October 18th--This Day in Engineering History - An Engineer's Aspect


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Monday, October 19, 2009

October 18th--This Day in Engineering History

1386 - Opening of the University of Heidelberg.

From knowledgerush:
"The University of Heidelberg was established in the town of Heidelberg in the Rhineland in 1386. It was founded at the behest of the Count Palatinate and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, Ruprecht I, in order to provide faculties for the study of philosophy, theology, jurisprudence, and medicine.

Image: The depiction of the "High School at Heidelberg" comes from the "Cosmographia" by the geographer and Hebrew scholar Sebastian Münster (1488-1552), a professor at the University of Heidelberg from 1524 to 1527. Source: Heidelberg University.

On October 18, 1386 a ceremonial fair commemorated the opening of the doors of the university. As a motto for the seal, Marsilius von Inghen, the first Rector of the university chose "Semper apertus" - the book of learning is always open.

On October 19, 1386 the first lecture was held.

The university's official title is Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg ('Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg) or its latin equivalent: Ruperto Carola Heidelbergensis.

Among the prominent thinkers to have been associated with the university are Georg Hegel, the Atheist Ludwig Feuerbach, the existentialist philosopher-psychologist Karl Jaspers, the political theorist Hannah Arendt, the philosopher of hermeneutics Hans-Georg Gadamer, the critical theorist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas, and the philosopher of discourse ethics Karl-Otto Apel. Famous scientists in the faculties of Heidelberg include chemist Robert Bunsen, physicists Gustav Kirchhoff and Philipp Lenard, as well as contemporary personalities like Otto Haxel or 2001 Nobel Laureate Wolfgang Ketterle. The University attracted literates like Eichendorff, and Goethe."
1564 - Johannes Acronius Frisius, German physician and mathematician (b. 1520) dies.

Johannes Frisius Digital ID: 1166433. New York Public Library

"Johannes Acronius (or Atrocianus) Frisius (1520, Akkrum, Frisia - 18 October 1564) was a Dutch doctor and mathematician of the 16th century.
He was named after his city of birth, Akkrum in Frisia. From 1547 he worked as professor of mathematics in Basel, then after 1549 as professor of logic, and in 1564 of medicine. He died from the plague in the same year. Apart from mathematical and scientific works, he wrote Latin poetry and humanist tracts (Wikipedia)."

1616 - Nicholas Culpeper was born (d. 1654).

Nicholas Culpeper (18 October 1616 – 10 January 1654) was an English physician and herbalist who documented the medicinal benefits of several English herbs. His Complete Herbal, published in 1653, was an attempt to provide medical information to the general public to treat their own sicknesses and ailments. This book is one of the most successful non-religious English books ever written and is still in print today (About.com)."

1787 - Robert Livingston Stevens was born (d. 1856).

Image: Robert Livingston Stevens. Source: Stevens Institute of Technology.

"U.S. engineer and ship designer who invented the inverted-T railroad rail and the railroad spike. He tested the first steamboat to use screw propellers, invented and built by his father, John Stevens. Robert designed the first concave waterlines on a steamboat (1808), the first supporting iron rods for projecting guard beams on steamboats (1815), the first skeleton walking beams for ferries (1822), the spring pile ferry slip (1822), the placement of boilers on guards outside the paddle wheels of ferries (1822), the hog frame or truss for stiffening ferry boats longitudinally (1827), spring steel bearings of paddle wheel shafts (1828), improved packing for pistons (1840), and was first to successfully burn anthracite coal in a cupola furnace (1818) (Today in Science History)."

1799 - Christian Friedrich Schonbein was born (d. 1868).

"Christian Friedrich Schönbein was a German chemist who was the first to identify ozone. He noticed the distinct smell while investigating the electrolysis of water and identified the source. He named the gas ozone from the Greek word 'ozo' meaning 'smell'. He was also the inventor of gun cotton or cellulose nitrate. Gun cotton was used to replace gun powder in munitions since it did not produce powder's thick clouds of smoke (About.com)."

1870 - Sandblasting was patented by Benjamin Chew Tilghman (26 Oct 1821 - 1901).

"Legend has it that Tilghman had seen the effect of wind-blown sand on windows in the desert while a general in the army, and that this was the basis of his sandblasting invention.

Around 1870, he invented the Sandblasting process and filed a patent for it in the U.S. (US patent 104,408), detailing many of the applications for which this technique is uniquely suited, such as sharpening files, engraving bottles, cleaning boilers or bringing out the grain in wood. Later that year a patent was issued in the UK.

