space exploration

Recovering the Lost Lunar Photographs

Recovering the Lost Lunar Photographs

Maybe you remember that we had an article on the very first image of the Earth taken from abroad?[1] It was an image taken in 1966 by one of the Lunar Orbiter space probes, which had the task of taking closeup pictures of the lunar surface to find a well suited landing spot for the upcoming Apollo Moon missions. Well, you might wonder, how these photographs came back to Earth. Well, the…
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TIROS-1 and the First TV pictures of the Earth from Space

TIROS-1 and the First TV pictures of the Earth from Space

On April 1, 1960, U.S. weather satellite TIROS-1 sends the very first TV picture of the Earth from space. Today, we are used to satellite pictures from the earth in the daily weather report. But, there was a time some 50 years ago, when pictures of the earth from space were still something exciting. TIROS I (or TIROS-1, short for Television and InfraRed Observation Satellite) was the first successful low-Earth orbital weather…
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The Deorbit of Russian Space Station MIR

The Deorbit of Russian Space Station MIR

On March 23, 2001, Soviet space station MIR after more than 10 years of operation reentered Earth‘s atmosphere and crashed down in the Southern Pacific. MIR [7] held the record for the largest artificial satellite orbiting the Earth until that record was surpassed by the International Space Station. The First Modular Space Station Mir was the first modular space station and was assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996. Its famous predecessor, the…
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A4 – The First Human Built Vessel To Touch Outer Space

A4 – The First Human Built Vessel To Touch Outer Space

On October 3, 1942, the very first vessel constructed by humans, the ‘Aggregat 4‘ (A4) touched outer space. The liquid-propellant rocket was designed to be the world‘s first long-range combat-ballistic missile, but also the first known human artifact to enter outer space. Designer of the A4 was German rocket scientist and space pioneer Wernher von Braun, who was born on March 23, 1912, in Wirsitz (today Wyrzysk), Posen Province, Prussia, Germany (today Poland).…
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SpaceShipOne – the first private Spaceship

SpaceShipOne – the first private Spaceship

On September 29, 2004, the Burt Rutan Ansari X Prize entry SpaceShipOne performed a successful spaceflight, the first of two required to win the prize. Thus, SpaceShipOne also officially became the very first commercial spaceship, after achieving the very first space testflight already on June 21, 2004. The Ansari X Prize was proposed in 1995 demanding a demonstration of a private vehicle capable of flying a pilot to the edge of space,…
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The First Image from Abroad – Earth Rising and Lunar Orbiter 1

The First Image from Abroad – Earth Rising and Lunar Orbiter 1

On August 23, 1966, the space probe Lunar Orbiter 1 sent the very first images of the earth rising above the moon‘s surface back to earth. Lunar Orbiter 1 was part of the Lunar Orbiter program started in the 1960’s in preparation to the Apollo moon landing. The project consisted of five unmanned spacecrafts, equally built to take pictures of the moon. The purpose was to find a safe landing place for…
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The First Woman in Space – Valentina Tereshkova

The First Woman in Space – Valentina Tereshkova

On June 16th 1963 Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman went to space with Russian space mission Vostok 6. She was selected out of more than 400 applicants to pilot Vostok 6, becoming both the first woman and the first civilian to fly in space, as she was only honorarily inducted into the USSR‘s Air Force as a condition on joining the Cosmonaut Corps. On her three-day mission in space, she performed various tests…
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Venera 3 and the Soviet Venera Space Probe Program

Venera 3 and the Soviet Venera Space Probe Program

On November 16, 1965, Soviet spacecraft Venera 3 was launched. The Venera program space probe was built and launched by the Soviet Union to explore the surface of Venus. It possibly crashed on Venus on 1 March 1966, possibly making Venera 3 the first space probe to hit the surface of another planet. The Venera Series Space Probes  The Venera series space probes were developed by the Soviet Union between 1961 and…
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John Glenn – The First American to orbit the Earth

John Glenn – The First American to orbit the Earth

On July 18, 1921, U.S. astronaut and statesman John Herschel Glenn Jr. was born. In 1962 Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times. Before joining NASA, Glenn was a distinguished fighter pilot in World War II and Korea. In 1998, still a sitting senator, Glenn was the oldest person to fly in space as a crew member of the Discovery space shuttle and the only person…
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Mariner 4 and the First Pictures from Mars

Mariner 4 and the First Pictures from Mars

On July 15, 1965, NASA spaceprobe Mariner 4 performed the first successful flyby of the planet Mars, returning the first pictures of the Martian surface. It captured the first images of another planet ever returned from deep space; their depiction of a cratered, seemingly dead world largely changed the view of the scientific community of life on Mars. The two Soviet probes Marsnik 1 and 2 were launched in October 1960 to fly…
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