (108 mi).

1959 March 12 - . 10:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. LV Family: Black Knight. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: UK. Agency: Royal Aerospace Establishment. Apogee: 537 km (333 mi). Second British Black Knight rocket reached 350-mile altitude at Woomera, Australia..

1959 March 12 - . 15:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee Hi.
  • Solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 210 km (130 mi).

1959 March 13 - .
  • Saturn System Study - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    The Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) submitted the "Saturn System Study" which had been requested by the Advanced Research Projects Agency ARPA on December 18, 1958. From the 1375 possible configurations screened, and the 14 most promising given detailed study, the Atlas and Titan families were selected as the most attractive for upper staging. Either the 120-inch or the 160inch diameter was acceptable. The study included the statement: "An immediate decision by ARPA as to choice of upper stages on the first generation vehicle is mandatory if flight hardware is to be available to meet the proposed Saturn schedule." Additional Details: here....


1959 March 13 - . 15:30 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee Hi.
  • Solar ultraviolet / solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 170 km (100 mi).

1959 March 14 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A.
  • R-7A flight test plan approved. - . Nation: Russia. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On Work on the R-7 Product and Flight-Design Testing of the R-7A Product-- testing of the R-7 and R-7A ICBMs' was issued..

1959 March 16 - .
  • Purchase of five developmental pressure suits for Project Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mark IV Model 3 Type I. Spacecraft: Mercury Space Suit. Purchase approval in the amount of $125,000 was requested by the Space Task Group from NASA Headquarters for the procurement of five developmental pressure suits for Project Mercury..

1959 March 16 - .
  • Birth of Michael John 'Bloomer' Bloomfield - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bloomfield. American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-86, STS-97, STS-110..

1959 March 17 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island.
  • Second spherical rocket motor test. - . Nation: USA. First flight launching of a spin-stabilized 20-inch-diameter spherical rocket, by NASA Langley's PARD at Wallops Station, Va..

1959 March 17-18 - .
  • Mercury mock-up inspection. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    A Mock-Up Inspection Board meeting was held at the McDonnell plant to review the completed spacecraft mock-up. As a result of this meeting, the contractor was directed to restudy provisions made for pilot egress; rearrange crew space to make handles, actuators, and other instruments more accessible to the pilot; and modify the clock, sequence lights, and other displays. This same type of meeting was held on many subsequent occasions to review production spacecraft.


1959 March 17 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: HJ. Launch Vehicle: HJ Nike Nike 20-inch SM.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 1,380 km (850 mi).

1959 March 17 - . 01:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • GCh No. 13 (III-2) test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). First test flight serial production model..

1959 March 18 - . 02:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Akita. LV Family: Kappa. Launch Vehicle: Kappa 6.
  • Grenade Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

1959 March 19 - . LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17.
  • X-17s used for rocket launch of nuclear tests. - . Nation: USA. Deputy Secretary of Defense Quarles announced that three atomic blasts were secretly fired in space (Project Argus) in 1958, using modified X-17 rockets..

1959 March 19 - . 00:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • RVX-2 re-entry vehicle research and development mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 March 20 - .
  • Army task force to plan a manned lunar outpost - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Medaris, von Braun. Program: Horizon.

    An Army task force was formed to develop a plan for establishing a manned lunar outpost by the quickest practical means. The effort was called Project Horizon. The first phase of the project was to make a limited feasibility study, with estimated time and costs. The task force worked under the direction of Maj. Gen. John B. Medaris of the Army Ordnance Missile Command and in full collaboration with the von Braun team. The report was completed on June 8.


1959 March 21 - . 06:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able II.
  • RVX-1 Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 March 22 - . 00:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 March 23 - .
  • DX priority procurement rating in support of Project Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. As of this date, the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation listed some 32 items that required a DX priority procurement rating in support of Project Mercury. This highest national priority procurement rating had been requested by NASA on November 14, 1958..

1959 March 24 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island.
  • 3,300th launch from Wallops. - . Nation: USA. NASA announced that Wallops Station had made over 3,300 rocket firings since 1945..

1959 March 25 - . 05:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • GCh No. 15 (III-3) test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). R-7 development test flight. (GCh No. 15 (III-3)).

1959 March 26 - .
  • Hypersonic flight tests for the Mercury spacecraft. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    The Langley Research Center received approval for funds to conduct hypersonic flight tests for the Mercury spacecraft. Langley's Pilotless Aircraft Research Division would conduct tests on heat transfer rates at a velocity of mach 17, and dynamic behavior tests from a velocity of mach 10 to a subsonic speed.


1959 March 27 - .
  • Instructions for the marking of vehicles launched for the NASA. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Glennan. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Dr. T. Keith Glennan, the NASA Administrator, provided instructions for the marking of vehicles launched for the NASA, including the Mercury spacecraft. He stated that policy would be to paint UNITED STATES in bold block form..

1959 March 27 - . 04:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 March 28 - .
  • Mercury escape system changes - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Escape Tower.

    Space Task Group officials were involved in an investigation as to whether the escape system should be changed. In the original proposal, McDonnell's plan was to use eight small rockets housed in a fin adapter, but this plan was set aside for a NASA developed plan in which a single-motor tripod would be used. Later, during a test of the escape system, the escape rockets appeared to fire properly but the spacecraft began to tumble after launch. This tumbling action caused concern, and Space Task Group engineers felt that the tower-escape system might have to be discarded, and a 'second look' was taken at the McDonnell proposal. The engineers concluded, however, that there were too many problems involved and the single-motor tripod concept was retained and has been proven to be quite effective.


1959 March 29 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar VLAD. LV Family: Burya La-350. Launch Vehicle: Burya La-350.
  • Burya flight 10 - . Nation: Russia. Apogee: 15 km (9 mi).

    Cruise stage tanks 1 and 4 empty. The flight continued to T+25 minutes 20 seconds over a distance of 1,315 km. Booster stage operation and separation were normal, no vibrations were detected. The cruise stage ignited but the Air Sensor System (SVD) operated abnormally. As a result there was a reduction of velocity from that planned.


1959 March 30 - . LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Space Task Group personnel observe Jupiter launch vehicle firing. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    Space Task Group personnel visited the Atlantic Missile Range at the invitation of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency to observe a Jupiter launch vehicle firing and the procedures followed on the day preceding the firing. The group toured the blockhouse and received briefings on various recorders that might be used in the centralized control facility for Mercury-Redstone and Mercury-Jupiter flights.


1959 March 30 - . 15:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Solar extreme ultraviolet Spectrum Solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 201 km (124 mi).

1959 March 30 - . 16:45 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 238 km (147 mi).

1959 March 30 - . 22:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7. FAILURE: Failure.
  • GCh No. IZ-20 (III) test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1959 March 31 - .
  • Mercury abort methods. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Escape Tower.

    Range Safety personnel at the Atlantic Missile Range were briefed by Space Task Group personnel on the description of the Mercury spacecraft, how it would function during a normal flight on an Atlas launch vehicle, and suggest methods for initiation of an abort during different powered phases of a flight. Atlantic Missile Range personnel discussed their past experience, and work was started to draft a Project Mercury range safety plan.


1959 April - .
  • Mercury parachute design unsafe for operation. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Parachute.

    In the recovery landing system, the extended-skirt main parachute was found to be unsafe for operation at altitudes of 10,000 feet and was replaced by a 'ring-sail' parachute of similar size. This decision was made after a drop when the main parachute failed to open and assumed a 'squidding' condition. Although little damage was sustained by the spacecraft on water impact, parachute experts decided that the ring-sail configuration should be adopted, and the air drop spacecraft were fitted.


1959 April 1 - .
  • Two-man Mercury capsule proposed. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goett. Spacecraft Bus: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini.

    H. Kurt Strass of the Space Task Group (STG) at Langley Field, Virginia described some preliminary ideas of STG planners regarding a follow-on to Mercury: (1) an enlarged Mercury capsule to place two men in orbit for three days; (2) a two-man Mercury capsule and a large cylindrical structure to support a two-week mission. (In its 1960 budget, NASA had requested $2 million to study methods of constructing a manned orbiting laboratory or converting the Mercury spacecraft into a two-man laboratory for extended space missions.) Additional Details: here....


1959 April 1 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A.
  • R-7A ICBM production approved. - . Nation: Russia. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On production of the R-7A missile at Plant No. 1001 at Krasnoyarsk-26 and establishment of a branch' was issued..

1959 April 1-8 - .
  • Goett Committee to study advanced manned space flight missions - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goett. Program: Apollo.

    John W. Crowley, Jr., NASA Director of Aeronautical and Space Research, notified the Ames, Lewis, and Langley Research Centers, the High Speed Flight Station (later Flight Research Center), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Office of Space Flight Development that a Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight would be formed. Harry J. Goett of Ames was to be Chairman of the Committee, which would assist NASA Headquarters in carrying out its responsibilities in long-range planning and basic research on manned space flight.


April 1959 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: DF-1.
  • Chinese/Russian missile talks - . Nation: China. Related Persons: Tsien. A Chinese delegation goes to Russia to discuss delivery of more tooling and machine tools for missile production..

1959 April - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E.
  • Scheduled design complete (95%) for Atlas E-series missiles - . Nation: USA.

1959 April 2 - .
  • Seven astronauts selected for Mercury project. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Carpenter, Cooper, Glenn, Grissom, Schirra, Shepard, Slayton. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Seven astronauts were selected for Project Mercury after a series of the most rigorous physical and mental tests ever given to U.S. test pilots. Chosen from a field of 110 candidates, the finalists were all qualified test pilots: Capts. Leroy G. Cooper, Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, and Donald K. Slayton, (USAF); Lt. Malcolm S. Carpenter, Lt. Comdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Lt. Comdr. Watler M. Schirra, Jr. (USN); and Lt. Col. John H. Glenn (USMC).


1959 April 2-5 - .
  • Advanced manned space program to follow Project Mercury - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    The advanced manned space program to follow Project Mercury was discussed at a NASA Staff Conference held in Williamsburg, Va. Three reasons for such a program were suggested:

    1. Preliminary step to development of spacecraft for manned interplanetary exploration.
    2. Extended duration work in the space environment.
    3. Support of the military space mission.
    Among areas requiring study were the cost of an equatorial launch site, adequacy of tracking stations and DOD-NASA coordination of tracking systems, and the need for NASA's own propulsion test stands and facilities.

1959 April 2 - .
  • Bidders briefing for Project Mercury worldwide tracking range - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    A preliminary briefing was conducted for prospective bidders on construction of the worldwide tracking range for Project Mercury. This meeting was attended by representatives from 20 companies. At this time the preliminary plan called for an orbital mission tracking network of 14 sites. Contacts had not been made with the governments of any of the proposed locations with the exception of Bermuda. It was planned that all the sites would have facilities for telemetry, voice communications with the pilot, and teletype (wire or radio) communications with centers in the United States for primary tracking. The tracking sites would provide the control center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, with trajectory predictions; landing-area predictions; and vehicle, systems, and pilot conditions.


1959 April 2-16 - . LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe.
  • Project Mercury animal payload program. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. NASA and the military services conducted meetings to draft final plans for the Project Mercury animal payload program. The animal program was planned to cover nine flights, involving Little Joe, Redstone, Jupiter, and Atlas launch vehicles..

1959 April 2 - .
  • NASA Astronaut Training Group 1 selected. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Carpenter, Cooper, Glenn, Grissom, Schirra, Shepard, Slayton.

    The group was selected to provide six pilots for the single-crew Mercury manned spacecraft. Originally a wide pool of candidates was going to be considered, but in December 1958 President Eisenhower ruled that military test pilots would form the candidate pool.. Qualifications: Qualified jet pilot with minimum 1,500 flight-hours/10 years experience, graduate of test pilot school, bachelor's degree or equivalent, under 40 years old, under 180 cm height, excellent physical condition.. Screening of military service records showed 110 military officers that met these criteria. These 110 were to be called in three groups for briefings on the Mercury program. Of the first two groups of 35 called, 56 volunteered for further physical and psychiatric tests. This provided enough candidates and the third group was never even called for a briefing or asked if they would like to volunteer. Of the 56 tested, seven were finally selected (no objective way was found to reduce the seven finalists to six).

    Of the seven astronauts, all eventually flew in space. Grounded due to a heart murmur, Slayton had to wait 16 years for his flight aboard the last Apollo mission. Glenn left for a career in politics after becoming the first American to orbit the earth, but returned to space aboard a shuttle over 36 years later in a NASA publicity stunt. Schirra was the only astronaut to fly aboard Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft. Shepard was the only one to reach the lunar surface (after being grounded for a medical condition during the Gemini program). Grissom would die in the Apollo 204 ground fire.


1959 April 3 - . 17:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC15. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan I.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1959 April 4 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral AMR DZ. Launch Pad: 29.0 N x 79.0 W. Launch Platform: B-47. LV Family: Bold Orion. Launch Vehicle: Bold Orion.
  • Interceptor mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 April 4 - . 00:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

    Fired from AMR at 1934 hours EST. The primary mission of impacting a nose cone in a pre-calculated target area (MILS Network) was successfully accomplished with an impact of 0.8 nm under end 5.0 nm to the left of the 1,302 nm range. The lateral miss was believed to have been caused by a drifting gyro.


1959 April 6 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC1. Launch Pad: LC1/2?. LV Family: Snark. Launch Vehicle: Snark.
  • Operational test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1959 April 7 - . LV Family: RS. Launch Vehicle: RS.
  • NM-1 first flight - . Nation: Russia. A subsonic aerodynamic test vehicle of the RSR trisonic missile, the NM-1 was first flown oby test p[ilot Amert-Khan Sultan..

1959 April 7 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5M.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 April 7 - . 14:46 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 317 km (196 mi).

1959 April 8 - . 06:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able II.
  • RVX-1 Reentry test / particles mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,230 km (760 mi).

    A Thor/Able reentry test vehicle launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, completed a successful flight down the Atlantic Missile Range. The reentry body of the Thor/Able was recovered at the far end of the range in the South Atlantic. This was the first recovery of an ablative nose cone following an ICBM-range flight.


1959 April 9-10 - .
  • Escape configurations for Mercury spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Escape Tower.

    Investigations of two escape configurations for Mercury spacecraft were conducted in a 16-foot transonic circuit at the Arnold Engineering Development Center, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for determination of static stability and drag characteristics of the configurations.


1959 April 9 - .
  • First group of US astronauts announced - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Glennan. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. At a press conference in Washington, D.C., NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan announced the seven pilots had been selected for the Mercury program..

1959 April 9 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5M.
  • Zvezda - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1959 April 10 - .
  • Mercury escape-motor canting-angle tests completed at Wallops Island. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Escape Tower. Escape-motor canting-angle tests were completed at Wallops Island. Tests were conducted in 5 degree increments between 10 degrees to 30 degrees, and visually it appeared stability was better at the larger angle..

1959 April 11 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 April 12 - .
  • Mercury impact tests - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Tests were in progress at Langley in which an aluminium honeycomb structure was used partially to absorb the spacecraft impact load. Robert R. Gilruth, Project Mercury Director, had stated his belief of this requirement on January 16, 1959..

1959 April 12 - .
  • Space Task Group conducted the second full-scale Mercury beach abort test on Wallops Island. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Parachute.