In 1871, at the 40th Exhibition of the American Institute of the City of New York, he was awarded the institute's Great Medal of Honor for his invention; shortly after, he was also awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal by the Franklin Institute.

He refined the technique for various purposes, and in 1877 took out a patent (US patent 252,279) for sharpening files, which he marketed as "Liquid Grindstone".

Further patents and developments followed (Wikipedia)."

1842 - Samuel Finley Breese Morse laid his first telegraph cable in New York Harbor between the Battery and Governor’s Island.

Image: "This head-and-shoulders portrait of Morse is a daguerreotype made between 1844 and 1860 from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. It has been claimed that this portrait of Morse may be the first daguerreotype made in America. If not the first, it is among the earliest." Source: people.clarkson.edu.

This historic event was recorded in Samuel Morse's autobiography, Samuel F.B. Morse: his letters and journals, pages 182-183, written by Samuel Finley Breese Morse and Edward Lind Morse, published in 1914:
"Another most important development of the invention [the telegraphic apparatus] was made in the year 1842. The problem of crossing wide bodies of water had, naturally, presented itself to the mind of the inventor at an early date, and during the most of this year he had devoted himself seriously to its solution. He laboriously insulated about two miles of copper wire with pitch, tar, and rubber, and, on the evening of October 18, 1842, he carried it, wound on a reel to the Battery in New York and hired a row-boat with a man to row him while he paid out his "cable." Tradition says that it was a beautiful moonlight night and that the strollers on the Battery were mystified, and wondered what kind of fish were being trolled for."
1844 - Harvey Washington Wiley was born (d. 1930).

"Harvey Washington Wiley was born in Indiana, in 1844. He served as a corporal in the Civil War and was then a top graduate of Hanover College (1867). Wiley then studied at Indiana Medical College where he received his M.D. in 1871.

After he graduated, Wiley accepted a position teaching chemistry at the medical college, where he taught Indiana's first laboratory course in chemistry beginning in 1873. Following a brief interlude at Harvard, where he was awarded a B.S. degree after only a few months of intense effort, he accepted a faculty position in chemistry at the newly opened Purdue University in 1874. In 1878, Wiley travelled overseas where he attended the lectures of August Wilhelm von Hoffman the celebrated German discoverer of several organic tar derivatives, including analine. While in Germany, Wiley was elected to the prestigious German Chemical Society founded by Hoffman. Wiley spent most of his time in the Imperial Food Laboratory in Bismarck working with Eugene Sell, mastering the use of the polariscope and studying sugar chemistry.

Upon his return to Purdue, Wiley was asked by the Indiana State Board of Health to analyze the sugars and syrups on sale in the state to detect any adulteration. He spent his last years at Purdue studying sorghum culture and sugar chemistry, hoping, as did others, to help the United States develop a strong domestic sugar industry. His first published paper in 1881 discussed the adulteration of sugar with glucose.

Wiley was offered the position of Chief Chemist in the U. S. Department of Agriculture by George Loring, the Commissioner of Agriculture, in 1882.

Wiley soon became a crusader and coalition builder in support of national food and drug regulation which earned him the title of "Father of the Pure Food and Drugs Act" when it became law in 1906. Wiley authored two editions of Foods and Their Adulteration (1907 and 1911), which detailed for a broad audience the history, preparation and subsequent adulteration of basic foodstuffs. He was also a founding father of the Association of Official Analytic Chemists.

Between 1906 and 1912, Wiley's staff expanded from 110 to 146 and in 1910 the Bureau moved into its own building. Appropriations, which had been only $155,000 in 1906 were $963,780 in 1912. In 1912, Wiley resigned and took over the laboratories of Good Housekeeping Magazine where he established the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and worked tirelessly on behalf of the consuming public.

Harvey Wiley died at his home in Washington in 1930, and was buried in Section 13 of Arlington National Cemetery (Arlington National Cemetery Website)."

1854 - Solomon A Andree, Swedish engineer/balloonist/Artic explorer is born (d.1897).

"Polar explorer. In July, 1897 he made an attempt to reach the North Pole by balloon. The attempt failed, and he and his fellow expeditionaries Nils Strindberg (born 4th of September, 1872) and Knut Frænkel (born 14th of February, 1870) died at White Island in their attempt to return back. Their bodies were not recovered until 1930. The grave contains the ashes of all three members of the expedition (Genealogy Archives)."

