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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Space Shuttle Challenger's smoke plume after in-flight breakup that killed all seven STS-51-L  crew members.
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida, United States, at 11:39 a.m. EST (16:39 UTC).

Disintegration of the entire vehicle began after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The O-ring failure caused a breach in the SRB joint it sealed, allowing pressurized hot gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to the separation of the right-hand SRB's aft attachment and the structural failure of the external tank. Aerodynamic forces promptly broke up the orbiter.

The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were eventually recovered from the ocean floor after a lengthy search and recovery operation. Although the exact timing of the death of the crew is unknown, several crew members are known to have survived the initial breakup of the spacecraft. However, the shuttle had no escape system and the astronauts did not survive the impact of the crew compartment with the ocean surface.

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Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American aviator and a former astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, and United States Naval Aviator. He was the first person to set foot on the Moon. His first spaceflight was aboard Gemini 8 in 1966, for which he was the command pilot, becoming one of the first U.S. civilians to fly in space (Joseph A. Walker became the first US civilian in space aboard X-15 Flight 90 several years earlier). On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft together with pilot David Scott. Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission on July 20, 1969. On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2½ hours exploring while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module. Armstrong is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was in the United States Navy and saw action in the Korean War. After the war, he served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center, where he flew over 900 flights in a variety of aircraft. As a research pilot, Armstrong served as project pilot on the F-100 Super Sabre A and C aircraft, F-101 Voodoo, and the Lockheed F-104A Starfighter. He also flew the Bell X-1B, Bell X-5, North American X-15, F-105 Thunderchief, F-106 Delta Dart, B-47 Stratojet, KC-135 Stratotanker and Paresev. He graduated from Purdue University and the University of Southern California.

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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 MS-04 on a Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying two Expedition 51 crew members to the International Space Station. Launch from Baikonur Site 1/5 is scheduled for 27 March 2017.
For a full launch schedule see 2017 in spaceflight

Did you know...

  • VAB

…that the Vehicle Assembly Building is so large that rain clouds are reported to form inside it on humid days?

  • …that the Voskhod spacecraft was so cramped that the crew of Voskhod 1 were unable to wear spacesuits?
  • …that the backup crew of Apollo 11 consisted of Jim Lovell, Bill Anders and Fred Haise, although after Anders announced his intention to retire, Ken Mattingly was also assigned in case the mission was delayed until after Anders had left? The backup crew, with Mattingly replacing Anders, was later assigned to Apollo 13.

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