    A deliberate thrust misalignment of 1 inch was programed into the escape combination. Lift-off was effected cleanly, and a slow pitch started during the burning of the escape rocket motor. The tower separated as scheduled and the drogue and main parachutes deployed as planned. The test was fully successful.


1959 April 13 - .
  • Mercury small-scale escape-tower combinations launched - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Parachute.

    Two small-scale spacecraft escape-tower combinations were launched successfully at Wallops Island. On the next day a full-scale spacecraft escape system was launched. The complete sequence of events - escape system firing, escape tower jettisoning, parachute deployment, landing, and helicopter recovery - was satisfactory.


1959 April 13 - . 21:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A.
  • Discoverer 2 - . Payload: KH-1 prototype / Agena A 1022. Mass: 743 kg (1,638 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-04-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 14 . COSPAR: 1959-Gamma-1. Apogee: 346 km (214 mi). Perigee: 239 km (148 mi). Inclination: 89.9000 deg. Period: 90.40 min.

    An Air Force Thor/Agena A booster vehicle lifted Discoverer II into orbit from Vandenberg AFB. Discoverer II became the world's first satellite to be stabilized in orbit in all three axes, to be maneuvered on command from earth, to separate a reentry vehicle on command, and to send its reentry vehicle back to earth. The capsule ejector system malfunctioned, causing the capsule to impact near Spitsbergen on 14 April rather than near Hawaii as planned. KH-1 prototype; tested capsule recovery techniques; did not carry camera; capsule recovery failed. Because of a timing error, the US believed that the capsule landed somewhere on the island of Spitsbergen, north of Norway, instead of landing in the recovery zone near Hawaii. The capsule was never found; and CIA officials suspect it may have been snatched by the Soviets. The search for this capsule formed the basis of the book and film 'Ice Station Zebra'.

    In the winter of 1960/1961, a US Discovery spy satellite capsule was found by loggers near Kalinin, 200 km north of Moscow. The loggers cracked it open with an axe. Sergei Khrushchev believed this to be the Discoverer 2 capsule. What was left was examined by Soviet engineers but didnít reveal much information - it was a polished aluminium sphere, 30 cm in diameter, gilded on the exterior. Some said it was found as early as the winter of 1959.


1959 April 14 - .
  • Birth of Martin Babiak - . Nation: Slovakia. Related Persons: Babiak. Slovak pilot cosmonaut, 1998-1999. As of January 2001 Babiak was a Colonel of the Slovak Air Force, studying at the Air War College in Alabama, USA..

1959 April 14 - . 02:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18A. Launch Pad: LC18A. LV Family: Vanguard. Launch Vehicle: Vanguard. FAILURE: Stage 2 damaged at separation.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Vanguard 3A - . Payload: Magnetometer satellite. Mass: 10 kg (22 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Vanguard. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Vanguard 3. Spacecraft: Vanguard 3. Decay Date: 1959-04-13 . Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).
  • 30-inch Sphere - . Payload: Air density satellite. Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Program: Vanguard. Spacecraft Bus: Vanguard 3. Spacecraft: Vanguard 3. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 April 14 - . 21:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

    The first Atlas D model flight test missile (3D) had to be destroyed 36 seconds into flight due to a severe engine malfunction and explosions. In addition to other changes, the D series replaced the MA-1 engine package with the Rocketdyne MA-2. The booster engines in the MA-2 produced 309,000 pounds of thrust versus 300,000 pounds for the MA-1. Sustainer engine thrust remained 57,000 pounds. With verniers, total thrust for the MA-2 was 368,000 pounds compared to 357,000 for the MA-1 engine package.


1959 April 15 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn A-1.
  • Use of Titan for Saturn upper stages - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    In response to a request by the DOD-NASA) Saturn Ad Hoc Committee, the Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) sent a supplement to the "Saturn System Study" to the Advanced Research Projects Agency ARPA describing the use of Titan for Saturn upper stages. Additional Details: here....


1959 April 16 - .
  • TF-102B and T-33 aircraft for Project Mercury astronauts. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. NASA requested that the Air Force furnish two TF-102B and two T-33 aircraft to be used by the Project Mercury astronauts. One of the requirements in the astronaut training program was to maintain proficiency in high performance aircraft..

1959 April 16 - .
  • Birth of Michael Reed Barratt - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Barratt. American physician mission specialist astronaut, 2000-on..

1959 April 16 - . 20:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LE-8. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • IWST test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi). The first Thor IRBM to be fired by a Royal Air Force (RAF) crew was launched from Vandenberg AFB. Integrated Weapon System Training 1. First Thor IRBM launched by British crew at Vandenberg AFB..

1959 April 17 - . 05:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Tonopah. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Deacon Arrow II.
  • RW-125 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Sandia. Apogee: 82 km (50 mi).

1959 April 19 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar VLAD. LV Family: Burya La-350. Launch Vehicle: Burya La-350.
  • Burya flight 11 - . Nation: Russia. Apogee: 17 km (10 mi). Launched after prior 20 Februry flight attempt. The suspect booster was replaced. Successful flight lasting T+33.5 minutes, achieving a range of 1,766 km and a speed of Mach 3.15 at 17.0 km altitude..

1959 April 20 - .
  • Canada-NASA sounding rocket agreement. - . Nation: Canada. NASA announced acceptance of proposals by the Canadian Defense Research Telecommunications Establishment for continuing joint rocket and satellite ionospheric experiments of a nonmilitary nature..

1959 April 20 - . 15:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris AX.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1959 April 21 - . 01:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 235 km (146 mi).

1959 April 22 - .
  • Tower configuration best escape system for the Mercury spacecraft. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Escape Tower. In a meeting at Langley, NASA officials concluded that the tower configuration was the best escape system for the Mercury spacecraft and development would proceed using this concept. However, limited studies of alternate configurations would continue..

1959 April 23 - . Launch Site: Grand Turk Island. Launch Complex: Grand Turk Island DZ. Launch Platform: B-52. LV Family: Navaho. Launch Vehicle: Hound Dog.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: Navaho. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi). First Hound Dog test launch..

1959 April 23 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11M.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: UNRV. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1959 April 23 - . 05:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi). Fourth recovery of a data capsule at AMR, USAF Thor 1,500-mile accuracy test flight..

1959 April 24 - .
  • All three military services studying a base on the moon - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schriever. Spacecraft: Horizon Lunar Outpost, Lunex, Navy SLV, , Man-In-Space-Soonest.

    Testifying before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Maj. Gen. Bernard A. Schriever, Commander of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division, stated that all three military services should be studying the possibility of a base on the moon. Up to that point, he felt, all such studies had been "in the blue thinking."


1959 April 24 - .
  • Birth of Yvonne Darlene Cagle - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cagle. African-American physician mission specialist astronaut, 1996-on..

1959 April 24 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11M.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: UNRV. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1959 April 25 - . 05:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 April 27 - .
  • Mercury search and rescue procedures developed. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Meeting of DOD working group on Project Mercury search and recovery operations was held at Patrick Air Force Base, with major emphasis placed on the first two ballistic Atlas shots, and command relationships..

1959 April 27 - .
  • Project Mercury astronauts reported for duty - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    The seven Project Mercury astronauts reported for duty. A tentative schedule of Mercury astronaut activities for the first months of training was issued. Actual training began the next day. Within 3 months the astronauts were acquainted with the various facets of the Mercury program. The first training week was as follows: Monday, April 27, check in; April 28, general briefing; April 29, spacecraft configuration and escape methods; April 30, support and restraint; May 1, operational concepts and procedures. These lectures were presented by specialists in the particular field of study. Besides the above, unscheduled activities involved 3 hours flying time and 4 hours of athletics.


1959 April 27 - .
  • Project Mercury was accorded the DX priority procurement rating. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

1959 April 27 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC10. LV Family: Sergeant. Launch Vehicle: Draco. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 April 28 - . LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta A.
  • Delta launch vehicle contract. - . Nation: USA. NASA announced the signing of a $24 million contract with Douglas Aircraft Co., Inc., for a three-stage Thor-Vanguard launching rocket called Delta..

1959 April 28 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: UNRV. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1959 April 28 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: UNRV. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1959 April 29 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 April 29 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11M.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: UNRV. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1959 May 1 - .
  • Goddard Space Flight Center established. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goddard, Goett.

    NASA's Administrator announced the naming of Goddard Space Flight Center under construction near Greenbelt, Md., in commemoration of Robert H. Goddard, American pioneer in rocket research. Dr. Harry J. Goett was appointed Director in September. STG was transferred to the authority of the newly formed Goddard Space Flight Center but remained based at Langley Field, Va.


1959 May 1 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Unmanned Lunar Soft Landing Vehicle - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Surveyor. Spacecraft: Surveyor. The Army Ordnance Missile Command submitted to NASA a report entitled "Preliminary Study of an Unmanned Lunar Soft Landing Vehicle," recommending the use of the Saturn booster..

1959 May 1 - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. LV Family: Long Tom. Launch Vehicle: Long Tom.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 May 1 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Terrier ASROC Cajun. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 May 2 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Stromboli. Launch Vehicle: OPd-56-39-22D.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1959 May 3 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • First H-1 engine for the Saturn delivered - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    The first Rocketdyne H-1 engine for the Saturn arrived at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA ). The H-1 engine was installed in the ABMA test stand on May 7, first test-fired on May 21, and fired for 80 seconds on May 29. The first long-duration firing - 151.03 seconds - was on June 2.


1959 May 4 - .
  • Birth of Maurizio Cheli - . Nation: Italy. Related Persons: Cheli. Italian test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-75. Was married to astronaut Marianne Merchez..

1959 May 4 - . 18:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC15. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan I.
  • Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Successful dummy second stage separation..

1959 May 5 - . 01:45 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee AJ10-34.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 132 km (82 mi).

1959 May 6 - .
  • Jastrow Committee on lunar exploration created. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. NASA created a committee to study problems of long-range lunar exploration to be headed by Dr. Robert Jastrow..

1959 May 6 - . LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe.
  • Pigs not to fly in space in Project Mercury - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Pigs were eliminated as Little Joe flight test subjects when studies disclosed that they could not survive long periods of time on their backs. However, McDonnell did use a pig, 'Gentle Bess,' to test the impact crushable support, and the test was successful.


1959 May 7 - .
  • USAF System Requirement 201 (Dyna-Soar) - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft Bus: Dynasoar. Spacecraft: Dynasoar.

    ARDC headquarters issued System Requirement 201, declaring the purpose of the Dyna-Soar vehicle was to determine the military potential of a boost-glide weapon system and provide research data on flight characteristics up to and including global flight. The Air Force disagreed with the position of the Secretary of Defence's office that Dynasoar be limited to suborbital research flights.


1959 May 7 - .
  • Birth of Dr Tamara Elizabeth 'Tammy' Jernigan - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Jernigan. American astronomer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-40, STS-52, STS-67, STS-80, STS-96. Astronomer. Was married to astronaut Jeff Wisoff..

1959 May 7 - . 01:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test / ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

    Fired from AMR at 2047 hours EST. All primary missions were essentially successful, although the impact was 69 nm short and 4.9 nm to the right of the 1,302 nm predicted impact point. This undershoot was due to thrust controller deviation which commanded the exceedingly high thrust level during the main power flight pre-selected flight path. Cut-off occurred at 144 seconds of flight.


1959 May 8 - . 19:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris AX.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1959 May 9 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Vega.
  • High-resolution photographs of the moon using Vega rocket - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Rosen, Milton. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Lunar Orbiter. Spacecraft: Lunar Orbiter.

    Milton W. Rosen of NASA Headquarters proposed a plan for obtaining high-resolution photographs of the moon. A three-stage Vega would place the payload within a 500-mile diameter circle on the lunar surface. A stabilized retrorocket fired at 500 miles above the moon would slow the instrument package sufficiently to permit 20 photographs to be transmitted at a rate of one picture per minute. Additional Details: here....


1959 May 9 - . 18:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7. FAILURE: Failure.
  • GCh No. 17 (III) test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). R-7 development test flight. (GCh No. 17 (III)).

1959 May 10 - . LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5M.
  • First extended field deployment of a nuclear Soviet IRBM - . Nation: Russia.

    The first extended field deployment of the R-5M from a field location was undertaken during Army exercises at Simferopol. This was the first field deployment with nuclear weapons in Soviet history and verified the ability of the ballistic missile systems to operate in an integrated manner with the ground forces. The R-5M was formally accepted into military service in 1960. The missile continued in service until 1968.


1959 May 12 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC36. Launch Pad: ALA3. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. FAILURE: Known initial laying error of approximately 26 min..
  • Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 1,091 m..

1959 May 12 - . 11:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 145 km (90 mi).

1959 May 12 - . 17:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 May 13 - .
  • NII-88 Computer Centre created. - . Nation: Russia. Decree 'On creation of the Computer Centre of NII-88' was issued..

1959 May 13 - .
  • R-9 and R-16 development measures approved. - . Nation: Russia. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On start of dedicated work on the R-9 and R-16 ICBMs' was issued..

1959 May 14 - . 05:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC5. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test / ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

    Fired from AMR at 0052 hours EST to test impact accuracy. This shot may be considered as having hit the target. The impact was: .26 nm over and 0.4 nm to the left of the predicted point of impact. Accuracy of the MILS Network was approximated at plus-or-minus 0.25 nm. All primary and secondary missions were accomplished except for photographic recording of the second separation. This could not be accomplished because of the firing date.


1959 May 15 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan I. FAILURE: Exploded during static testing. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Titan 1 B-4 - . Nation: USA. Exploded during static testing..

1959 May 16 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven. Launch Complex: Cuxhaven.
  • First DRG Rocket Mail - . Nation: Germany.

    First launches from Arensch to Berensch of DRG (German Rocket Society) 'postcard rockets'. 100 would be launched in the next two years. Ten launches were made carrying 5000 postcards. The subsonic 5 kg rockets were 2 m long, produced 50 kgf thrust, were recovered under three or four parachutes, and had an average accuracy of 130 m over a 3 km range.


1959 May 17 - .
  • Scale model of Mercury for launch from Wallops Island to mach 18. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. The Langley Research Center was in the process of preparing a one-fourteenth scale model of the Mercury spacecraft for launch from Wallops Island on a five-stage rocket to a speed of mach 18..

1959 May 17 - .
  • PKA Spaceplane Draft Project - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korolev, Tsybin. Spacecraft Bus: VKA. Spacecraft: PKA.

    Tsybinís design was called the gliding spacecraft (PKA). The draft project, undertaken in co-operation with Korolevís OKB-1, was signed by Tsybin on 17 May 1959.The piloted PKA would be inserted into a 300 km altitude orbit by a Vostok launch vehicle. After 24 to 27 hours of flight the spacecraft would brake from orbit, gliding through the dense layers of the earthís atmosphere. At the beginning of the descent, in the zone of most intense heating, the spacecraft would take advantage of a hull of original shape (called ĎLapotokí by Korolev after the Russian wooden shoes that it resembled). After braking to 500 to 600 m/s at an altitude of 20 km, the PKA would glide to a runway landing on deployable wings, which would move to a horizontal position from a stowed vertical position over the back of the spacecraft. Control of the PKA in flight was by rocket jets or aerodynamic surfaces, depending on the phase of flight.


1959 May 18 - . 23:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris AX. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1959 May 19 - . 04:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

1959 May 21 - .
  • Specifications for Tracking and Ground Instrumentation System for Project Mercury - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Langley Specification Number S-45, entitled 'Specifications for Tracking and Ground Instrumentation System for Project Mercury,' was issued. Proposals were received from seven contractor teams by June 22, 1959, and technical evaluations were started..