1871 - Charles Babbage died (b. 1791).

"Charles Babbage was born in December 1791 in the United Kingdom. He was known to many as the ‘father of computing.’ It was in 1822 that he began to earn this nickname that was dubbed to him when he proposed building a machine known as the Difference Engine. The difference engine was supposed to calculate mathematical tables such as logarithms and trigonometric functions. However, before this engine could be completed, Babbage came up with another, more sophisticated idea that was to be the analytical engine, thus, the Difference engine was for the time forgotten about.

It was not until more than 150 years after its conception that a difference engine was built from Babbage’s original drawings by a team in London’s science museum. It was made of cast iron, bronze and steel and weighed three tones. It was 10 feet wide and 6.5 feet tall. The Difference Engine performed its first calculation in the early 1990’s and was able to return results with up to 31 digits of accuracy (web.arch.usyd.edu.au)."

Charles Babbage Obituary: Dubuque Daily Herald, Thursday Morning, October 26, 1871.

1889 - Antonio Meucci, Italian inventor (b. 1808) dies.

The Fitchburg Sentinel, Wednesday, October 23, 1889.

Funeral of Antonio Meucci.

Clifton, S I [Staten Island] Oct 23--The funeral of Antonio Meucci, the friend of Garibaldi took place from the old Garibaldi homestead at this place, various Italian societies from New York attending. The exterior of the house was decorated with the American and Italian colors. After a Masonic ceremony the Italian consul made a short address in which he spoke of the warm friendship that existed at one time between Garibaldi and Meucci, and referred to the many inventions of the deceased the speaker claiming that Meucci was the first and only originator of the telephone. The remains were incinerated at the Mt. Olivet crematory. The ashes will be delivered to the Italian consul who will forward them to Caprera.

1892 - The first long distance telephone line between Chicago and New York was opened.

Image: Photograph of Alexander Graham Bell. Handwritten at the top of the photo: "Bell, Prof. Alex. Graham, opening the N.Y. Chicago long distance telephone line. Oct. 18, 1892." Source: The Smithsonian.

1894 - Louisville, Indiana, USA -- Bridge False Work Collapses and Injures Three.

Logansport Daily Pharos., Logansport, Indiana, Thursday Evening, October 18, 1894.


False Work Tumbles to Pieces and Injures Three Men.

LOUISVILLE, Oct. 18--The ill-fated new Louisville and Jeffersonville bridge has been the scene of another accident. Three men were hurt, one perhaps fatally. The accident was caused by the falling of a part of the false work under the fourth span, which had just been completed and locked. The men were engaged in removing the false work, which is to be removed to the fifth and last span to be completed. They were at work on the first bent or division of the structure. The top timbers had nearly all been removed, and the remainder of the section collapsed. Harry Williams, Tom Prosney, and L. O. Millhouse, of Beaver Falls, Pa., fell with it.

All dropped into a barge below with the falling timbers. Millhouse sustained a fracture of the right arm and two ribs. He also received internal injuries, and is thought he will die. Prosney's arm and back were injured, but he and Williams were able to walk to their homes in the vicinity, their injuries being slight. There have been a number of accidents since work was resumed on the bridge, but the company has taken no chances on a recurrence of the horror of last December. Several times when the wind has attained a high velocity the men have been called from their work until it had subsided.

1895 - Bochott, Germany and Cleveland, Ohio, USA -- The Williamsburgh Journal reports 2 structural failures in the article, "Epitome of the Week. Interesting News Compilation," in the October 18 edition of the newspaper.

The Williamsburgh Journal, Williamsburgh, Iowa, October 18, 1895.

Epitome of the Week.



"...By the collapse of the casting house of the Cleveland valley mills at Cleveland, O., four men were killed and seven others fatally injured."


"...Several employes were killed and a large number injured by the collapse of a spinning mill at Bochott, Germany.

1898 - English brothers Alexander and Francis Elmore applied for a British patent (No. 21,948) for their flotation process to separate valuable ore, such as copper, from the gangue (worthless rock) with which it is associated when mined.

Image: Illustration of an early flotation process from the 1898 British Patent No. 21948 by the Elmore brothers.

