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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The Shuttle-Mir insignia
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.

Selected biography

A 1963 USSR postage stamp with Valentina Tereshkova
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (Russian: Валенти́на Влади́мировна Терешко́ва) (born 6 March 1937) is the first woman in space, now a retired Soviet cosmonaut. Out of more than four hundred applicants and then out of five finalists, she was selected to pilot Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963 and become the first woman to fly in space. This also made her the first civilian in space[1] (she was only honorarily inducted into the USSR's Air Force as a condition on joining the Cosmonaut Corps). On this mission, lasting almost three days in space, she performed various tests on herself to collect data on the female body's reaction to spaceflight.

Before being recruited as a cosmonaut, Tereshkova was a textile-factory assembly worker and an amateur parachutist. After the female cosmonaut group was dissolved in 1969, she became a prominent member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, holding various political offices. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, she retired from politics and remains revered as a hero in Russia.

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Space Shuttle Columbia before her maiden flight, STS-1
Credit: NASA/KSC, Image ID: KSC-81PC-0136 [1]

A timed exposure of Space Shuttle Columbia on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre in preparation for her maiden flight, STS-1. To the left of the Shuttle are the fixed and the rotating service structures.

Next scheduled manned launch

The next scheduled manned launch is of Soyuz MS-07 on a Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying three Expedition 54 crew members to the International Space Station. Launch from Baikonur Site 1/5 is scheduled for 17 December 2017.
For a full launch schedule see 2017 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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