1959 May 21 - . 06:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able II.
  • RVX-1 Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 May 22 - .
  • Production of Vostok and Zenit-2 authorised. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Vostok, Zenit satellite family, Zenit-2 satellite, Zenit-4.

    Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 569-264 'On work on a reconnaissance satellite and piloted spaceship' was issued. Due to a bitter fight with the military over the nature and priority of the manned spacecraft and photo-reconnaissance space programs, the final decree for the Vostok manned spacecraft was delayed until seven months after drawing release began. This authorised production of a single design that could be used either as a manned spacecraft or as a military reconnaissance satellite. These were the Zenit-2 and Zenit-4 spacecraft based on the Vostok design. This marked the end of the original Zenit configuration. The military had to develop the recovery forces and techniques for both spacecraft, including appropriate aircraft, helicopters, and handling equipment. At that time it was felt that there was a 60% chance on each launch of an abort requiring rescue operations for the cosmonaut.


1959 May 22 - .
  • The Project Mercury balloon flight test program was canceled. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Parachute.

    The Space Task Group oficials determined that the spacecraft could be tested environmentally in the Lewis Research Center's altitude wind tunnel. This included correct temperature and altitude simulations to 80,000 feet. The pilot could exercise the attitude control system and retrorockets could be fired in the tunnel. Because an active contract did exist with the Air Force, it was decided the two balloon drop tests with unmanned boiler-plate spacecraft would be accomplished.


1959 May 22 - .
  • Vostok / Zenit-3 decree issued. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Vostok, Zenit satellite family, Zenit-2 satellite, Zenit-4.

    Due to a bitter fight with the military over the nature and priority of the manned spacecraft and photo-reconnaissance space programs, the final decree for the Vostok manned spacecraft was delayed until seven months after drawing release began. This authorised production of a single design that could be used either as a manned spacecraft or as a military reconnaissance satellite. These were the Zenit-2 and Zenit-4 spacecraft based on the Vostok design. This marked the end of the original Zenit configuration.


1959 May 23 - . 02:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 May 25 - .
  • Mercury astronaut centrifuge training programs - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    A meeting was held at Johnsville, Pennsylvania, to consider astronaut training programs on the centrifuge. During this meeting, Space Task Group personnel reviewed a draft memorandum prepared by the Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory concerning the methods they felt should be used. Also, possible centrifuge training periods for the astronauts were discussed, and tentative dates were set for August 1959 and January 1960.


1959 May 25-26 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • National booster program, Dyna-Soar, and Mercury discussed - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Faget, Low, George. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    The national booster program, Dyna-Soar, and Project Mercury were discussed by the Research Steering Committee. Members also presented reviews of Center programs related to manned space flight. Maxime A. Faget of STG endorsed lunar exploration as the present goal of the Committee although recognizing the end objective as manned interplanetary travel. George M. Low of NASA Headquarters recommended that the Committee:

    • Adopt the lunar landing mission as its long-range objective.
    • Investigate vehicle staging so that Saturn could be used for manned lunar landings without complete reliance on Nova.
    • Make a study of whether parachute or airport landing techniques should be emphasized.
    • Consider nuclear rocket propulsion possibilities for space flight.
    • Attach importance to research on auxiliary power plants such as hydrogen-oxygen systems.

1959 May 25-26 - .
  • Tentative manned space flight priorities - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Tentative manned space flight priorities were established by the Research Steering Committee: Project Mercury, ballistic probes, environmental satellite, maneuverable manned satellite, manned space flight laboratory, lunar reconnaissance satellite, lunar landing, Mars Venus reconnaissance, and Mars-Venus landing. The Committee agreed that each NASA Center should study a manned lunar landing and return mission, the study to include the type of propulsion, vehicle configuration, structure, anti guidance requirements. Such a mission was an end objective; it did not have to be supported on the basis that it would lead to a more useful end. It would also focus attention at the Centers on the problems of true space flight.


1959 May 26 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • First H-1 engine for Saturn I fired. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. ABMA static fired a single H-1 Saturn engine at Redstone Arsenal, Ala..

1959 May 27 - .
  • STG staff discusses the possibility of an advanced manned spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Chamberlin, Faget, Gilruth, Low, George. Program: Apollo.

    Director Robert R. Gilruth met with members of his STG staff (Paul E. Purser, Charles J. Donlan, James A. Chamberlin, Raymond L. Zavasky, W. Kemble Johnson, Charles W. Mathews, Maxime A. Faget, and Charles H. Zimmeman) and George M. Low from NASA Headquarters to discuss the possibility of an advanced manned spacecraft.


1959 May 27 - . 04:51 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 169 km (105 mi).

1959 May 27 - . 19:55 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 177 km (109 mi).

1959 May 28 - .
  • A quick-release, side exit hatch was designed for the Mercury spacecraft. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. The design consisted of a continuous double explosive train to assure that all bolts were actually broken upon activation of the device..

1959 May 28 - . LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe.
  • First two Mercury Little Joe booster airframes delivered - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    North American Aviation delivered the first two Little Joe booster airframes, and noted that the four remaining were on fabrication schedule. The planned program was moving smoothly, for rocket motors to be used in the first flight were available at Wallops Station, Virginia, the test flight launching site. In addition, procurement of the test spacecraft incorporating Mercury flight items was on schedule, and the first spacecraft had been instrumented by Space Task Group personnel. Work was also in progress on other test spacecraft.


1959 May 28 - . 07:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Bioflight 2 Test/Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 483 km (300 mi).

    Able and Baker recovered after spaceflight. Fired from AMR at 0235 hours EST. The flight was successful with impact ranging from 0.1 to 0.4 nm from the target. The missile travelled a 1,302 nm range. The significant mission of the missile was to test the effects of cosmic radiation, increased gravity, and weightlessness on live passengers and biomedical experiments of material housed in the nose cone. On board were an American-born rhesus monkey, Able; a squirrel monkey, Baker; and the biomedical experiments -- yeast , corn, mustard seeds, fruit-fly larvae, human blood, mould spore, and fish eggs. Able and Baker were recovered unharmed within one and one-half hours after lift-off. This milestone marked the first recovery of living creatures from a flight through near space. The biomedical experiments were for NASA analysis. Telemetry data disclosed that the responses of the animals were normal for the conditions they were experiencing. During the boost phase, when the higher g-loads were being sustained, body temperature, respiration, pulse rate, and heartbeat rose but were well within tolerable limits. During the weightless period along the trajectory arc, the physiological responses of Able and Baker approached normal - so near, in fact, that according to telemetry data, Baker appeared either to doze or to become drowsy. Upon reentry, the responses rose again, but at landing the animals were nearing a settled physiological state. This flight was another milestone proving that life could be sustained in a space environment.


1959 May 30 - . 21:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7. FAILURE: Failure.
  • GCh No. IZ-22 (III) test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Landed far from aim point..

1959 June - .
  • Recoverable Interplanetary Space Probe study - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: RISP. Spacecraft: RISP. A report entitled "Recoverable Interplanetary Space Probe" was issued at the direction of C. Stark Draper, Director of the Instrumentation Laboratory, MIT. Several organizations had participated in this study, which began in 1957..

1959 June - .
  • Northrop to fabricate the landing system for Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Parachute.

    McDonnell selected Northrop as the subcontractor to design and fabricate the landing system for Project Mercury. Northrop technology for landing and recovery systems dated back to 1943 when that company developed the first parachute recovery system for pilotless aircraft. For Project Mercury, Northrop developed the 63-foot ring-sail main parachute.


1959 June 1 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan.
  • Dyna-Soar contractors Boeing and Martin selected. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft Bus: Dynasoar. Spacecraft: Dynasoar.

    The Dyna-Soar source selection board completed its evaluation of the proposals of the Boeing Airplane Company and the Martin Company. The board recommended the development of the Boeing glider but also favored the employment of the orbtal Titan C booster offered by Martin.


1959 June - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Atlas 2D blows up. - . Nation: USA. Missile 2D blows up on Sycamore stand S-2, after a total of 1486 seconds running time.

1959 June 1 - .
  • Death of Mirya Gromova. Reported killed in a test of a winged rocket-powered aircraft in 1959. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Gromova. Russian phantom cosmonaut. Soviet test pilot said to have flown a 'space airplane' into oblivion 1959.12. No evidence ever surfaced in post-Glasnost Russia to back up the claim..

1959 June 1 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-13. Launch Vehicle: R-13.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1959 June 2 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 June 3 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Construction begins of the first Saturn launch complex - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. Construction of the first Saturn launch area, Complex 34, began at Cape Canaveral, FIa..

1959 June 3 - . 20:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. FAILURE: No telemetry after Agena ignition.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 3 - . Payload: KH-1 prototype / Agena A 1018. Mass: 753 kg (1,660 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-06-03 . KH-1 prototype; did not carry camera; film capsule recovery failed..
  • SRV - . Mass: 779 kg (1,717 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1.

1959 June 4 - .
  • OKB Filial 2 created. - . Nation: Russia. Decree 191 'On creation of OKB-1 Branch No. 2 at Krasnoyarsk-26 GKOT' was issued..

1959 June 4 - .
  • Post-Mercury program using maneuverable Mercury spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. At an STG staff meeting, Director Robert R. Gilruth suggested that study should be made of a post-Mercury program in which maneuverable Mercury spacecraft would make land landings in limited areas..

1959 June 4 - .
  • Mercury follow-on program using maneuverable Mercury capsules. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury Mark I. At a staff meeting, Space Task Group Director Robert R. Gilruth suggested studying a Mercury follow-on program using maneuverable Mercury capsules for land landings in predetermined areas. .

1959 June 4 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral AMR DZ. Launch Pad: 29.0 N x 79.0 W. Launch Platform: B-58. LV Family: High Virgo. Launch Vehicle: High Virgo.
  • High Virgo satellite interceptor mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 51 km (31 mi).

1959 June 5 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Saturn I launch complex construction starts. - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

1959 June 5 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Flight instrumentation necessary to support the Mercury-Atlas program. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    Space Technology Laboratories and Convair completed an analysis of flight instrumentation necessary to support the Mercury-Atlas program. The primary objective of the study was to select a light-weight telemetry system. A system weighing 270 pounds was recommended, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration concurred with the proposal.


1959 June 5 - . 04:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer test vehicle. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1959 June 6 - . LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Juno II.
  • Jupiter biological test results. - . Nation: USA. Army announced that sea urchin eggs fertilized before Jupiter nose cone flight continued to grow normally..

1959 June 6 - . 17:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF.

1959 June 8 - .
  • Project Horizon report conceived years using a booster's spent stage as a space station's basic structure. - . Nation: USA. Program: Horizon. Spacecraft Bus: Horizon Station. Spacecraft: Horizon Station.

    In a Project Horizon report, Wernher von Braun, then with the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, advanced a theory that he had conceived years earlier for using a booster's spent stage as a space station's basic structure. This later evolved into the 'wet stage' concept for the Skylab Program.


1959 June 8 - .
  • Mercury Big Joe spacecraft for the reentry test was delivered to Cape Canaveral. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

1959 June 8 - .
  • Project Horizon Phase I report - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Horizon.

    The Project Horizon Phase I report was completed. In it, a U.S. manned landing on the moon in 1965 was proposed, to be followed in 1966 by an operational lunar outpost. Expenditures would average $667 million a year from Fiscal Year 1960 through Fiscal Year 1968. The guiding philosophy of the report was one of "enlightened conservatism of technical approach." On July 28 the report was presented to the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff. Additional Details: here....


1959 June 8 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral AMR DZ. Launch Pad: 29.0 N x 79.0 W. Launch Platform: B-47. LV Family: Bold Orion. Launch Vehicle: Bold Orion.
  • Interceptor mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 June 8 - . 16:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Rosamund Dry Lake DZ. Launch Pad: Edwards RW04/22. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15.
  • X-15A test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, USAF. Apogee: 11 km (6 mi). First flight for X-15 # 1. Planned glide flight. Maximum Speed - 840 kph. Maximum Altitude - 11445 m. Air dropped in Rosamund Dry Lake DZ..

1959 June 9 - . 20:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7. FAILURE: Failure.
  • GCh No. IZ-23 (III) test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Landed far from aim point..

1959 June 10 - . 16:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi).

1959 June 11 - . 06:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able II.
  • RVX-1 Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 June 11 - . 13:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. LV Family: Black Knight. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1959 June 12 - .
  • Source Selection Panel to evaluate Mercury tracking proposals. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    A Source Selection Panel and a Technical Evaluation Board were organized and manned at the Langley Research Center to evaluate Mercury tracking and ground instrument action proposals. Technical evaluation of proposals was started on June 23, 1959, with seven companies under consideration. These were - in addition to Western Electric - Aeronutronics, Radio Corporation of America, Pan American Airways, Brown and Root, Chrysler Corporation, and Philco Corporation.


1959 June 14-27 - .
  • Mercury spacecraft being designed to withstand 149 decibels. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    A visit was made to McDonnell and it was learned that the Mercury spacecraft was being designed structurally to withstand 149 decibels overall noise level. McDonnell, however, anticipated that the actual maximum level would not be above 128 decibels. Space Task Group personnel felt that even the 128 decibels were too high for pilot comfort, and extensive research toward the resolution of this matter was started.


1959 June 15 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 June 16 - . 21:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC10E. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A. FAILURE: Autopilot error.. Failed Stage: G.
  • IWST test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi). Integrated Weapon System Training Launch 2.

1959 June 17 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 June 18 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • NASA funded study of a lunar exploration program based on Saturn - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    NASA authorized $150,000 for Army Ordnance Missile Command studies of a lunar exploration program based on Saturn-boosted systems. To be included were circumlunar vehicles, unmanned and manned; close lunar orbiters; hard lunar impacts; and soft lunar landings with stationary or roving payloads.


1959 June 18 - .
  • Centrifuge program to investigate the role of a pilot in the launch of a multi-stage vehicle. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Armstrong. Program: Mercury.

    A centrifuge program was conducted at Johnsville, Pennsylvania, to investigate the role of a pilot in the launch of a multi-stage vehicle. Test subjects were required to perform boost-control tasks, while being subjected to the proper boost-control accelerations. The highest g-force experienced was 15, and none of the test subjects felt they reached the limit of their control capability. As a note of interest, one of the test subjects, Neil Armstrong, was later selected for the Gemini program in September 1962.


1959 June 18 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72. FAILURE: Inertial system failed at 153 seconds after launch. Vehicle destroyed by range safety.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Luna failure - inertial system failed at T+153 seconds - . Payload: E-1A s/n 5. Mass: 387 kg (853 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1A.

1959 June 19 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Platform: B-47. LV Family: Bold Orion. Launch Vehicle: Bold Orion.
  • Interceptor mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 June 20 - . LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: DF-2.
  • Decision to withhold R-12 and nuclear warhead drawing package from China over Sidewinder affair - . Nation: China. Related Persons: Khrushchev, Tsien. Spacecraft Bus: Project 581. Spacecraft: Project 581.