"Until the invention of the flotation process, the extraction of metal depended upon being able to hand-pick the material in order to be economical. Taking copper as an example, previously, that meant that using low-grade ores - with less than four percent metal content - would not be practical. In the present, however, available ores are typically even lower in metal content. The current product from mines may typically yield at best 2 percent to as low as 0.8 percent of the metal, as fine particles of the mineral thinly distributed throughout the rock. One hundred tons of ore contains 99 percent waste material that must be separated to produce one ton of copper.

The flotation process depends on the properties of minerals by which their surfaces differ in the degree by which their surfaces can be wetted, and takes best advantage of such differences by suitable choice of the solution.

Ore is first ground into a powder, which is introduced to a series of tanks (known as flotation cells) holding a solution containing oils, constantly agitated, through which air is pumped. In the resulting froth. The particles of copper minerals adhere to the raft of air bubbles on the surface, while the majority of the worthless rock (known as the gangue) sinks. The valuable material is skimmed from the surface froth; the waste material is removed from the bottom of the tank.

With careful control of the chemical conditions in such flotation cells, the results can be selective for the desired product.

The huge amount of material that must be handled for a relatively small yield requires huge plants, fed continuously, operated by large companies able to make the huge capital investment involved (Today in Science History)."

1902 – Pascual Jordan, German physicist was born (d. 1980).

"(Ernst) Pascual Jordan was a German physicist who in the late 1920s founded (with Max Born and later Werner Heisenberg) quantum mechanics using matrix methods, showing how light could be interpreted as composed of discrete quanta of energy. Later, (with Wolfgang Pauli and Eugene Wigner), while it was still in its early stages of development, he contributed to the quantum mechancs of electron-photon interactions, now called quantum electrodynamics. He also originated (concurrently with Robert Dicke) a theory of cosmology that proposed to make the universal constants of nature, (such as the universal gravitational constant G), variable over time (Today in Science History)."

1909 - Comte de Lambert of France sets airplane altitude record of 300 m.

Snippet from "The Des Moines News", Monday, Oct. 18, 1909, Page 2.

1913 - Robert Gilruth, American aviation and space pioneer is born (d. 2000).

"In the beginning of his career he was involved with early research into supersonic flight and rocket-powered aircraft and then with the manned space program, including the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects. He worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics from 1937 to 1958 and its successor agency, NASA, until retirement in 1973.

Gilruth was born in Nashwauk, Minnesota. He attended and completed high school in Duluth, Minnesota. Gilruth received a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering at the University of Minnesota, and received his master's degree in 1936. While there he was a member of the Professional Engineering Fraternity Theta Tau, of which he was later inducted as a Hall of Fame Alumni.

In the NACA Report R755, Requirements for Satisfactory Flying Qualities of an Airplane, published in 1941 he defined a set of requirements for the handling characteristics of an aircraft. Up until this point, no set of guidelines for pilots and aircraft designers existed.

When NASA was created, Gilruth became head of the Space Task Group, tasked with putting a man in space before the Soviet Union. When that didn't happen, Gilruth suggested to President John F. Kennedy that the United States should announce a bigger goal, such as going to the Moon. Soon the Apollo program was born, and Gilruth was made head of the NASA center which ran it, the new Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) (now the Johnson Space Center). Gilruth served as director of the MSC until 1972 and oversaw a total of 25 manned spaceflights, from Mercury-Redstone 3 to Apollo 15 (Wikipedia)."

1922 - The British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation) is founded by a consortium, to establish a nationwide network of radio transmitters to provide a national broadcasting service.

"In 1922, the British Broadcasting Company was formed, five years before it received its first Royal Charter and became the British Broadcasting Corporation. In the 1920's, John Reith, the BBC's founding father, knew of America's unregulated, commercial radio, and the fledgling Soviet Union's rigidly controlled state system. Reith's vision was of an independent British broadcaster able to educate, inform and entertain, without political or commercial pressure. More than one million ten shilling (50p) licences had been issued by 14 Nov 1922 when daily transmissions began. Listening to the wireless in the UK quickly became a social and cultural phenomenon as the BBC in London (call sign 2LO), and its regional stations, gave birth to radio mass communication (Today in Science History)."

1931 - Inventor Thomas Alva Edison died at age 84 in West Orange, N.J.

On the morning of Thomas Edison's death, The Syracuse Herald's headline was, "Thomas A. Edison Dies." A major part of the first pages of the New York paper was dedicated to Edison:

World's Greatest Benefactor Passes Peacefully From Coma to Last Sleep; Wife and Six Children With Him at End

"He Illuminated the Path of Progress by His Inventions," Lasting Memorial Engraved by Congress on Medal of Honor


Wizard of Menlo Park Contributed Immeasurably to War Success by Turning Talents to Synthetic Chemical Study

West Orange, N. J., Oct. 18 (Sunday) (AP).--Thomas A. Edison died at his home at 3:24 A.M. today. He was 84 years old.

