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

Shea demonstrates a docking between the Apollo lunar module and command module
Joseph Francis Shea (September 5, 1925 – February 14, 1999) was an American aerospace engineer and NASA manager. Born in the New York City borough of the Bronx, he was educated at the University of Michigan, receiving a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics in 1955. After working for Bell Labs on the radio inertial guidance system of the Titan I intercontinental ballistic missile, he was hired by NASA in 1961. As Deputy Director of NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight, and later as head of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, Shea played a key role in shaping the course of the Apollo program, helping to lead NASA to the decision in favor of lunar orbit rendezvous and supporting "all up" testing of the Saturn V rocket. While sometimes causing controversy within the agency, Shea was remembered by his former colleague George Mueller as "one of the greatest systems engineers of our time".

Deeply involved in the investigation of the 1967 Apollo 1 fire, Shea suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the stress that he suffered. He was removed from his position and left NASA shortly afterwards. From 1968 until 1990 he worked as a senior manager at Raytheon in Lexington, Massachusetts, and thereafter became an adjunct professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. While Shea served as a consultant for NASA on the redesign of the International Space Station in 1993, he was forced to resign from the position due to health issues.

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Columbia launches on STS-78
Credit: NASA - [1]

Space Shuttle Columbia launches on its 23rd mission, STS-78, on June 20, 1996.

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...

  • Ares-1 launch 02-2008.jpg

...that engineers claim the Ares I rocket (pictured) would be more aerodynamically stable if flying backwards than in the normal direction?

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