    The Soviet Central Committee advises China it will not provide prototype or drawings of atomic bombs as agreed previously. Khrushchev promised China that he would provide the drawing package for the R-12 IRBM as soon as testing was completed. However then came the affair of the Sidewinder. At the end of 1958 or early 1959 a complete missile fell into the hands of the Chinese. They promised to provide it to the Russians, but then dragged their feet. They were finally told in February 1959 that unless they provided the Sidewinder, they would not be given the R-12 package. The missile was finally delivered but it was found that the key crystal in the infrared homing sensor was missing. The Chinese had also been caught disassembling a P-15 cruise missile at a training facility in China. It had taken the Russian trainers two days to get it reassembled correctly. Therefore on June 20 1959 the decision was taken not to transfer the R-12 or the promised nuclear warhead design to China.

    The Soviets created a new design bureau to copy the Sidewinder. Fabrication of the crystal for the infrared sensor was the main obstacle. The initial production batches had a 99% rejection rate. A state commission was set up to get to the bottom of the problem, but couldnít find a solution. The main problem seemed to be low-quality ore provided by the mines.


1959 Summer - .
  • STG worked on advanced design concepts of earth orbital and lunar missions - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Members of STG - including H. Kurt Strass, Robert L. O'Neal, Lawrence W. Enderson, Jr., and David C. Grana - and Thomas E. Dolan of Chance Vought Corporation worked on advanced design concepts of earth orbital and lunar missions. The goal was a manned lunar landing within ten years, rather than an advanced Mercury program.


1959 June 21 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5V.
  • Solar x-ray mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).

1959 June 22 - .
  • Preliminary design of a two-man space laboratory. - . Nation: USA. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini, MOL.

    H. Kurt Strass of Space Task Group's Flight Systems Division (FSD) recommended the establishment of a committee to consider the preliminary design of a two-man space laboratory. Representatives from each of the specialist groups within FSD would work with a special projects group, the work to culminate in a set of design specifications for the two-man Mercury.


1959 June 22 - . 14:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee.
  • Solar infrared mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 110 km (60 mi).

1959 June 22 - . 20:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18A. Launch Pad: LC18A. LV Family: Vanguard. Launch Vehicle: Vanguard. FAILURE: Stage 2 propulsion malfunction.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Vanguard 3B - . Payload: Radiation Balance satellite. Mass: 10 kg (22 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Vanguard. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Vanguard 3. Spacecraft: Vanguard 3. Decay Date: 1959-06-22 . Apogee: 140 km (80 mi).

1959 June 24 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Eight Mercury Redstone launch vehicles final cost $20.1 million. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Against an original estimated cost of $15.5 million for eight Redstone launch vehicles in support of Project Mercury, the final negotiated figure was $20.1 million..

1959 June 24 - . 12:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 June 25-26 - .
  • Research Steering Committee briefed on technical studies - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Alfred J. Eggers, Jr., of the Ames Research Center told the members of the Research Steering Committee of studies on radiation belts, graze and orbit maneuvers on reentry, heat transfer, structural concepts and requirements, lift over drag considerations, and guidance systems which affected various aspects of the manned lunar mission. Eggers said that Ames had concentrated on a landing maneuver involving a reentry approach over one of the poles to lessen radiation exposure, a graze through the outer edge of the atmosphere to begin an earth orbit, and finally reentry and landing. Additional Details: here....


1959 June 25-26 - .
  • Steps toward a manned lunar landing - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Source Selection.

    At the second meeting of the Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight, held at the Ames Research Center, members presented reports on intermediate steps toward a manned lunar landing and return.

    Bruce T. Lundin of the Lewis Research Center reported to members on propulsion requirements for various modes of manned lunar landing missions, assuming a 10,000-pound spacecraft to be returned to earth. Lewis mission studies had shown that a launch into lunar orbit would require less energy than a direct approach and would be more desirable for guidance, landing reliability, etc. From a 500,000 foot orbit around the moon, the spacecraft would descend in free fall, applying a constant-thrust decelerating impulse at the last moment before landing. Research would be needed to develop the variable-thrust rocket engine to be used in the descent. With the use of liquid hydrogen, the launch weight of the lunar rocket and spacecraft would be 10 to 11 million pounds. Additional Details: here....


1959 June 25-26 - .
  • Projected manned space station - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goett, Low, George. Program: Apollo.

    A report on a projected manned space station was made to the Research Steering Committee by Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., of the Langley Research Center. In discussion, Chairman Harry J. Goett expressed his opinion that consideration of a space laboratory ought to be an integral and coordinated part of the planning for the lunar landing mission. George M. Low of NASA Headquarters warned that care should be exercised to assure that each step taken toward the goal of a lunar landing was significant, since the number of steps that could be funded was extremely limited.


1959 June 25-26 - .
  • Space stations second priority to a lunar landing mission. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goett.

    Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., of Langley Research Center, presented to the Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight a report on a projected manned space station. During subsequent discussion, Committee Chairman Harry J. Goett stated that considerations of space stations and orbiting laboratories should be an integral part of coordinated planning for a lunar landing mission. Additional Details: here....


1959 June 25-26 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Lunar mission studies under way at the Army - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Horizon. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. During the Research Steering Committee meeting, John H. Disher of NASA Headquarters discussed the lunar mission studies under way at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA).. Additional Details: here....

1959 June 25 - .
  • Mercury recovery airdrop test. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Navy surface vessels and aircraft were used in a recovery operation after an airdrop of a spacecraft off the coast from Jacksonville, Florida. The spacecraft was purposely dropped 40 miles away from the predicted impact point and 45 miles away from the nearest ship. Recovery was effected in 2 and one half hours.


1959 June 25-26 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Study and research areas for manned flight to and from the moon - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Members of the Research Steering Committee determined the study and research areas which would require emphasis for manned flight to and from the moon and for intermediate flight steps:. Additional Details: here....

1959 June 25 - . 22:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. FAILURE: Insufficient stage 2 velocity.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 4 - . Payload: KH-1 9001. Mass: 743 kg (1,638 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-06-25 . COSPAR: F590625A. KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance. Failed to achieve orbit..
  • SRV 102 - . Mass: 779 kg (1,717 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. COSPAR: F590625B.

1959 June 26 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 June 26 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Terrier ASROC Cajun.
  • Radar beacon test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 June 27 - . 13:08 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Fields mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 61 km (37 mi).

1959 June 28 - . LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe.
  • Ablation materials for the Mercury Little Joe flights. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Heat Shield.

    Between June 28 and July 11, 1959, 12 heat-transfer tests were made in the Preflight Jet Test facility at Wallops Island on several ablation materials being considered for use on the spacecraft afterbody (not heat shield) for the Little Joe flights. Test conditions simulated those of actual Little Joe trajectories. Of the materials used, triester polymer and thermolag demonstrated the capability to protect the spacecraft against expected heat loads.


1959 June 29 - . Launch Site: Aberporth. LV Family: Rook. Launch Vehicle: Rook. FAILURE: Failure.
1959 June 29 - . 11:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. LV Family: Black Knight. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1959 June 29 - . 15:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris AX.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1959 June 30 - . 02:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV Lofted Trajectory research and development mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1959 July 1 - .
  • Mercury astronaut MASTIF training. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Project Mercury astronauts completed disorientation flights on three-axis space-flight simulator, the MASTIF (Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility), at NASA Lewis Research Center..

1959 July - .
  • First automatic stabilization and control system for the Mercury spacecraft delivered - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. Minneapolis-Honeywell delivered the first automatic stabilization and control system for the Mercury spacecraft to McDonnell..

1959 July 1 - . LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Jupiter launch vehicles in Project Mercury canceled - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. The order for Jupiter launch vehicles in support of Project Mercury was canceled because the same or better data could be obtained from Atlas flights..

1959 July 1-2 - .
  • Mercury pressure suit compatibility evaluation. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mark IV Model 3 Type I. Spacecraft: Mercury Space Suit. A pressure suit compatibility evaluation in the Mercury spacecraft mock-up was performed in suits submitted by the David Clark Company, B. F. Goodrich Company, and International Latex Company. Four subjects participated in the tests..

1959 July - .
  • 1/14th-scale model of Mercury spacecraft tested at Mach 3.5. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    The Pilotless Aircraft Research Division of the Langley Research Center launched a 1/14th-scale model of the Mercury spacecraft at Wallops Island to a speed of Mach 3.5 and at an altitude of 40,000 feet. The model spacecraft went into a continuous tumble from separation to landing.


1959 July 1 - .
  • Kiwi-A first experimental nuclear rocket tested. - . Nation: USA. Program: NERVA. The first experimental reactor (Kiwi-A) in the nuclear space rocket program operated successfully at full temperature and duration at Jackass Flats, Nev..

Summer 1959 - . LV Family: R-16. Launch Vehicle: R-16.
  • Khrushchev tours Yuzhnoye facility and directs creation of Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN) - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Khrushchev, Nedelin, Yangel.

    Khrushchev tours Yangelís missile factory at Dnepropetrovsk. At this time Yangel was developing the R-16, equipped with an autonomous inertial navigation unit -- while Korolev was still using radio guidance. Leonid Smirnov was manager of the factory (he would later be made Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, reporting to Ustinov). The delegation included Rudnev, Kalmykov, Serbin, Nedelin and Podgorny. Yangel told the leaders to think of the R-16 as an R-12 stacked atop an R-14. In this way he was able to quickly develop an ICBM on the basis of existing rockets. He expected to have an R-16 test article ready for tests with the first ICBM silo by September 1959. Khrushchev was overjoyed and discussed his plans to create an entirely new branch of the service - the RVSN, Strategic Rocket Forces. The Soviet Union had no real equivalent to the US Strategic Air Command and the VVS Air Forces would not handle ballistic missiles correctly. He asked Nedelin to draw up a plan to create the new branch. There was no objection form the leadership or military chiefs. None of the military services wished to handle the missiles.


July 1959 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: DF-1.
  • Chinese/Russian missile talks - . Nation: China. Related Persons: Tsien. A second Chinese delegation goes to Russia to press for delivery of more tooling and machine tools for missile production..

1959 July 2 - .
  • Birth of Wendy Barrien Lawrence - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Lawrence. American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-67, STS-86, STS-91, STS-114. US Navy ocean engineer..

1959 July 2 - . 06:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: R-2A.
  • Ionosphere / aeronomy / biological mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 220 km (130 mi). Carried dogs Otvazhnaya and Snezhinka, rabbit Marfusha..

1959 July 3 - . LV Family: RT-2. Launch Vehicle: RT-1.
  • Development of solid propellant ICBM begun. - . Nation: Russia. State Committee for Defence Technology (GKOT) Decree 'On attaching of TsNII-58 for solid-propellant work to OKB-1' was issued..

1959 July 3 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan I. FAILURE: Exploded during static testing. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Titan 1 B-3 - . Nation: USA. Exploded during static testing..

1959 July 6 - .
  • Mercury spacecraft energetic particles research. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Faget. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    As a result of a discussion between Maxime A. Faget, Space Task Group, and John E. Naugle, Space Science Division, NASA Headquarters, it was concluded that there were several important scientific experiments in the field of energetic particles research that could be performed by placing packets of emulsion within the Mercury spacecraft. Work was started to determine a suitable packet location, along with other details associated with conducting such experiments.


1959 July 7 - . 11:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Honest John. Launch Vehicle: Javelin.
  • Test / particles mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSWC. Apogee: 1,045 km (649 mi). Four-stage Argo D4 rocket with an ARDC Javelin payload fired from Wallops Island to an altitude of 750 miles, first in a series of USAF-NASA launchings to measure natural radiation surrounding the earth..

1959 July 8 - . LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Juno II.
  • Jupiter deleted as Mercury launch vehicle. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. As developmental planning for Project Mercury evolved, NASA notified the Army that to reduce the variety of launching vehicles to Jupiter missile would not be used for Project Mercury tests..

1959 July 9 - .
  • Ion rocket tested. - . Nation: USA. NASA Lewis Research Center operated a research model of an ion rocket in a newly completed electric-rocket test facility designed for basic investigations into the problems associated with a reliable ion rocket with a minimum life of 1 year..

1959 July 9 - . Launch Site: Woomera. LV Family: Gosling-Lobster. Launch Vehicle: Gosling-Lobster.
  • Jaguar R&D - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1959 July 10 - . 01:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test / ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

    Fired from AMR at 2001 hours EST to test missile accuracy. All primary and secondary missions were successfully accomplished and impact was well within 1 nm of the pre-selected point, approximately 1,302 nm downrange -- a miss distance of only 0.48 nm short and 0.09 nm to the right.


1959 July 10 - . 04:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: R-2A.
  • Solar ultraviolet / biology mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 July 12 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Instrumentation to measure noise level during the Mercury Big Joe-Atlas launching. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    An agreement was made with the Air Force for Space Task Group to place microphone pickups on the skin of the Atlas launch vehicle as a part of the instrumentation to measure noise level during the Big Joe-Atlas launching. Distribution of the microphones was as follows: one inside the Mercury spacecraft, three externally about midway of the launch vehicle, and one on the Atlas skirt.


1959 July 13 - .
  • Spacecraft horizon scanner qualification tests were started. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

1959 July 14 - . 03:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: R-2A.
  • Ionosphere / aeronomy mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 203 km (126 mi).

1959 July 14 - . 17:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Solar x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 July 15 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A.
  • Samara Filial 1 takes over design responsibility for R-7 and its derivatives. - . Nation: Russia. Decree 'On formation of the Design Department of OKB-1 at the Progress Plant in Kuibyshev' was issued..

1959 July 16 - . 17:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC5. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Juno II. FAILURE: Control lost after 5.5 sec. Destroyed by range safety.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Explorer S-1 - . Payload: S-1. Mass: 41 kg (90 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft Bus: S-1. Spacecraft: S-1. Decay Date: 1959-07-16 .

1959 July 17 - .
  • Birth of Dr Janet Lynn Kavandi - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Kavandi. American chemist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-91, STS-99, STS-104. Chemist..

1959 July 17 - . 17:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1959 July 18 - . 18:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • GCh No. IZ-24 (III) test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). R-7 development test flight. (GCh No. IZ-24 (III)).

1959 July 20 - .
  • Western Electric Company selected for the Mercury tracking network. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    Negotiations for construction of the Mercury tracking network were started with the Western Electric Company and their subcontractors (Bendix Aviation, International Business Machines, Bell Telephone Laboratories, and Burns and Roe), and a letter contract was signed on July 30, 1959, for the entire range. This included radar tracking; telemetry receiving, recording, and display; communications to both the spacecraft and surface stations; and the computing and control facilities.


1959 July 20 - .
  • Mercury tracking station contractor selected. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. NASA selected Western Electric Co. to build worldwide network of tracking and ground instrument stations to be used in Project Mercury..

1959 July 20 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 July 21 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: R-2A.
  • Solar x-ray mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 105 km (65 mi).

1959 July 21 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Honest John. Launch Vehicle: Javelin. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSWC. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 July 21 - . 02:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Ionosphere / aeronomy / solar x-ray mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 105 km (65 mi).

1959 July 21 - . 05:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C.
  • Research and development / AFSWC-5 test / particles mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 900 km (550 mi).

    The first full-scale test of an ablation reentry vehicle (RVX-2) was conducted with the launch and successful flight of Atlas 8C. Following the 4,385 NM flight into the South Atlantic, the reentry vehicle was recovered. A full-scale USAF Atlas ICBM nose cone recovered for the first time after flight down the AMR.


1959 July 21 - . 07:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

1959 July 21 - . 14:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Ionosphere / aeronomy / solar x-ray mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 105 km (65 mi).