The pronouncement of death was made by Dr. Hubert S. Howe, Mr. Edison's personal physician, at 324 A.M., and transmitted by Arthur Walsh at 3:37 A.M.

With Mr. Edison when he died were his wife, Mrs. Mina Miller Edison, his six children, Dr. Howe and two nurses.

Dr. Howe had been at Mr. Edison's bedside for the past 48 hours.

The announcement of death, given to the press by Mr. Walsh, vice president of the Thomas Edison Industries, said:

"Thomas Alva Edison quietly passed away at 24 minutes after 3 A.M., Oct. 18, 1931." Signed: Dr. Hubert S. Howe.

The stamina and energy displayed by the master "wizard" during a career in which he lighted the world and contributed more than 1,200 patents to its well-being, enabled him to bear up for a long time against an illness which would have killed most men of his age quickly.

More than two years ago he suffered a severe attack of pneumonia. He conquered this ailment and returned to his work, but his friends believed it had a permanently weakening effect.

On Aug. 1 of this year he collapsed suddenly in his home and the eyes of the world were turned on the 13-acre estate, Glenmont, where the aged inventor lay ill.

Dr. Hubert S. Howe said the collapse was traceable directly to a curtailment of diet to relieve gastric ulcers. Mr. Edison also was suffering from diabetes, Bright's disease and uremic poisoning.

Source: "The Syracuse Herald", Syracuse, New York, Sunday Morning, October 18, 1931.

1954 – Texas Instruments announces the first Transistor radio.

1955 - A new atomic subparticle called a negative proton (antiproton) was discovered at U.C. Berkeley.

Image: The antiproton discovery team included, from left, Emilio Segrè, Clyde Wiegand, Edward Lofgren, Owen Chanberlain and Thomas Ypsilantis. Source: www.lbl.gov.

"The existence of the 'negative proton,' otherwise known as an 'antiproton' is discovered at the University of California, Berkeley. The search for the antimatter subparticle began in 1932, when the existence of the positron, a particle with the mass of an electron despite a positive charge, was discovered. It took nearly thirteen years to discover the antiproton because its creation involved two thousand times the energy, requiring a much larger “atom smasher” than existed before the Bevatron was built at UC Berkeley. The subparticles were detected when copper was bombarded with protons accelerated to 6.2 billion electron volts of energy, creating of sixty antiprotons (The Great Geek Manual)."

1958 - William Higinbotham introduces the world’s first video game, Tennis for Two.

1962 - Dr. James D. Watson of the United States, and Dr. Francis Crick and Dr. Maurice Wilkins of Britain, were named winners of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for their work in determining the double-helix molecular structure of DNA.

Image: NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS--The 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology was jointly awarded to United States scientist james Dewey Watson (L) and British scientists Harry Compton Crick (R) and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins (not shown) Thursday. The Nobel committee of the Stockholm Caroline Institute said they were honored "because of their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nuclear acids and its significance for information transfer in living materials." (UPI)

Source: "The Pharos-Tribune", Logansport, Indiana, Thursday Evening, October 18, 1962, Page 14.

1962 - U.S. performs atmospheric nuclear test at Johnston Island.

1967 – The Soviet probe Venera 4 reaches Venus and becomes the first spacecraft to measure the atmosphere of another planet.

Image: Tipton Daily Tribune, Tipton, Indiana, Wednesday, October 18, 1967.

1969 - The federal government banned artificial sweeteners known as cyclamates because of evidence they caused cancer in laboratory rats.

"Carroll Daily Times Herald", Carroll, Iowa, 51401, Saturday, October 18, 1969.

Finch Orders Stocks Off Shelves--
Bans Cyclamate-Containing Foods, Drinks After Feb. 1

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of Welfare Robert H. Finch ordered today that all foods and drinks containing the artificial sweetener cyclamate be removed from grocery shelves by Feb. 1 because of new evidence the substance causes cancer in animals.

Finch emphasized, however, "we have no evidence at this point that cyclamates have indeed caused cancer in humans."

He said he would not recommend that families who now have cyclamate-containing foods and drinks in their homes throw them away or stop using them at the present time.

