space exploration

Mariner 9 – The first Spacecraft to Orbit another Planet

Mariner 9 – The first Spacecraft to Orbit another Planet

On November 14, 1971, U.S. spacecraft Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet – only narrowly beating the Soviets’s Mars 2 and Mars 3, which both arrived within a month. After months of dust storms it managed to send back clear pictures of Mars’ surface. The Exploration of Mars Many unmanned space probes have been sent to Mars, some of which were successful. About half of the missions ended…
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Reaching the Edge of Outer Space – the X-15 Rocket Space Plane

Reaching the Edge of Outer Space – the X-15 Rocket Space Plane

On October 3, 1967, the X-15 rocket plane achieved a world record speed of Mach 6.7, which is 7,274 km/h (4,520 mph or over a mile per second) with U.S. Air Force pilot Pete Knight. As by today, this record still holds for the highest speed ever reached by a manned, powered aircraft. Among the notable pilots of the X-15 was also Neil Armstrong,[4] later a NASA astronaut and first man to set…
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Viking 1 and its successful Mission to Mars

Viking 1 and its successful Mission to Mars

On August 20, 1975, NASA spacecraft Viking 1 was launched and sent to Mars. The Viking program was was the most expensive and ambitious, but also highly successful mission ever sent to Mars. The Viking spacecraft was composed of two main parts: an orbiter designed to photograph the surface of Mars from orbit, and a lander designed to study the planet from the surface. Moreover, I remember the exciting messages in the…
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Rocket Launch Site Cape Canaveral

Rocket Launch Site Cape Canaveral

On July 24, 1950, Bumper 8, a modified German World War II A4 rocket, became the first ever rocket to be launched from Cape Canaveral. Cape Canaveral already became the test site for missiles the year before, and was chosen for rocket launches to take advantage of the Earth’s rotation, because of its southern location. Cape Canaveral In 1949, U.S. President Harry Truman established the Joint Long Range Proving Grounds at Cape Canaveral to test missiles. The location had…
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Tha Last Space Mission of Vladimir Komarov

Tha Last Space Mission of Vladimir Komarov

On April 24, 1967, Soviet astronaut Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov died in the first fatal accident of a space mission. Komarov was killed when the Soyuz 1 space capsule crashed after re-entry due to a parachute failure. During his time at the Cosmonaut Training Center, he contributed to space vehicle design, cosmonaut training and evaluation and public relations. He was eventually selected to command the first Soviet multiman Voskhod 1 spaceflight that presented a…
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Valeri Polyakov and the Longest Single Space Flight

Valeri Polyakov and the Longest Single Space Flight

On March 22, 1995, Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov returned to earth after a 437 days space flight, setting a record for the longest single spaceflight in human history so far, staying aboard the Mir space station.[4] Polyakov did not suffer from any prolonged performance impairments after returning to Earth. In light of these findings, researchers concluded that a stable mood and overall function could be maintained during extended duration spaceflights, such as manned…
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Lunokhod 2 and the Soviet Moon Programme

Lunokhod 2 and the Soviet Moon Programme

On January 16, 1973, Soviet unmanned lunar rover Lunokhod 2 took its first TV images of the surrounding area, then rolled down a ramp to the surface of the Moon, and took first pictures of the landing site. Lunokhod 2 was the second of two unmanned lunar rovers landed on the Moon by the Soviet Union as part of the Lunokhod programme. The Lunokhods were primarily designed to support the Soviet manned moon…
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The First US Space Station Skylab

The First US Space Station Skylab

On May 25, 1973, the first crew of astronauts reached the US space station Skylab. Skylab was the very first US space station and orbited Earth from 1973 to 1979. A Brief History of Space Stations The first to give serious, scientifically grounded consideration to space stations were Konstantin Tsiolkovsky [7] and Hermann Oberth [8] about two decades apart in the early 20th century. In 1929 Herman Potočnik‘s The Problem of Space Travel was published,…
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Bruno Rossi and the Cosmic Radiation

Bruno Rossi and the Cosmic Radiation

On April 13, 1905, Italian experimental physicist Bruno Benedetto Rossi was born. Rossi made major contributions to particle physics and the study of cosmic rays. He was one of the first to use rockets to study cosmic rays above the Earth‘s atmosphere. Finding X-rays from space he became the grandfather of high energy astrophysics, being largely responsible for starting X-ray astronomy, as well as the study of interplanetary plasma. “In any case,…
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Vanguard 1 – the first Solar Powered Satellite

Vanguard 1 – the first Solar Powered Satellite

On March 17, 1958, Vanguard 1, the fourth artificial Earth orbital satellite was launched, which was the first solar-powered satellite. Although communication with it was lost in 1964, it remains the oldest manmade satellite still in orbit. It was designed to test the launch capabilities of a three-stage launch vehicle as a part of Project Vanguard, and the effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit. It…
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