1959 July 21 - . 14:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee Hi.
  • Solar ultraviolet / x-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 197 km (122 mi).

1959 July 22 - .
  • Goodrich selected for the Mercury astronaut pressure suit - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mark IV Model 3 Type I. Spacecraft: Mercury Space Suit.

    The B. F. Goodrich Company was selected as the contractor to design and develop the Mercury astronaut pressure suit. Company technology in this field dated back to 1934, when it developed the first rubber stratosphere flying suit for attempts at setting altitude records.


1959 July 22 - .
  • Mercury boilerplate pad abort flight - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Escape Tower.

    A successful pad abort flight of a Mercury boilerplate spacecraft with a production version of the escape tower and rocket was made. The escape rocket motor was manufactured by Grand Central Rocket, and the flight was the first operational test of this component.


1959 July 22 - . 01:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Ionosphere / aeronomy mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 211 km (131 mi).

1959 July 22 - . 04:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26A. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. FAILURE: Control system malfunction during re-entry at 380 sec..
  • Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 684 m..

1959 July 23 - .
  • Maneuverable Recoverable Space Vehicle (MRSV) - . Nation: USA. Program: Horizon. Spacecraft Bus: MRSV. Spacecraft: MRSV.

    Advanced Research Projects Agency representatives visited Army Ordnance Missile Command to discuss studies of a Maneuverable Recoverable Space Vehicle (MRSV). The general purpose was to identify U.S. space needs before 1970 which might require vehicles of this type.


1959 July 24 - . 12:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi). USAF Thor data capsule recovered near Antigua which contained movie film showing nose cone separation..

1959 July 24 - . 16:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 227 km (141 mi).

1959 July 25 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 July 26 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 July 28 - . LV Family: Little Joe. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe.
  • Second beach abort test leading to the Mercury Little Joe test series. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Escape Tower.

    A boilerplate spacecraft, instrumented to measure sound pressure level and vibration, was launched in the second beach abort test leading to the Little Joe test series. The purpose of the instrumentation was to obtain measurement of the vibration and sound environment encountered on the capsule during the firing of the Grand Central abort rocket. Memo, Charles A. Hardesty to NASA Langley IRD files, subject: Sound Measurements on the Second Beach Abort Test on the Little Joe Capsule, Oct. 9, 1959.


1959 July 29 - . 04:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi). First Atlas successful D missile flight..

1959 July 30 - .
  • Contract to Western Electric for the Mercury tracking and ground instrumentation system. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Letter Contract NASA 1-430 was awarded to the Western Electric Company for construction of the Mercury tracking and ground instrumentation system..

1959 July 30 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • GCh (III) test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). First successful flight of series production model..

1959 July 31 - .
  • First animal couch for the Mercury program. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury ECS.

    Personnel from the Aeromedical Field Laboratory inspected the first animal couch fabricated by McDonnell to be used in the Mercury animal flight program. The objective of the animal program was to provide verification of successful space flight prior to manned missions; to aquire data on physical and mental demands which will be encountered by the astronauts during space flight; to provide dynamic test of technical procedures and training for support personnel in handling the aeromedical program for manned flight; and to evaluate spacecraft environmental control systems and bioinstrumentation under flight conditions.


1959 August 1 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Static firing of the first Saturn planned for early 1960 - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) directed the Army Ordnance Missile Command to proceed with the static firing of the first Saturn vehicle, the test booster SA-T, in early calendar year 1960 in accordance with the $70 million program and not to accelerate for a January 1960 firing. ARPA asked to be informed of the scheduled firing date.


1959 August 3 - . 21:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • IWST - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 August 4 - .
1959 August 5 - . 02:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26A. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. FAILURE: Pre-launch tanking error caused early cut-off by fuel depletion..
  • Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 2,707 m..

1959 August 6 - .
  • F-102 for Mercury astronaut flight proficiency - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Four F-102 aircraft were made available for use by the Mercury astronauts to maintain proficiency in high performance vehicles..

1959 August 6 - . 02:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 August 7 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Arcon. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 104 km (64 mi).

1959 August 7 - . 14:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able III.
  • Explorer 6 - . Payload: S-2. Mass: 64 kg (141 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft Bus: S-2. Spacecraft: S-2. Decay Date: 1961-06-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 15 . COSPAR: 1959-Delta-1. Apogee: 42,400 km (26,300 mi). Perigee: 245 km (152 mi). Inclination: 47.0000 deg. Period: 765.00 min. First Earth photo; radiation data..

1959 August 7 - . 17:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Solar x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi).

1959 August 11 - . 18:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 August 12 - .
  • NASA's future manned space program - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Parachute, CSM Source Selection.

    The STG New Projects Panel (proposed by H. Kurt Strass in June) held its first meeting to discuss NASA's future manned space program. Present were Strass, Chairman, Alan B. Kehlet, William S. Augerson, Jack Funk, and other STG members. Strass summarized the philosophy behind NASA's proposed objective of a manned lunar landing : maximum utilization of existing technology in a series of carefully chosen projects, each of which would provide a firm basis for the next step and be a significant advance in its own right. Additional Details: here....


1959 August 12 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Terrier ASROC Cajun. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Ultraviolet Scanner test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 August 13 - . 19:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A.
  • Discoverer 5 - . Payload: KH-1 9002 / Agena A 1029. Mass: 781 kg (1,721 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-09-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 18 . COSPAR: 1959-Epsilon-1. Apogee: 731 km (454 mi). Perigee: 214 km (132 mi). Inclination: 79.9000 deg. Period: 94.10 min. KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance; film capsule boosted into higher orbit, decayed 2/11/61. Mission failed. Power supply failure. No recovery..
  • Discoverer 5 Capsule - . Payload: KH-1 9002 Capsule. Mass: 779 kg (1,717 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1961-02-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 26 . COSPAR: 1959-Epsilon-2. Apogee: 1,700 km (1,000 mi). Perigee: 218 km (135 mi). Inclination: 78.9000 deg. Period: 104.30 min. KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance; film capsule boosted into higher orbit, decayed 2/11/61. Mission failed. Power supply failure. No recovery..

1959 August 13 - . 23:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • GCh No. IZ-25 (III) test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi).

1959 August 14 - .
  • Negotiations for the fabrication of six additional Mercury spacecraft. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. NASA Headquarters approved a Space Task Group proposal that negotiations be undertaken with McDonnell for the fabrication of six additional Mercury spacecraft..

1959 August 14 - . 09:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 August 14 - . 16:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC19. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan I. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

    Titan missile B-5, scheduled to be the first fully powered-flight test missile, was heavily damaged when a faulty release mechanism allowed an earlier-than-planned liftoff that resulted in engine shutdown and the missile's dropping back on the launch pad.


1959 August 14 - . 16:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Solar x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 237 km (147 mi).

1959 August 14 - . 19:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25B. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris AX.
  • SMS test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1959 August 14 - . 19:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC10W. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • IWST - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 August 15 - .
  • Mercury astronauts began their initial centrifuge training - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    The astronauts began their initial centrifuge training at the Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory. During the first part of the month Space Task Group personnel had installed and checked out Mercury spacecraft simulation equipment at the Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory in preparation for the astronaut centrifuge training program.


1959 August 15 - .
  • Birth of Scott Douglas 'Scooter' Altman - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Altman. American test pilot astronaut. Flew on STS-90, STS-106, STS-109, STS-125..

1959 August 15 - . 00:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Juno II. FAILURE: First stage shut down too early; no attitude control for upper stages.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Beacon 2 - . Mass: 5.00 kg (11.00 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Beacon 1. Spacecraft: Beacon 1. Decay Date: 1959-08-14 .

1959 August 17 - . 09:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 236 km (146 mi). NIKE-ASP sounding rocket provided geophysical information on wind activity between 80 and 300 km high was launched successfully from NASA Wallops Station..

1959 August 18 - .
  • First major new NASA project to be a second-generation reentry capsule - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Source Selection.

    At its second meeting, STG's New Projects Panel decided that the first major project to be investigated would be the second-generation reentry capsule. The Panel was presented a chart outlining the proposed sequence of events for manned lunar mission system analysis. The target date for a manned lunar landing was 1970.


1959 August 19 - .
  • Birth of Chris Austin Hadfield - . Nation: Canada. Related Persons: Hadfield. Canadian test pilot mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-74, STS-100..

1959 August 19 - . 00:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark.
1959 August 19 - . 19:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A.
  • Discoverer 6 - . Payload: KH-1 9003 / Agena A 1028. Mass: 783 kg (1,726 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-10-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 19 . COSPAR: 1959-Zeta-1. Apogee: 846 km (525 mi). Perigee: 207 km (128 mi). Inclination: 83.9000 deg. Period: 95.10 min. KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance; film capsule recovery failed. Mission failed. Retro rockets malfunctioned negating recovery..

1959 August 21 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Little Joe 1. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Mercury LJ-1 - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

    During the countdown of the first programed Little Joe launching (LJ-1 beach abort test) at Wallops Island, the escape rocket fired prematurely 31 minutes before the scheduled launch. The spacecraft rose to an altitude of 2,000 feet and landed about 2,000 feet from the launch site. Premature firing was caused by a faulty escape circuit.


1959 August 21 - . Launch Site: Woomera. LV Family: Gosling-Lobster. Launch Vehicle: Gosling-Lobster.
  • Jaguar R&D - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1959 August 22 - . 00:45 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 230 km (140 mi).

1959 August 22 - . 02:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 August 24 - . 15:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C.
  • Research and development / AFSWC-6 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,400 km (800 mi).

    The final Atlas Series C missile, 11C, was fired from Cape Canaveral. Three of the six Atlas C research and development test missiles were successful, while the other three were failures. Last successful Atlas C flight (11C); 9C exploded one month later during the Able static firing.


1959 August 24 - . 22:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 August 25 - .
  • Testing completed on Mercury drogue parachute effectiveness - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Parachute.

    Testing was completed to check the effectiveness of the drogue parachute as a stabilizing device. The drogue parachute was fully qualified for deployment at speeds up to Mach 1.5 and altitudes of up to 70,000 feet. Ordinarily, during the operational phase of Project Mercury the drogue parachute was deployed at 40,000 feet, so the component well met operational requirements.


1959 August 26 - .
  • Birth of Kathryn Patricia 'Kay' Hire - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Hire. American engineer mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-90, STS-130. US Navy aviator; first woman assigned to a combat aircrew..

1959 August 26 - . 17:35 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC38. LV Family: Spartan ABM. Launch Vehicle: Nike Zeus A. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 August 27 - . 01:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC5. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Short range research and development mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

    A short range (300 nm) IRBM, was fired from AMR at 2030 hours EST. The nose cone impacted 0.03 nm short and, 0.22 nm to the right, of the intended target. This was the first Jupiter missile to be programmed for a short range flight. All primary and secondary missions were accomplished.


1959 August 27 - . 12:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 August 27 - . 16:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral ETR. Launch Platform: EAG-154. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris AX.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1959 August 28 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Additional Atlas launch vehicles in support of Project Mercury. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury.

    NASA Headquarters authorized the Space Task Group to enter into negotiations with the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division for the procurement of additional Atlas launch vehicles in support of Project Mercury. The authorization was to be incorporated into Contract No. HS-36.


1959 August 28 - . 16:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Solar x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 214 km (132 mi).

1959 August 28 - . 18:45 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Extreme ultraviolet / RPA Ionosphere / solar extreme ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 235 km (146 mi).

1959 August 31 - .
  • Lunar flights to originate from space platforms in earth orbit - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Source Selection, LM Mode Debate, LM Source Selection.

    A House Committee Staff Report stated that lunar flights would originate from space platforms in earth orbit according to current planning. The final decision on the method to be used, "which must be made soon," would take into consideration the difficulty of space rendezvous between a space platform and space vehicles as compared with the difficulty of developing single vehicles large enough to proceed directly from the earth to the moon.


1959 August 31 - . 22:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Sunflare II Solar x-ray / solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 September 1 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Atlas D ICBM operational. - . Nation: USA. USAF Atlas ICBM officially declared operational and taken over by the Strategic Air Command, at Vandenberg AFB..

1959 September - .
  • MIT study of the guidance and control design for a variety of space missions - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Guidance, CSM Source Selection. A study of the guidance and control design for a variety of space missions began at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory under a NASA contract..

1959 September 1 - .
  • McDonnell report on a modified Mercury capsule to explore problems of space flight. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury Mark I.

    McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, St. Louis, Missouri, issued a report on the company's studies using a modified Mercury capsule to explore some problems of space flight beyond the initial manned exploration of space through Mercury. The 300-page report discussed six follow-on experiments: touchdown control, maneuver in orbit, self-contained guidance, 14-day mission, manned reconnaissance, and lunar-orbit reentry. These were more in the nature of technically supported suggestions than firm proposals, but all six experiments could be conducted with practical modifications of Mercury capsules.


1959 September 1 - .
  • Mercury spacecraft modified to withstand lunar reentry conditions - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    McDonnell Aircraft Corporation reported to NASA the results of several company-funded studies of follow-on experiments using Mercury spacecraft with heatshields modified to withstand lunar reentry conditions. In one experiment, a Centaur booster would accelerate a Mercury spacecraft plus a third stage into an eccentric earth orbit with an apogee of about 1,200 miles, so that the capsule would reenter at an angle similar to that required for reentry from lunar orbit. The third stage would then fire, boosting the spacecraft to a speed of 36,000 feet per second as it reentered the atmosphere.


1959 September - .
  • PKA Spaceplane Draft Project Completed - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Chelomei, Myasishchev, Tsybin. Spacecraft Bus: VKA. Spacecraft: PKA.

    The Tsybin bureau was closed down shortly after the draft project was completed. Tsybin and his staff transferred to the Myasishchev bureau in October 1959 (which had its own on-going VKA-23 winged spacecraft project). The Myasishchev bureau was then in turn closed and the staff transferred to Filial 1 of Chelomeiís OKB-52 bureau in 1960. Tsybinís work on the PKA was passed to the Mikoyan bureau and formed the starting point for the design of the Spiral spaceplane.


1959 September 1 - . 01:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 September 1 - . 19:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Ionosphere / plasma / solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 210 km (130 mi).

1959 September 2 - .
  • Birth of Guy Lalibertť - . Nation: Canada. Related Persons: Laliberte. Canadian astronaut, 2009-on..

1959 September 2 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island. LV Family: Little Joe 1. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1. FAILURE: Emergency escape rocket fired 30 minutes before planned launch..
  • Mercury LJ-1 - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Launching of Mercury capsule mockup from Wallops Station to test the escape and recovery systems; emergency escape rocket accidentally fired 30 minutes before scheduled firing of the Little Joe booster..

1959 September 2 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar Mayak-1. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 September 2 - . 00:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 September 4 - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Edwards RW04/22. Launch Pad: Edwards. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. FAILURE: Failure.
  • X-15A aborted launch. - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, USAF. Apogee: 14 km (8 mi).

1959 September 5 - . 15:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant I.
  • PTV-1 test - . Nation: Canada. Agency: CARDE. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 September 7 - . 12:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: M-100. Launch Vehicle: M-100.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1959 September 8 - . 15:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant I.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: CARDE. Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).

1959 September 9 - . 08:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Mercury BJ-1 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 153 km (95 mi).