Cyclamates, which Finch estimated are a $1-billion annual industry, are found mainly in diet drinks and foods. They also are contained in a wide range of nondiet foods from bacon to canned fruits and children's vitamins.

Finch said he acted after two different laboratories presented evidence this week that cyclamates in very high doses produced bladder cancer in rats and mice.

The evidence was reviewed by government scientists and a panel of the National Academy of Science, which recommended the strong restriction on cyclamates.

Finch said beginning immediately, no more cyclamates will be allowed in the production of general purpose foods and beverages. He said beverages which contain the highest level of cyclamates must be removed from grocery shelves by Jan. 1. Other artificially sweetened foods, which he said contain lower levels of cyclamate and pose a "very minimal risk," must be removed by Feb. 1.

Finch said cyclamate-containing foods and beverages will still be available to persons who require them for medical reasons on a prescription-type basis. These persons would include those with diabetes or obesity.

"My decision to remove cyclamates from the list of approved substances in no sense should be interpreted as a lifesaving or emergency measure," Finch said at a news conference. " I have acted under the provisions of law because it is imperative to follow a prudent course in all matters concerning public health."

He said the law requires that "any food additive must be removed from the market if it has been shown to cause cancer when fed to humans or animals."

Finch said he will hold consultations today with representatives of the affected industries and consumer groups to determine the best way of offering cyclamate compounds on a restricted basis and on development of "new and safe formulations without cyclamates."

Several government scientists reinforced Finch's statement that at the present time there is no reason to believe cyclamates cause cancer in man.

Dr. Jesse L. Steinfeld, a deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Health Education and Welfare, noted that the level of cyclamates that cause tumors in rats "is fifty times the maximum amount previously proposed for adult human consumption or ingestion."

He also said the technique used to demonstrate cyclamate-caused cancers in mice "is controversial and the significance of positive findings unknown."

Commissioner Herbert L. Ley Jr., of the Food and Drug Administration said his agency would undertake intensified new investigations of other food additives to determine whether they may be harmful to man.

Cyclamate is one of two calorie-free chemical compounds that have the sweetening power of sugar. The other is saccharine. Generally one part saccharine is mixed with 10 parts cyclamate to sweeten food and drinks.

A wide range of foods and beverages contain cyclamates. They include such carbonated drinks as Tab, Diet Pepsi, Diet Cola, Fresca, Like, Wink and Hire's Root Beer.

Cyclamates are also found in powdered drinks such as Kool Aid, Funny Face, Nectar Orange, and Drink Aid Cherry.

Fruit juices that contain cyclamates include Low Cal Orange, Sun Burst Orange, Cranberry Cocktail, Hawaiian Punch, and Welchade Grape.

Weight control foods containing cyclamates include Metrecal, Sego, and Chef's dressing.

Cyclamate is the major component of such food sweeteners as Mott's Figure Control, Calorie Free, No-Cal, and Sweet'n It.

1969 - Soyuz 8 returns to Earth.

"New Castle News", Saturday, October 18, 1969.

Soviet Soyuz 8 returns for safe earth landing


MOSCOW (UPI)--The Soviets today safely brought back to Earth their Soyuz 8 spacecraft and its two-man crew, completing their biggest week in space, a period that saw seven cosmonauts orbiting simultaneously in three ships.

The Tass News Agency said Soyuz 8 ended its five-day flight in the Karangda recovery area in Central Asia, as had its sister ships, Soyuz 6 and 7 on Thursday and Friday. The cosmonauts were reported in good condition.

Prior to their return, Tass said Soyuz 8 crewmen Col. Vladimir Shatlov and engineer Alexei Yeliseyev tested "new, extremely convenient ways of navigation."

The cosmonauts established communication with the flight control center through a communications vessel named after the dead cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, and the communication satellite Molniya 1, the agency said.

"The experiment was successful. Communications were stable," Tass said.

The agency also said Shatlov and Yeliseyev held a "space press conference," answering questions of Soviet journalists. The questions and answers were not reported.

Soyuz 7, with three cosmonauts on board, parachuted to a soft landing Friday, a day after Soyuz 6 came down with its two cosmonauts. All are reported in good condition. Soyuz 6 went up last Saturday, Soyuz 7 on Sunday and Soyuz 8 on Monday.

According to official reports, the mission of the space troika had been accomplished "according to plan." Among other things, the men carried out cold welding experiments, weather research and geological observations.

