Spaceflight is the movement of spacecraft into and through outer space, primarily using rocket technology for propulsion. Spaceflight is used in space exploration, the endeavour to reach, explore, and exploit the space outside the Earth's atmosphere, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications. It is generally based on the use of rockets to transport machines, animals, and humans to, and subsequently through, space. Additional non-commercial uses of spaceflight include space observatories, reconnaissance satellites and other earth observation satellites. Objects launched into space may follow a sub-orbital trajectory and return to Earth immediately, stay in orbit around Earth, travel in the space between the planets, or aim to leave the space dominated by the Sun completely.
The Shuttle–Mir Program
was a collaborative space program between Russia
and the United States
, which involved American Space Shuttles
visiting the Russian space station Mir
, Russian cosmonauts flying on the shuttle and an American astronaut flying aboard a Soyuz spacecraft
to engage in long-duration expeditions aboard Mir
The program, sometimes called 'Phase One', was intended to allow the United States to learn from Russian experience into long-duration spaceflight and to foster a spirit of cooperation between the two nations and their respective space agencies, NASA and RKA. It would prepare the way for further cooperative space ventures; specifically, 'Phase Two' of the joint project, the construction of the International Space Station. Announced in 1993 with the first mission occurring in 1994, the program continued until its scheduled completion in 1998, and consisted of eleven shuttle missions, a joint Soyuz flight and almost 1000 days in space for American astronauts over seven expeditions.
During the four-year program, many 'firsts' in spaceflight were obtained by the two nations, including the first American astronaut to launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft, the largest spacecraft ever flown at that time in history, and the first American spacewalk using a Russian Orlan spacesuit.
The program was, however, marred by various concerns, notably the safety of Mir following a fire and collision on board the station, financial issues with the cash-strapped Russian Space Program and worries from astronauts about the attitudes of the program administrators. Nevertheless, a large amount of science, expertise in space station construction and knowledge in working in a cooperative space venture was gained from the combined operations, allowing the construction of the ISS to proceed much more smoothly than would have been likely.
Glynn S. Lunney
(born November 27, 1936) is a retired NASA engineer
. An employee of NASA since its foundation in 1958, Lunney was a flight director
during the Gemini
programs, and was on duty during historic events such as the Apollo 11
lunar ascent and the pivotal hours of the Apollo 13
crisis. At the end of the Apollo program, he became manager of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
, the first collaboration in spaceflight between the United States and the Soviet Union
. Later, he served as manager of the Space Shuttle program
before leaving NASA in 1985 and later becoming a Vice President of the United Space Alliance
Lunney was a key figure in America's manned space program from Project Mercury through the coming of the Space Shuttle. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the National Space Trophy, which he was given by the Rotary Club in 2005. Chris Kraft, NASA's first flight director, described Lunney as "a true hero of the space age", saying that he was "one of the outstanding contributors to the exploration of space of the last four decades".
- 3 March: American astronaut William R. Pogue, veteran of Skylab 4, passes away, aged 84.
- 19 February: Russian/Soviet cosmonaut Valeri Kubasov, veteran of three spaceflights including the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, dies, aged 79.
- 19 February: American astronaut Dale Gardner, veteran of two spaceflights, dies following a stroke, aged 65.
- 9 January: Orbital Sciences conducts the first operational launch of the Cygnus spacecraft for the Commercial Resupply Services to the International Space Station.
- 5 January: ISRO successfully launches GSAT-14 with the GSLV Mark II rocket, featuring their first indigenously-produced cryogenic upper stage.
- 28 December: Russia conducts the maiden flight of the Soyuz-2-1v rocket.
- 14 December: Chang'e 3 becomes the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon since 1976, and deploys the Jade Rabbit rover.