    A SAC crew conducted the first west coast launch of an Atlas operational configuration missile, 12D, from Vandenberg AFB, to a target near Wake Island, Afterward, General Thomas S. Power, CINCSAC, declared the Atlas system to be operational. This marked the attainment of operational status for the Atlas one year earlier than the six years that the von Neumann Committee had projected in its February 1954 report. The first prototype of the Mercury-Atlas capsule for NASA's Project Mercury was launched atop Atlas 10D from Cape Canaveral. NASA boilerplate model of Mercury capsule successfully launched on an Atlas (Big Joe) missile from AMR and recovered in South Atlantic after surviving reentry heat of more than 10,000°F.


1959 September 9 - . 17:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg 576A2. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Initial operational capability demonstration launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF SAC. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

    A SAC crew conducted the first west coast launch of an Atlas operational configuration missile, 12D, from Vandenberg AFB, to a target near Wake Island, Afterward, General Thomas S. Power, CINCSAC, declared the Atlas system to be operational. This marked the attainment of operational status for the Atlas one year earlier than the six years that the von Neumann Committee had projected in its February 1954 report. The first prototype of the Mercury-Atlas capsule for NASA's Project Mercury was launched atop Atlas 10D from Cape Canaveral. First SAC operational (IOC) launch, 576th SMS, successful: impacted within one mile of target near Wake Island, a 4,480 nautical mile flight. Afterwards, General Thomas S. Power, Commander in Chief of Strategic Air Command, declared the Atlas system to be operational.


1959 September 10-11 - .
  • Mercury spacecraft mock-up review - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. At a spacecraft mock-up review, the astronauts submitted several recommended changes. These involved a new instrument panel, a forward centerline window, and an explosive side egress hatch..

1959 September 10 - . 00:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: M-100. Launch Vehicle: M-100.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1959 September 11 - . 19:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 227 km (141 mi).

1959 September 12 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 September 12 - . 06:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72.
  • Luna 2 - . Payload: E-1A s/n 6. Mass: 387 kg (853 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-1. Spacecraft: Luna E-1A. Decay Date: 1959-09-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 114 . COSPAR: 1959-Xi-1.

    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.


1959 September 13 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: M-100. Launch Vehicle: M-100.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1959 September 14 - . 17:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 218 km (135 mi).

1959 September 15 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: DF-1.
  • First missile factories built. - . Nation: China. Related Persons: Tsien. Program: Long March. First Chinese missile production factories built: Shenyang (missile frames) Nancheng (engines)..

1959 September 15 - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Edwards TL1. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Silo test launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

    The first silo launch of a tethered, full-scale Minuteman missile was conducted at Edwards AFB, California, using dummy second and third stages. This was the first time in the Air Force ballistic missile program that the initial test of a missile was conducted on schedule. Fuel for 3 seconds only, tethered launch


1959 September 15 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 September 15 - . 21:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM. FAILURE: The flight was erratic at lift-off and the missile destroyed itself after 13 seconds, just before command destruct. Failure of a silver soldered connection joint to the pressure sphere caused destruction of the missile.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Bioflight 3 Biological mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi). Scheduled for launch at 0430 hours EST, was fired from AMR at 1645 hours EST. The nose cane housed several NASA biological specimens, including 14 mice..

1959 September 16-18 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan IIIC.
  • Plans for advanced launch vehicles - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Glennan. Program: Apollo.

    The ARPA-NASA Booster Evaluation Committee appointed by Herbert F. York, DOD Director of Defense Research and Engineering, April 15, 1959, convened to review plans for advanced launch vehicles. A comparison of the Saturn (C-1) and the Titan-C boosters showed that the Saturn, with its substantially greater payload capacity, would be ready at least one year sooner than the Titan-C. In addition, the cost estimates on the Titan-C proved to be unrealistic. On the basis of the Advanced Research Projects Agency presentation, York agreed to continue the Saturn program but, following the meeting, began negotiations with NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan to transfer the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (and, therefore, Saturn ) to NASA.


1959 September 17 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able II. FAILURE: Third stage failed.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Transit 1A - . Payload: Transit 1A. Mass: 119 kg (262 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Program: Transit. Class: Navigation. Type: Navigation satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Transit. Spacecraft: Transit. Decay Date: 1959-09-17 . A Thor/Able II booster carrying the Navy's Transit IA navigation satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral. A third stage malfunction prevented the satellite from achieving orbit. First Transit test satellite; failed to reach orbit..

1959 September 17 - . 00:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark.
1959 September 17 - . 02:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1959 September 17 - . 16:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Rosamund Dry Lake DZ. Launch Pad: Edwards RW04/22. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. FAILURE: Turbopump failure and fire..
  • X-15A test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, USAF. Apogee: 15 km (9 mi). First flight for X-15 # 2. First powered flight. Maximum Speed - 2241 kph. Maximum Altitude - 15954 m. Turbopump case failure resulted in fire in engine compartment. Air dropped in Rosamund Dry Lake DZ..

1959 September 17 - . 18:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • DRTE.01 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 256 km (159 mi).

1959 September 17 - . 21:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • IWST - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi). A Thor/Able II booster carrying the Navy's Transit IA navigation satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral. A third stage malfunction prevented the satellite from achieving orbit. .

1959 September 18 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC36. Launch Pad: ALA3. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone.
  • Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Successful missile test. Missed aimpoint by 228 m..

1959 September 18 - . 05:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18A. Launch Pad: LC18A. LV Family: Vanguard. Launch Vehicle: Vanguard.
  • Vanguard 3 - . Payload: Vanguard 3C / Magne-Ray satellite. Mass: 23 kg (50 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Program: Vanguard. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Vanguard 3. Spacecraft: Vanguard 3. USAF Sat Cat: 20 . COSPAR: 1959-Eta-1. Apogee: 3,413 km (2,120 mi). Perigee: 512 km (318 mi). Inclination: 33.4000 deg. Period: 126.40 min. Radiation, micrometeoroid data. Third stage failed to separate from payload. The TV-4BU burned-out third stage was left attached to the payload since the fiberglas case did not adversely affect the experiments..

1959 September 18 - . 16:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • Phase 3 test flight - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). R-7 development test flight..

1959 September 19 - .
  • Mark II Mercury parachute test vehicle air launch - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Parachute. An air launch of a Mark II parachute (drogue) test vehicle was conducted by the NASA Flight Research Center. This test, the 15th in the series, concluded the Project Mercury drogue parachute development and qualification tests..

1959 September 20 - . 17:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. FAILURE: Failure.
  • DRTE.02 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 September 21 - .
  • Effects of sustained acceleration on the pilot's ability to control a vehicle. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Between September 21 and October 10, 1959, a research program was carried out by the Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory to measure the effects of sustained acceleration on the pilot's ability to control a vehicle. Various side-arm controllers were used, and it appeared that the three-axis type (yaw, roll, and pitch) was the most satisfactory. Later this configuration was extensively evaluated and adopted for use in the control system of the Mercury spacecraft.


1959 September 21 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1959 September 22 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 100.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 110 km (60 mi).

1959 September 22 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral AMR DZ. Launch Pad: 29.0 N x 79.0 W. Launch Platform: B-58. LV Family: High Virgo. Launch Vehicle: High Virgo. FAILURE: Failure.
  • High Virgo satellite interceptor mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 12 km (7 mi).

1959 September 22 - . 18:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch/Ionosphere/Meteorites mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 September 24 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C Able. FAILURE: Vehicle exploded on pad.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Atlas C Able explodes on pad during static test. - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: Pioneer.

    A participant remembers:

    I live near the Cape on Merritt Island and have been here for about 41 years. I worked for the ARMA Corp that developed the Atlas Inertial Guidance System. I was in the Blockhouse at Complex 11 while a static test was performed on an Atlas Able on Complex 12. It did explode. Did it ever! After a couple of hours the six of us were allowed out of the blockhouse and saw all the damage to our complex...I had a tiny piece of that missile for a long time that somehow wound up on my person...labeled 9C.

    The next Atlas Able would not fly until over a year later, using the Atlas D as the booster stage.


1959 September 24 - . 00:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark.
1959 September 25 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 September 25 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC43. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Weather photo - . Nation: USA. Agency: PARD. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 September 26 - . 07:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Tonopah. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Deacon Arrow II.
  • RW-141 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Sandia. Apogee: 72 km (44 mi).

1959 September 28 - .
  • Proposals for follow-on experiments using Project Mercury capsules. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury Mark I. Space Task Group's (STG) New Projects Panel discussed the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation proposals for follow-on experiments using Project Mercury capsules.. Additional Details: here....

1959 September 28 - .
  • Lenticular-shaped vehicle proposed for the lunar mission - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM, CSM Heat Shield, CSM Source Selection.

    At the third meeting of STG's New Projects Panel, Alan B. Kehlet presented suggestions for the multimanned reentry capsule. A lenticular-shaped vehicle was proposed, to ferry three occupants safely to earth from a lunar mission at a velocity of about 36,000 feet per second.


1959 September 29 - . 10:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 124 km (77 mi).

1959 September 30 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Terrier Asp.
  • Ultraviolet Scanner test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 September 30 - . 10:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 122 km (75 mi).

1959 October 1 - .
  • Funds approved for major changes to the Mercury spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Parachute.

    Funds were approved by NASA Headquarters for the following major changes to the Mercury spacecraft: egress hatch installation (CCP-58-1), astronaut observation window installation (CCP-73); rate stabilization and control system (CCP-61-2), main instrument and panel redesign (CCP-76), installation of reefed ringsail landing parachute (CCP-41), and nonspecification configurations of spacecraft (CCP-8). With reference to the last item, the original contract with McDonnell had specified only one spacecraft configuration, but the various research and development flight tests required changes in the configuration.


1959 October - .
  • McDonnell received the first Mercury ablative heat shield - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Heat Shield. McDonnell received the first ablative heat shield, designated for installation on Spacecraft No. 1. This particular heat shield was based on the Big Joe design, and was manufactured by General Electric..

1959 October - .
  • Mercury air-supplied launch-vehicle control system. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury. North American Aviation and Minneapolis-Honeywell were notified to proceed with the production of hardware for an air-supplied launch-vehicle control system..

October 1959 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: DF-1.
  • Project 1059 - . Nation: China. Related Persons: Tsien. Nie Rongzhen, Senior Commander of the Revolution responsible for strategic weapons, orders the Fifth Academy to quit wasting time on trying to leapfrog Soviet technology and concentrate on copying the Russian R-2. Code name for the project is 1059..

1959 October 1 - . 01:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC6. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

    Fired from AMR at 2028 hours EST. The primary mission of impacting the nose cone in a pre-calculated target area was successfully accomplished . The missile covered a pre-calculated range of 1,299.4 nm, with the nose cone impacting within 1.25 nm of the predicted point. In addition to the usual ST-90 Stabiliser Platform, the missile carried a second system for relative accuracy and for drift investigations. It also housed a telemetry system. A significant mission was to determine environmental flight conditions.


1959 October 1 - . 10:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 138 km (85 mi).

1959 October 2 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar VLAD. LV Family: Burya La-350. Launch Vehicle: Burya La-350.
  • Burya flight 12 - . Nation: Russia. Apogee: 17 km (10 mi).

    First flight with propellant in tank 4 of the cruise stage. Boosters featured an improved main engines without OT-155 valve (S2.1150 replacing S2.1100). The cruise stage used the improved RD-012U ramjet in place of the previous RD-012. The first stage operated faultlessly and separation was normal without vibrations. Ignition of the cruise stage occurred at Mach 2.87 at 16.8 km altitude. The SVD Air Sensor System worked abnormally, so the decision was made to disconnect the SVD sensors and fly the mission using only the astronavigation system and hold inertial velocity to Mach 3.15-3.2. The flight continued to T+10 minutes 17 seconds and the planned flight program was completed.


1959 October 2 - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Edwards TL1. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A.
  • Silo test launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 October 2 - . 11:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 143 km (88 mi).

1959 October 3 - . 11:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 122 km (75 mi).

1959 October 4 - . 00:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok-L 8K72.
  • Luna 3 - . Payload: E-2A s/n 1. Mass: 279 kg (615 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-3. Spacecraft: Luna E-3. Decay Date: 1960-04-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 21 . COSPAR: 1959-Theta-1. Apogee: 499,998 km (310,683 mi). Perigee: 500 km (310 mi). Inclination: 55.0000 deg. Period: 21,563.20 min.

    Luna 3 was the third spacecraft successfully launched to the Moon and the first to return images of the lunar far side. It was launched on a figure-eight trajectory which brought it over the Moon (closest approach to the Moon was 6200 km) and around the far side, which was sunlit at the time. It was stabilized while in optical view of the far side of the Moon. On October 7, 1959, the television system obtained a series of 29 photographs over 40 minutes, covering 70% of the surface, that were developed on-board the spacecraft. The photographs were scanned and 17 were radio transmitted to ground stations in facsimile form on October 18, 1959, as the spacecraft, in a barycentric orbit, returned near the Earth. The photographs were to be retransmitted at another point close to Earth but were not received. The spacecraft returned very indistinct pictures, but, through computer enhancement, a tentative atlas of the lunar farside was produced. These first views of the lunar far side showed mountainous terrain, very different from the near side, and two dark regions which were named Mare Moscovrae (Sea of Moscow) and Mare Desiderii (Sea of Dreams).


1959 October 4 - . 10:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Little Joe 1. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1.
  • Spacecraft test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 59 km (36 mi). NASA Little Joe launch vehicle carrying a boilerplate Mercury capsule with a dummy escape system successfully launched from Wallops Station, Va..

1959 October 5 - . 11:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 127 km (78 mi).

1959 October 6 - . 05:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Mk 3 Mod 1 re-entry vehicle research and development mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 October 6 - . 16:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch/Meteorites mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 October 6 - . 18:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LE-8. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • IWST - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 October 8 - .
  • Birth of Carlos Ismael Noriega - . Nation: Peru, USA. Related Persons: Noriega. Hispanic-American computer scientist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-84, STS-97..

1959 October 8 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: M-100. Launch Vehicle: M-100.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1959 October 9 - . 08:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 143 km (88 mi).

1959 October 9 - . 11:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 143 km (88 mi).

1959 October 10 - . 03:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 October 10 - . 12:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee AJ10-34.
  • Meteorites mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 111 km (68 mi).

1959 October 12 - . 09:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 123 km (76 mi).

1959 October 12 - . 10:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 123 km (76 mi).

1959 October 13 - .
  • Explorer VII - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Explorer VII achieved orbit and began providing significant geophysical information on solar and earth radiation, magnetic storms, and micrometeorite penetration. This satellite also successfully demonstrated a method of controlling internal temperatures..

1959 October 13 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral AMR DZ. Launch Pad: 29.0 N x 79.0 W. Launch Platform: B-47. LV Family: Bold Orion. Launch Vehicle: Bold Orion.
  • Interceptor mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 October 13 - . 11:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 116 km (72 mi).

1959 October 13 - . 15:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC5. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Juno II.
  • Explorer 7 - . Payload: S-1A. Mass: 42 kg (92 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft Bus: S-1. Spacecraft: S-1. USAF Sat Cat: 22 . COSPAR: 1959-Iota-1. Apogee: 857 km (532 mi). Perigee: 523 km (324 mi). Inclination: 50.3000 deg. Period: 98.60 min. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space. Returned magnetic field and solar flare data..

