This Quarter in Space Chronicle: Autumn 2020

Astro Scopes: A brief history of space-borne astronomy: Michael J. Bryce examines the evolution of astronomy using space-borne instruments since the dawn of spaceflight, and shows how the use of spacecraft which each specialise in various kinds of radiation can achieve results impossible for ground-based observations.

Red Sea Survivors: Bert Vis looks at joint training between European and Chinese astronauts in water survival, building on Russian experience with such training for Soyuz cosmonauts, which could save lives in the event of capsules making unplanned water landings.

Saturn’s Rocket Riders:  We have all seen the “staging” movies of the Saturn launch vehicles, but how were these pictures taken? Mark Yates tells of the camera pods, subsequently parachuted to safety, that caught these dramatic shots, vitally needed in order to check the in-flight behaviour of these huge rockets.

…And The Film That Fell to Earth: Continuing the story, Joel W. Powell tracks down the identity of the US Navy ship assigned the difficult task of recovering the Saturn camera pods.

Robots On the Moon: Brian Harvey tells the lost story of the robot probes, Luna 16 and 17, the first vehicles to achieve robotic return of lunar samples and to deploy a rover on the lunar surface. In more recent years, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has obtained images of the landing sites of the Luna probes.

ISS – Now & Then: As the International Space Station celebrates twenty years of continuous occupation, George Spiteri, the current ISS correspondent for Space Chronicle’s sister magazine SpaceFlight, celebrates coverage by the BIS, beginning in 1971, when Ken Gatland wrote about the Soyuz 11 mission to Salyut 1. Since then, a proud tradition of reporting on space stations has been kept up by Ken’s successors, with reports on Salyut, Mir, Skylab, the ISS, and Tiangong.


The Usual Features:

  • Timelines: Dates in space history, counting down in five year intervals for memorable events in the history of astronautics
  • ShelfSPACE: A review of We Seven: The Mercury 7 Astronauts by the original Mercury astronaut team, an old favourite book from the library of Colin Burgess.

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