1963 in spaceflight

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For launches in the first half of the year, see 1963 in spaceflight (January–June), for launches in the second half, see 1963 in spaceflight (July–December)
1963 in spaceflight
X15 on B52 wing pylon.jpg
A North American X-15 made two suborbital flights in July and August, becoming the first reusable spacecraft
Orbital launches
First 4 January
Last 21 December
Total 70
Successes 50
Failures 17
Partial failures 3
Catalogued 55
Rockets
Maiden flights Atlas LV-3A Agena-D
Atlas LV-3C Centaur-B
Polyot 11A59
Scout X-2B
Scout X-3M
Scout X-4
Thor DSV-2A Ablestar
TAT SLV-2A Agena-B
TAT SLV-2A Agena-D
Voskhod 11A57
Retirements Atlas LV-3B
Atlas LV-3C Centaur-B
Scout X-2B
Scout X-2M
Scout X-3M
Manned flights
Orbital 3
Suborbital 2
Total travellers 4

Deep space rendezvous[edit]

Date (GMT) Spacecraft Event Remarks
5 April Luna 4 Flyby of the Moon Failed lander, closest approach: 8,336 kilometres (5,180 mi)
19 June Mars 1 First flyby of Mars Closest approach: 193,000 kilometres (120,000 mi), communications system failed before flyby

Notable creations of orbital debris[edit]

Date/Time (UTC) Source object Event type Pieces tracked Remarks
9 May[1] Westford-2 Communications experiment 46[1] As part of an experiment to facilitate international telecommunications, the US Military deployed an artificial space ring consisting of hundreds of millions of tiny copper needles[2] which would act as antennas reflecting radio signals at the target wavelength of 8 GHz. A large proportion of the needles were not dispersed properly and remained stuck in clumps that were discovered and tracked by the SSN between 1966 and 1991. As of October 2013, 46 of the 144 detected debris clumps remain in orbit.[1] The needles that were properly dispersed are believed to have decayed.[1]

This event prompted international protests[3][4][5][6] and influenced the drafting of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.[3]

Orbital launch summary[edit]

By country[edit]

1963 Launches.svg
  Soviet Union
  United States
Orbital launch attempts by country in 1963
Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
Remarks
 Soviet Union 24 15 9 0
 United States 46 35 8 3

By rocket[edit]

Rocket Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
Atlas LV-3A Agena-B  United States 3 1 1 1
Atlas LV-3A Agena-D  United States 5 5 0 0 Maiden flight
Atlas LV-3B  United States 1 1 0 0 Retired
Atlas LV-3C Centaur-B  United States 1 1 0 0 Only flight
Delta B  United States 6 6 0 0
Delta C  United States 1 1 0 0
Kosmos-2I 63S1  Soviet Union 8 4 4 0
Molniya 8K78  Soviet Union 1 0 1 0
Molniya-L 8K78L  Soviet Union 3 1 2 0 Maiden flight
Polyot 11A59  Soviet Union 1 1 0 0 Maiden flight
Scout X-2B  United States 1 0 1 0 Only flight
Scout X-2M  United States 1 0 1 0 Retired
Scout X-3  United States 2 0 1 1
Scout X-3M  United States 1 1 0 0 Only flight
Scout X-4  United States 2 1 0 1 Maiden flight
Thor DSV-2A Ablestar  United States 2 2 0 0 Maiden flight
Thor DM-21 Agena-B  United States 1 1 0 0
Thor SLV-2 Agena-D (Thor DM-21 Agena-D)  United States 8 6 2 0 Redesignated midyear
Thrust Augmented Thor SLV-2A Agena-B  United States 1 1 0 0 Maiden flight
Thrust Augmented Thor SLV-2A Agena-D  United States 10 8 2 0 Maiden flight
Voskhod 11A57  Soviet Union 1 1 0 0 Maiden flight
Vostok-K 8K72K  Soviet Union 2 2 0 0
Vostok-2 8A92  Soviet Union 8 6 2 0

By orbit[edit]

Orbital regime Launches Achieved Not Achieved Accidentally
Achieved
Remarks
Low Earth 57 44 13 2
Medium Earth 5 4 1 0
High Earth 5 3 2 0 Including Highly elliptical orbits
Geosynchronous/transfer 2 2 0 0
Heliocentric 1 0 1 0

References[edit]

Generic references:

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "West Ford Needles: Where are They Now?" (PDF). Orbital Debris Quarterly News. NASA. 17 (4). October 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Shapiro, I. I.; Jones, H. M.; Perkins, C.W. (May 1964), "Orbital properties of the West Ford dipole belt", Proceedings of the IEEE, 52 (5): 469–518, doi:10.1109/proc.1964.2992 
  3. ^ a b Terrill Jr., Delbert R. (May 1999), "The Air Force Role in Developing International Outer Space Law" (PDF), Air Force History and Museums Program, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press: 63 
  4. ^ Butrica, Andrew J. (ed.), "Beyond the Ionosphere: The Development of Satellite Communications", history.nasa.gov, The NASA History Series, NASA 
  5. ^ Bondi, H. (June 1962), "West Ford Project, Introductory Note by the Secretary", Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 3: 99, Bibcode:1962QJRAS...3...99. 
  6. ^ "Protests Continue Abroad", The New York Times, London: Reuters (published October 23, 1961), p. 12, October 22, 1961, ISSN 0362-4331