1959 October 14 - . 04:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 October 15 - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 October 15 - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 October 15 - . 11:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 122 km (75 mi).

1959 October 16 - . 11:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 139 km (86 mi).

1959 October 17 - . 18:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Rosamund Dry Lake DZ. Launch Pad: Edwards RW04/22. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. FAILURE: Fire in engine bay, gear door failure..
  • X-15A test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, USAF. Apogee: 18 km (11 mi). Maximum Speed - 2283 kph. Maximum Altitude - 18831 m. Nose gear door failed on landing. Air dropped in Rosamund Dry Lake DZ..

1959 October 20 - . 14:25 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee AJ10-34.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 113 km (70 mi).

1959 October 21 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Transfer to NASA of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency's Development Operations Division - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Eisenhower, von Braun. Program: Apollo.

    After a meeting with officials concerned with the missile and space program, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced that he intended to transfer to NASA control the Army Ballistic Missile Agency's Development Operations Division personnel and facilities. The transfer, subject to congressional approval, would include the Saturn development program.


1959 October 21 - . 22:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • IWST - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 October 22 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Stromboli. Launch Vehicle: OPd-56-39-22D.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1959 October 22 - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Edwards TL1. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A.
  • Silo test launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 October 22 - . Launch Site: Aberporth. LV Family: Rook. Launch Vehicle: Leopard. FAILURE: Failure.
1959 October 22 - . 03:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26A. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

    The first full range tactical prototype, was fired from AMR at 2220 hours EST. All missions assigned to the flight was successfully accomplished. The missile covered a prescribed range of 1,600.448 nm, with the nose cone impacting 0.9 nm short and 0.6 nm to the right. This was the fourth Chrysler-assembled missile to be flight tested.


1959 October 22 - . 17:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • Phase 3 test flight - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi).

1959 October 24 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 October 25 - . 17:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • Phase 3 test flight - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi).

1959 October 25 - . 17:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 300.
  • Utah ne probe Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 386 km (239 mi).

1959 October 26 - . Launch Site: Point Mugu. LV Family: Loki. Launch Vehicle: Loki.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 70 km (43 mi).

1959 October 27 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 October 28 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island.
  • Prototype Echo balloon launched. - . Nation: USA.

    100-foot-diameter inflatable sphere launched on a suborbital test flight from NASA Wallops Station, Va., to an altitude of 250 miles by a first Sergeant-Delta rocket; aluminum-coated Mylar-plastic sphere to be used as passive electronic reflector in Echo was developed by NASA Langley's Space Vehicle Group under the direction of William J. O'Sullivan.


1959 October 28 - . 14:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 300.
  • Utah ne probe Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 135 km (83 mi).

1959 October 28 - . 22:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Sergeant. Launch Vehicle: Shotput.
  • E60 Echo spacecraft test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Langley. Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).

1959 October 29 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC22. LV Family: Matador. Launch Vehicle: Mace.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 12 km (7 mi).

1959 October 29 - . 02:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch/Meteorites mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 October 29 - . 07:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi). USAF Atlas successfully launched from Cape Canaveral carrying a nose-cone camera which took a series of photographs of the earth's cloud cover from a 300-mile altitude..

1959 October 30 - . 11:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. LV Family: Black Knight. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1959 October 31 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • First R-7 missiles go on alert at Plesetsk. - . Nation: Russia.

1959 November - .
  • Douglas contacted by Daily Mail newspaper on ideas for space stations. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft Bus: Ideal Home Station. Spacecraft: Ideal Home Station.

    Douglas Aircraft Co., Inc., was visited by a representative of the London Daily Mail newspaper who was visiting several companies to collect ideas for space stations. The Daily Mail held a highly promoted public exhibition each year called the 'London Daily Mail Home Show,' and wanted to have 'A Home in Space' as the theme for the 1959 show. Douglas offered to do a full design study (including mockup details) for him, and after visiting several other companies he returned and informed Douglas they had won the 'competition.' Additional Details: here....


1959 November 1 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven. Launch Complex: Cuxhaven. LV Family: Cirrus. Launch Vehicle: Kumulus.
  • First Kumulus launch - . Nation: Germany.

    The first launch of a Kumulus rocket is made to 15 km altitude carrying a radio-transmitter built by Professor Max Ehmert of the Max Planck Institute. The rocket had a mass of 30.3 kg, produced 508 kgf, and reached 700 m/s. However due to the batteries becoming too cold during launch preparations, the transmitter did not function and the rocket could not be tracked.


1959 November - .
  • Mercury first manned development system tests - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Space Suit.

    The first manned development system tests were completed at the AiResearch Manufacturing Division, Garrett Corporation. Tests were conducted in the altitude chamber to determine proper functioning of all system valves and components. A McDonnell subject was clothed in a Mercury-type presure suit for these tests. Preliminary data from these tests indicated that the system functioned satisfactorily.


1959 November - .
  • Mercury full-pressure suits delivered. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mark IV Model 3 Type I. Spacecraft: Mercury Space Suit.

    Between November 1959 and January 1960, 10 developmental Mercury full-pressure suits were delivered. These suits were used in various Mercury training and development programs. Several problem areas were denoted. One involved stretching which complicated the suit mobility problem. This matter was being investigated, and one of the solutions was felt to be undersizing to allow for a suit growth factor. In addition, modifications would have to be made in suit insulation to provide for better pilot mobility. These problems were to be expected in a developmental program.


1959 November 1 - .
  • Mercury spacesuit delivered. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Prototype Goodrich full-pressure Mercury astronaut suits (modified Navy Mark IV) were delivered to NASA. Navy Air Crew Equipment Laboratory (NACEL) of Philadelphia fitted suits and indoctrinated the astronauts on their use..

1959 November 1 - . Launch Site: Sea Launch Area. Launch Pad: UNKPL. Launch Platform: ZULUV. LV Family: R-13. Launch Vehicle: R-13.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1959 November 1 - . 21:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • Phase 3 test flight - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). Flight over full missile design range..

1959 November 2 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Transfer of Saturn I project to NASA announced. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Eisenhower, von Braun. Program: Apollo. President Eisenhower announced his intention of transferring the Saturn project to NASA, which became effective on March 15, 1960..

1959 November 2 - .
  • Planning of advanced spacecraft systems begun - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Chamberlin, Faget, Gilruth, Johnson, Caldwell. Program: Apollo.

    At an STG meeting, it was decided to begin planning of advanced spacecraft systems. Three primary assignments were made:

    1. The preliminary design of a multi-man (probably three-man) capsule for a circumlunar mission, with particular attention to the use of the capsule as a temporary space laboratory, lunar landing cabin, and deep-space probe;
    2. Mission analysis studies to establish exit and reentry corridors, weights, and propulsion requirements;
    3. Test program planning to decide on the number and purpose of launches.
    Additional Details: here....

1959 November 2 - .
  • Dyna-Soar development plan to use a new three-step approach. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft Bus: Dynasoar. Spacecraft: Dynasoar.

    The Dyna-Soar project office formulated a new three-step approach, involving the development of a suborbital glider, an orbital system, and an operational weapon system. It represeneted an agreed compromise with the Secretary of Defence on the role of Dynasoar. Step 1 would involve suborbital tests of a manned glider, weighing between 2980 and 4270 kg, boosted by a Titan I ICBM. Step 2 would involve use of the larger Titan C booster to take the same vehicle up to orbital velocity. Step 3 would be an operational weapons system, boosted by the Titan C. The schedule agreed was for 19 air-drops of the glider from a B-52 to begin in April 1962; the first unmanned suborbital flight in April 1962; the first of 8 manned suborbital flights in July 1963; and the first manned orbital flight from LC40 at Cape Canaveral in August 1965.


1959 November 3 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch/Meteorites mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 November 4 - . 14:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Little Joe 1. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1.
  • Mercury LJ-1A - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 14 km (8 mi).

    Little Joe 1-A (LJ-1A) was launched in a test for a planned abort under high aerodynamic load conditions. This flight was a repeat of the Little Joe (LJ-1) that had been planned for August 21, 1959 (escape rocket fired 31 min before the intended launch of the Little Joe launch vehicle). After lift-off, the pressure sensing system was to supply a signal when the intended abort dynamic pressure was reached (about 30 sec after launch). An electrical impulse was then sent to the explosive bolts to separate the spacecraft from the launch vehicle. Up to this point, the operation went as planned, but the impulse was also designed to start the igniter in the escape motor. The igniter activated, but pressure failed to build up in the motor until a number of seconds had elapsed. Thus the abort maneuver, the prime mission of the flight, was accomplished at a dynamic pressure that was too low. For this reason a repeat of the test was planned. All other events from the launch through recovery occurred without incident. The flight attained an altitude of 9 statute miles, a range of 11.5 statute miles, and a speed of 2,021.6 miles per hour.


1959 November 4 - . 21:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 November 5 - .
  • Mercury astronauts fitted with pressure suits. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mark IV Model 3 Type I. Spacecraft: Mercury Space Suit. The astronauts were fitted with pressure suits and indoctrinated as to use at the B. F. Goodrich Company, Akron, Ohio..

1959 November 5 - . 00:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC6. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

    Fired from AMR at 1938 hours EST to a pre-selected range of 1,299.4 nm. The nose cone impacted 0.56 nm short and 0.09 nm right of the impact point. The test successfully accomplished all intended missions. This was the first highly successful, Chrysler-assembled Jupiter fired in the test program sad was the first fired without static firing.


1959 November 5 - . 17:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Rosamund Dry Lake DZ. Launch Pad: Edwards RW04/22. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. FAILURE: Engine fire and explosion, fuselage failure on landing..
  • X-15A test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA, USAF. Apogee: 13 km (8 mi). Engine fire; fuselage structural failure on landing. Aircraft returned to North American for rebuild. Maximum Speed - 1062 kph. Maximum Altitude - 13857 m. Air dropped in Rosamund Dry Lake DZ..

1959 November 6 - . 07:25 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150.
  • Airglow Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 142 km (88 mi).

1959 November 6 - . 16:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 300.
  • Utah ne probe Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 393 km (244 mi).

1959 November 7 - . 20:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A.
  • Discoverer 7 - . Payload: KH-1 9004 / Agena A 1051. Mass: 794 kg (1,750 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-11-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 24 . COSPAR: 1959-Kappa-1. Apogee: 820 km (500 mi). Perigee: 158 km (98 mi). Inclination: 81.6000 deg. Period: 94.40 min. KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance; satellite tumbled; film capsule not recovered. Mission failed. Failed to achieve orbit..

1959 November 8 - .
  • Design of the Mercury Control Center was completed. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    Between this date and December 5, 1959, the tentative design and layout of the Mercury Control Center to be used to monitor the orbiting flight of the Mercury spacecraft were completed. The control center would have trend charts to indicate the astronaut's condition and world map displays to keep continuous track of the Mercury spacecraft.


1959 November 9 - . LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan I.
  • Contractor selection for Dynasoar and Titan I announced. - . Nation: USA. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft Bus: Dynasoar. Spacecraft: Dynasoar.

    Boeing and Martin selected by USAF to develop Dynasoar and Titan I launch vehicle. The compromise project reformulation a week earlier led to this announcement by the Secretary of the Air Force. Boeing was the winner of the DynaSoar design competition on 9 November 1959 - but for the glider and total system only. Martin was selected as an associate contractor for booster development. Dynasoar received the designation WS-620A on 17 November 1959


1959 November 10 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island.
  • 5 stage sounding rocket. - . Nation: USA. Five-stage sounding rocket launched from NASA Wallops Island to an altitude of 1,050 miles to measure density of electrons in upper atmosphere..

1959 November 10 - . 12:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Honest John. Launch Vehicle: Strongarm.
  • Ion density Test / ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA BRL. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 November 11 - .
  • COSPAR international rocket launches. - . Nation: USA. Under sponsorship of COSPAR, an internationally coordinated program of scientific rocket soundings of the upper atmosphere was conducted. The U.S. contribution included 10 rocket firings..

1959 November 12 - . 19:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • IWST - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 November 14 - . 22:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 300.
  • GRD sphere Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 138 km (85 mi).

1959 November 15 - .
  • Authorisation for development of the Strela-1M satellite system. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft Bus: Strela. Spacecraft: Strela-1M. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On tasking NII-4 to create a sea-based communications network' was issued..

1959 November 15 - .
  • Birth of Timothy John 'TJ' Creamer - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Creamer. American physicist mission specialist astronaut, 1998-on. US Army.

1959 November 16-20 - .
  • Mercury astronauts familiarized with the expected reentry heat pulse - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Space Suit. Wearing the Mercury pressure suits, the astronauts were familiarized with the expected reentry heat pulse at the Navy Aircrew Equipment Laboratory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania..

1959 November 16 - . Launch Site: Point Mugu. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 58 km (36 mi).

1959 November 18 - . Launch Site: Woomera. LV Family: Gosling-Lobster. Launch Vehicle: Gosling-Lobster.
  • Jaguar R&D - . Nation: Australia. Agency: WRE. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1959 November 18 - . 05:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Akita. LV Family: Kappa. Launch Vehicle: Kappa 7.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Japan. Agency: ISAS. Apogee: 53 km (32 mi).

1959 November 18 - . 19:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Eglin. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 206 km (128 mi).

1959 November 18 - . 22:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 250 km (150 mi). Nike-Asp sounding rocket fired from NASA Wallops Station emitted sodium vapor at 80 km to 250 km altitude, revealing powerful windshear effects..

1959 November 19 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 November 19 - . 01:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi). Successfully fired from AMR at 2031 hours EST to a pre-calculated range of 664.8 nm. Nose cone impacted 0.9 nm over and 1.0 nm left of the target. This was the first medium range flight for a tactical prototype..

1959 November 19 - . 07:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 150. FAILURE: Failure.
  • B field profile Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 106 km (65 mi).

1959 November 19 - . 10:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Diurnal density Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 119 km (73 mi).

1959 November 19 - . 10:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 255 km (158 mi). Second sodium-vapor-trail experiment in Nike-Asp launch from Wallops Island was not successful..

1959 November 20 - . 10:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp.
  • Sodium release Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 236 km (146 mi).

1959 November 20 - . 17:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1959 November 20 - . 18:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Diurnal density Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 119 km (73 mi).

1959 November 20 - . 19:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A.
  • Discoverer 8 - . Payload: KH-1 9005 / Agena A 1050. Mass: 795 kg (1,752 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft Bus: WS-117. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1960-03-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 25 . COSPAR: 1959-Lambda-1. Apogee: 1,661 km (1,032 mi). Perigee: 186 km (115 mi). Inclination: 80.5000 deg. Period: 103.50 min. KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance; film capsule recovery failed. Mission failed. Eccentric orbit negating recovery..

1959 November 20 - . 21:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • Phase 3 test flight - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). Flight over full missile design range..

1959 November 22 - . 18:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 300. FAILURE: Failure.
  • UM ionosphere probe Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 35 km (21 mi).

1959 November 24 - . 19:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 November 25 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Honest John. Launch Vehicle: HJ Nike Nike Recruit T55.
  • F131 Heat Transfer re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 26 km (16 mi).