Western space experts say this week's flights left many questions unanswered--although it may be possible, they said, that the seven cosmonauts accomplished things that the Russians were not willing to disclose.

Some speculated that unexpected difficulties may have developed during the flight of the three Soyuz ships, precluding spectacular results.

The government newspaper Izvestia said Friday night the purpose of the three-craft flight had been to "bring closer the period of permanent orbital space ships."

As Soyuz 7 was lowered gently onto Soviet ground Friday, the Russians announced their fifth launching in a week. An unmanned research vehicle, Cosmos 302, was fired into orbit from the Baikonur Space Center.

1976 - Nobel prize for chemistry awarded to William N Lipscomb Jr.

Image: Celebrating Nobel win. Dr. William N. Lipscomb celebrates with students and friends Monday in his laboratory at Harvard after he was named winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his studies in chemical bonding. (AP Wirephoto)

Source: "The Abilene Reporter-News", Abilene, Texas, Monday Evening, October 18, 1976, Page 2-A.

1985 - Nintendo releases the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in New York.

"Nintendo releases the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in New York. The system is an immediate success and Nintendo launches the game nationwide in February 1986. The NES comes with the Robotic Operating Buddy (R.O.B.) and the Zapper light gun. Eighteen games are available at the launch of the game system, two of which (Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros.) come bundled with the system. The marketing slogan for the NES in North America is “Now You’re Playing With Power!” Price: US$125.

Nintendo releases eighteen games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) at the time of the release of the system in the US, including: 10-Yard Fight, Baseball, Clu Clu Land, Donkey Kong Jr. Math, Duck Hunt, Excitebike, Golf, Gyromite, Hogan’s Alley, Ice Climber, Kung Fu, Mach Rider, Pinball, Stack-Up, Tennis, Wild Gunman, Wrecking Crew, and Super Mario Bros. (The Great Geek Manual)."

1989 - U.S. 62nd manned space mission STS-34 (Atlantis 5) launches into orbit.

1989 - Galileo orbiter spacecraft launched.

1993 - STS-58 (Columbia) launches into orbit.

1994 - Version 5.000 of the Perl programming language is released.

1996 - Apple Computer introduced the Apple Performa 6360 CD computer, featuring a 160 MHz PowerPC 603e processor, a 8X CD-ROM drive, a 28.8 kbps modem, 1MB video RAM, 16MB RAM, a 1.2GB Quantum IDE hard drive, one PCI slot, and over twenty-four applications. Price: US$1,499.

Apple also introduced the Performa 6400/200 “Video Editing Edition,” featuring a 200MHz PowerPC 603e processor, 32MB RAM, a 2.4GB hard drive, 1MB video RAM, a 28.8kbps modem, an 8X CD-ROM drive, a 256KB level-2 cache, Avid Cinema video editing software, and over twenty-four applications. Price: US$2,699.

"This is the first thing new Macintosh Performa 6360 and 6400 owners would see when starting their computers for the first time. These were the most powerful Performas ever, with a/v inputs, TV tuner cards, video editing capabilities, and early ATI 3D accelerators. They were also the last Performas. Circa 1996."

2002 - Nikolai Rukavishnikov, cosmonaut dies (b. 1932).

Nikolai Rukavishnikov Obituary: The Indiana Gazette, Sunday, October 20, 2002, Page A4.

Nikolai Rukavishnikov

MOSCOW -- Cosmonaut Nikolai Rukavishnikov, who encountered hair-raising problems on two of his three space missions for the Soviet Union, died Saturday of a heart attack, Russian media reported. He was 70.

Rukavishnikov's first space voyage was in 1971 aboard the Soyuz 10, which was to have delivered the first humans to the orbiting Salyut-1 space station. The craft docked with the space station, but the crew were unable to gain access, reportedly due to a faulty hatch, and the mission was aborted, lasting less than two days.

In 1974, he made his next flight aboard the Soyuz 16, staying in space for nearly six days in a mission that was part of the U.S.-Soviet Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

His last mission was Soyuz 33 in 1979, which turned into a white-knuckle space drama.

The craft was to dock with the Salyut-6 station, but an engine failure left it unable to maneuver. The same engine was to have sent the spacecraft back to Earth.

Rukavishnikov was able to fire up a backup engine, which also didn't work properly but was sufficient to return him and Bulgarian comrade Georgi Ivanov safely.

The ITAR-Tass news agency said this was the first time a spacecraft had been landed under manual control.