Portal:Human spaceflight

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The Human Spaceflight Portal

Aldrin Apollo 11.jpg Human spaceflight is a spaceflight with a human crew, currently being conducted as part of the Russian Soyuz programme, American Space Shuttle program and Chinese Shenzhou program, in addition to the long-term International Space Station.

Human spaceflight is conducted as part of space exploration, the endeavour to reach, explore, and exploit the space outside the Earth's atmosphere, and also in commercial activities, such as space tourism. The first human spaceflight, Vostok 1, was conducted in 1961. Since then, more than 500 people have travelled past the Kármán line, the official edge of space, in support of various Earth orbital missions, space station expeditions, spacewalks and missions to the Moon.

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An American stamp commemorating Apollo-Soyuz, Issue of 1975
The Apollo–Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) (Russian: Экспериментальный полёт «Союз» — «Аполлон») (Eksperimantalniy polyot Soyuz-Apollon) flew in July 1975. It was the last Apollo mission, the first joint U.S./Soviet space flight, and the last manned US space mission until the first Space Shuttle flight in April 1981.

Though the mission included both joint and separate scientific experiments (including an engineered eclipse of the Sun by Apollo for Soyuz to take photographs of the solar corona) and provided useful engineering experience for future joint US/Russian space flights such as the Shuttle-Mir Program and the International Space Station, its primary purpose was symbolic. ASTP was a symbol of détente that the two superpowers were pursuing at the time, and it ended the tension of the Space Race.

This was astronaut Deke Slayton's only flight. He was chosen as one of the original Mercury Seven in April 1959 but had been grounded until 1972 for medical reasons.

Selected biography

Gerard K. O'Neill
Gerard Kitchen O'Neill (February 6, 1927 – April 27, 1992) was an American physicist and space activist. As a faculty member of Princeton University, he invented a device called the particle storage ring for high-energy physics experiments. Later, he invented a magnetic launcher called the mass driver. In the 1970s, he developed a plan to build human settlements in outer space, including a space habitat design known as the O'Neill cylinder. He founded the Space Studies Institute, an organization devoted to funding research into space manufacturing and colonization.

O'Neill began researching high-energy particle physics at Princeton in 1954 after he received his doctorate from Cornell University. Two years later, he published his theory for a particle storage ring. This invention allowed particle physics experiments at much higher energies than had previously been possible. In 1965 at Stanford University, he performed the first colliding beam physics experiment.

While teaching physics at Princeton, O'Neill became interested in the possibility that humans could live in outer space. He researched and proposed a futuristic idea for human settlement in space, the O'Neill cylinder, in "The Colonization of Space", his first paper on the subject. He held a conference on space manufacturing at Princeton in 1975. Many who became post-Apollo-era space activists attended. O'Neill built his first mass driver prototype with professor Henry Kolm in 1976. He considered mass drivers critical for extracting the mineral resources of the Moon and asteroids. His award-winning book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space inspired a generation of space exploration advocates. He died of leukemia in 1992.

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STS-115 EVA 2 on Day 5.jpg
Credit: NASA - [1]

Dan Burbank and (the barely visible) Steve MacLean perform the second spacewalk of STS-115, continuing the installation of the P3/P4 segment of the Integrated Truss Structure on the International Space Station.

Next scheduled manned launch

The next scheduled manned launch is of Soyuz TMA-17M on a Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying three Expedition 45 crew members to the International Space Station. Launch from Baikonur Site 1/5 is scheduled no earlier than July 24, 2015.
For a full launch schedule see 2015 in spaceflight

Did you know...

…that the N1 rocket (pictured) had 30 engines just to power its first stage.

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