1959 November 26 - . 07:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Able. FAILURE: Payload shroud failed after 45 sec, broke away prematurely.. Failed Stage: S.
  • Pioneer (P 3) - . Payload: Pioneer P 3 / Able IVB. Mass: 168 kg (370 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Pioneer. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Pioneer P 3. Spacecraft: Pioneer P 3. Decay Date: 1959-11-26 . Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

    An intended lunar probe launched from the Atlantic Missile Range by an Atlas-Able booster disintegrated about 45 seconds later when the protective sheath covering the payload detached prematurely. The probe was sponsored by NASA, developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and launched by the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division.


1959 November 27 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Study group to recommend upper-stage configurations - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Silverstein. Program: Apollo.

    While awaiting the formal transfer of the Saturn program, NASA formed a study group to recommend upper-stage configurations. Membership was to include the DOD Director of Defense Research and Engineering and personnel from NASA, Advanced Research Projects Agency, Army Ballistic Missile Agency, and the Air Force. This group was later known both as the Saturn Vehicle Team and the Silverstein Committee (for Abe Silverstein, Chairman).


1959 November 27 - . 01:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7.
  • GCh No. IZ-33 (III) test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi). Sixteenth and last launch of the third production batch..

1959 November 28 - .
  • Birth of Dr Ray Glynn Holt - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Holt. American physicist payload specialist astronaut, 1994-1995..

1959 November 30 - . 09:58 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee.
  • Ultraviolet astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 140 km (80 mi).

1959 November 30 - . 10:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark.
1959 November 30 - . 12:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark.
1959 December - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A.
  • Flight test series of production R-7A ICBM begins - . Nation: Russia. These tests proved the design of the missile actually deployed to pads in Baikonur and Plesetsk..

1959 December - .
  • Twelfth General Directorate of the Ministry of Defence charged only with ballistic missile warhead safekeeping - . Nation: Russia. This directorate's activities were limited specifically to safekeeping of the warheads of the RSVN rocket forces..

1959 December - .
  • Mercury astronaut F-100 weightless flying training program - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. A weightless flying training program was started by the Mercury astronauts in the F-100 aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Eating, drinking, and psychomotor tests were conducted while the astronauts were in a weightless state..

1959 December - .
  • Official government resolution permitting development of the M-48 spaceplane. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft Bus: Buran M-48. Spacecraft: Buran M-48. An R-7 would loft the 4.5 tonne VKA vehicle to 400 km suborbital trajectory..

1959 December 1 - .
  • Antarctic continent treaty - . Nation: International.

    Twelve nations signed a treaty making the Antarctic continent a preserve for scientific research, immune from political and military strife. Signatories were Argentina, Australia, Great Britain, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, Belgium, Japan, South Africa, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Legal experts have suggested that the Antarctic Treaty provided a precedent for similar agreements demilitarizing the moon and other bodies in space.


Late 1959 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: DF-1.
  • R-2 production obstacles - . Nation: China. Related Persons: Tsien. Spacecraft Bus: Project 581. Spacecraft: Project 581.

    14 manufacturers and 1400 industrial work units were needed to manufacture the R-2 engines alone. Basic materials were difficult to get. Some were imported; others substituted. Eventually 40% of the parts of the missile used substitute materials, but many of these replacements proved to be inadequate. Machine tools were not available, and the missile frame was formed manually by human muscle power. Inert gas arc welding technology had to be developed. Soviet style factories were being erected for the production of the missile.


December 1959 - .
  • Public furor as the USAF fails to properly identify unidentified object in space. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT, SAINT II. This humilitation led the Air Force to pursue its SAINT ASAT project..

1959 December 1 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer test vehicle. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1959 December 1 - . 11:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 SL. LV Family: Skylark. Launch Vehicle: Skylark.
1959 December 1 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi).

1959 December 2 - . 05:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Combat training launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 December 3 - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 December 3 - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: R-11. Launch Vehicle: R-11A.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 December 4 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island.
  • Mercury Little Joe 2 (LJ-2) - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft Bus: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury.

    LJ-2 was launched from Wallops Island to determine the motions of the spacecraft escape tower combination during a high-altitude abort, entry dynamics without a control system, physiological effects of acceleration on a small primate, operation of the drogue parachute, and effectiveness of the recovery operation. Telemetry was set up to record some 80 bits of information on the flight. The abort sequence was initiated by timers after 59 seconds of elapsed flight time at an altitude of about 96,000 feet and a speed of Mach 5.5. Escape motor firing occurred as planned and the spacecraft was whisked away at a speed of about Mach 6 to an apogee of 53.03 statute miles. All other sequences operated as planned, and spacecraft recovery was effected in about 2 hours from lift-off. The primate passenger, 'Sam,' an American-born rhesus monkey, withstood the trip and the recovery in good condition. All objectives of the mission were met.


1959 December 4 - . 16:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Little Joe 1. Launch Vehicle: Little Joe 1.
  • Spacecraft test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 89 km (55 mi).

1959 December 6 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Plan for transferring the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and Saturn to NASA - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Eisenhower, Glennan, von Braun. Program: Apollo.

    The initial plan for transferring the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and Saturn to NASA was drafted. It was submitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower on December 1 1 and was signed by Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker and Secretary of the Air Force James H. Douglas on December 16 and by NASA Administrator T. Keith Glennan on December 17.


1959 December 7 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Engineering and cost study for a new Saturn configuration - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo.

    The Advanced Research Projects Agency ARPA and NASA requested the Army Ordnance Missile Command AOMC to prepare an engineering and cost study for a new Saturn configuration with a second stage of four 20,000-pound-thrust liquid-hydrogen and liquid-oxygen engines (later called the S-IV stage) and a modified Centaur third stage using two of these engines later designated the S-V stage). Additional Details: here....


1959 December 7 - . 20:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1959 December 8-9 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Army Ballistic Missile Agency mission possibilities - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo.

    H. H. Koelle told members of the Research Steering Committee of mission possibilities being considered at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. These included an engineering satellite, an orbital return capsule, a space crew training vehicle, a manned orbital laboratory, a manned circumlunar vehicle, and a manned lunar landing and return vehicle. He described the current Saturn configurations, including the "C" launch vehicle to be operational in 1967. The Saturn C (larger than the C-1) would be able to boost 85,000 pounds into earth orbit and 25,000 pounds into an escape trajectory.


1959 December 8-9 - .
  • Configurations for manned lunar landing by direct ascent - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Apollo LM, LM Mode Debate, LM Source Selection.

    Several possible configurations for a manned lunar landing by direct ascent being studied at the Lewis Research Center were described to the Research Steering Committee by Seymour C. Himmel. A six-stage launch vehicle would be required, the first three stages to boost the spacecraft to orbital speed, the fourth to attain escape speed, the fifth for lunar landing, and the sixth for lunar escape with a 10,000-pound return vehicle. One representative configuration had an overall height of 320 feet. H. H. Koelle of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency argued that orbital assembly or refueling in orbit (earth orbit rendezvous) was more flexible, more straightforward, and easier than the direct ascent approach. Bruce T. Lundin of the Lewis Research Center felt that refueling in orbit presented formidable problems since handling liquid hydrogen on the ground was still not satisfactory. Lewis was working on handling cryogenic fuels in space.


1959 December 8 - .
  • Retrorockets for the Mercury spacecraft were tested - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Mercury, Mercury Retrorockets. Two Thiokol retrorockets for the Mercury spacecraft were tested at the Arnold Engineering Development Center engine test facility. The test objectives were to evaluate ignition characteristics..

1959 December 8-9 - .
  • Steps to manned lunar flight and capsule-laboratory spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    At the third meeting of the Research Steering Committee on Manned Space Flight held at Langley Research Center, H. Kurt Strass reported on STG's thinking on steps leading to manned lunar flight and on a particular capsule-laboratory spacecraft. The project steps beyond Mercury were: radiation experiments, minimum space and reentry vehicle (manned), temporary space laboratory (manned), lunar data acquisition (unmanned), lunar circumnavigation or lunar orbiter (unmanned), lunar base supply (unmanned), and manned lunar landing. STG felt that the lunar mission should have a three-man crew. A configuration was described in which a cylindrical laboratory was attached to the reentry capsule. This laboratory would provide working space for the astronauts until it was jettisoned before reentry. Preliminary estimates put the capsule weight at about 6,600 pounds and the capsule plus laboratory at about 10,000 pounds.


1959 December 9 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn C-2.
  • Goett Committee - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space station. Committee formed to recommend post-Mercury space program. After four meetings, and studying earth-orbit assembly using Saturn II or direct ascent using Nova, tended to back development of Nova..

1959 December 9 - . 00:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 December 10 - .
  • Further development of Soviet Lunar and Planetary probes approved. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft: Luna E-6, Mars 1M. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 1386-618 'On the Creation of AMS for Landing on the Moon. and Flights to Venus and Mars-- approving automated lunar and interplanetary spacecraft' was issued..

1959 December 10 - .
  • Raketoplan development authorised. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft Bus: Raketoplan. Spacecraft: Raketoplan. Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Development of Research on Cosmic Space-future of Soviet space program (piloted. interplanetary, spaceplane)' was issued..

1959 December 10 - . 00:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC6. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi). Fired from AMR at 1908 hours EST. The original countdown of 480 minutes was shortened to 240 minutes. The flight was successful in all phases. The nose cone impacted 0.3 nm over and 2.0 nm right of the 2,299.4 nm range..

1959 December 11 - .
  • Boeing arrangements for the Dyna-Soar Phase Alpha study. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft Bus: Dynasoar. Spacecraft: Dynasoar. The Air Force and the Boeing Airplane Company completed contractual arrangements for the Phase Alpha study..

1959 December 12 - .
  • Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space - . Nation: International.

    The General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously approved Resolution 1472 (XIV), establishing the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to replace the Ad Hoc Committee. There were no meetings of the Committee until November 27, 1961, because of failure to agree on the composition of the Committee.


1959 December 12 - .
  • Birth of Scott Duane Vangen - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Vangen. American engineer payload specialist astronaut, 1993-1995..

1959 December 12 - . 17:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC16. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan I. FAILURE: Exploded just above pad. Failed Stage: 1.
  • RVX-3 Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi). The first flight testing of Titan staging and second stage engine ignition was unsuccessful when Titan C-3 exploded at liftoff due to a faulty relay in the command destruct system. First Titan ICBM launching testing second stage was unsuccessful at AMR..

1959 December 15 - . LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I.
  • Saturn upper stage study. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: von Braun. Program: Apollo. NASA team completed study design of upper stages of Saturn launch vehicle..

1959 December 15 - . Launch Site: Ile du Levant. Launch Pad: CERES. LV Family: Stromboli. Launch Vehicle: OPd-56-39-22D.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: France. Agency: ONERA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

1959 December 15 - . 02:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • IWST - . Nation: USA. Agency: RAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 December 16 - . 04:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC29A. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 December 17 - .
  • Soviet Strategic Missile Force created. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Khrushchev, Nedelin.

    In accordance with instructions issued by Khrushchev the previous summer, the RVSN rocket forces were established as a separate branch of the armed services. Council of Soviet Ministers (SM) Decree 1384-615 / TsK Decree 254 'On the Establishment of the Post of Commander-in-Chief of Missile Forces in the Armed Forces of the USSR--creation of the Strategic Missile Forces' are issued.


1959 December 17 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Thor. Launch Vehicle: Thor DM-18A.
  • Series IV research and development launch/Meteorites mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 520 km (320 mi). Flight testing of the Thor IRBM was completed with the launch of Thor 217 from Pad 18B at Cape Canaveral, Florida. .

1959 December 17 - . 00:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC26B. LV Family: Jupiter. Launch Vehicle: Jupiter IRBM.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville, USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi). Fired from AMR at 1903 hours EST to a prescribed distance of 300 nm. The flight was successful in all phases. Impact was 0.3 nm to the right of the 300 nm range. .

1959 December 18 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral AMR DZ. LV Family: Navaho. Launch Vehicle: Hound Dog.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1959 December 19 - .
  • NERVA development roles AEC/NASA. - . Nation: USA. Program: NERVA. The Chairman, AEC, in a letter to the Administrator of NASA, proposed a flight test objective be established for the nuclear rocket program and proposed a technical program and division of agency responsibilities to achieve those objectives..

1959 December 19 - . 00:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi). Atlas ICBM made second successful 6,325-mile flight at AMR..

1959 December 21 - .
  • STL completes study on an anti-satellite systems - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT, SAINT II. Space Technologies Laboratory completed a USAF-funded feasibility study on the topic..

1959 December 21 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar Mayak-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 December 22 - . LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone MRLV.
  • Redstone for Mercury MR-1 installed on the interim test stand. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. The Redstone launch vehicle for the first Mercury-Redstone mission (MR-1) was installed on the interim test stand at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency for static testing..

1959 December 22 - . Launch Site: Edwards. Launch Complex: Edwards TL1. LV Family: Minuteman. Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A.
  • Silo test launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1959 December 22 - . 07:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Honest John. Launch Vehicle: Javelin.
  • X248 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 901 km (559 mi). In a United States-Canadian cooperative project, NASA launched the first four-stage Javelin sounding rocket from Wallops Station to an altitude of 560 miles to measure the intensity of galactic radio noise..

1959 December 23 - . 19:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: R-7A.
  • R-7A I-1 test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,350 km (830 mi).

1959 December 24 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Kheysa. LV Family: M-100. Launch Vehicle: M-100.
  • Nation: Russia. Agency: AN. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi).

1959 December 25 - .
  • Birth of Michael Phillip Anderson - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Anderson. African-American physicist mission specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-89, STS-107. Perished in Columbia shuttle disintegration during re-entry..

1959 December 26 - . Launch Site: Chelkar. LV Family: R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-5M.
  • NIIP-A Target - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1959 December 27 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar Mayak-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 December 28 - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. Launch Complex: Kapustin Yar V-2. LV Family: R-12. Launch Vehicle: R-12.
  • Nation: Ukraine. Agency: MVS. Apogee: 402 km (249 mi).

1959 December 29 - .
  • Space Exploration Program Council proposed - . Nation: USA. Program: Apollo.

    In a memorandum to Don R. Ostrander, Director of Office of Launch Vehicle Programs, and Abe Silverstein, Director of Office of Space Flight Programs, NASA Associate Administrator Richard E. Horner described the proposed Space Exploration Program Council, which would be concerned primarily with program development and implementation. The Council would be made up of the Directors of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Goddard Space Flight Center, the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, the Office of Space Flight Programs, and the Office of Launch Vehicle Programs. Horner would be Chairman of the Council which would have its first meeting on January 28-29, 1960 (later changed to February 10-11, 1960).


1959 December 31 - .
  • Mercury astronauts complete classroom training. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Mercury astronauts completed basic and theoretical studies in their training program and started practical engineering studies..

1959 December 31 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Nuclear propulsion work abandoned. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Lunar L3. Korolev abandons work on nuclear-powered rockets. Future launch vehicles to be based on conventional lox/keroesene propellants..

1959 December 31 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • NASA approval of Saturn development program - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Silverstein, von Braun. Program: Apollo.

    NASA accepted the recommendations of the Saturn Vehicle Evaluation Committee Silverstein Committee on the Saturn C-1 configuration and on a long-range Saturn program. A research and development plan of ten vehicles was approved. The C-1 configuration would include the S-1 stage (eight H-1 engines clustered, producing 1.5 million pounds of thrust), the S-IV stage (four engines producing 80,000 pounds of thrust), and the S-V stage two engines producing 40,000 pounds of thrust.



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