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.
NASA image of Pioneer 10's famed Pioneer plaque, a pictorial message to any extraterrestrial being that may intercept the probe. It features a design engraved into a gold-anodized aluminum plate, 152 by 229 millimeters (6 by 9 inches), attached to the spacecraft's antenna support struts to help shield it from erosion by interstellar dust.
(X0) was the first privately funded human spaceflight
. It took place on June 21, 2004. It was the fourth powered test flight of the Tier One
program, the previous three test flights having reached much lower altitudes. The flight carried only its pilot
, Mike Melvill
, who thus became the first non-governmental astronaut
This flight was a full-altitude test. SpaceShipOne was dropped from its carrier aircraft, White Knight, at 14:50 UTC (7:50am PDT), at an altitude of 47,000 feet (14,000 m), and fired its on-board rocket for 76 seconds. It reached a peak altitude of 328,491 feet (100,124 m), becoming the first commercial manned spacecraft to cross the Kármán line. It landed safely at Mojave Air and Space Port, California, 15:14 UTC (8:14am PDT).
Flight 15P was a test flight to prepare Scaled Composites to compete for the Ansari X Prize, the prize for the first non-governmental reusable manned spacecraft. Scaled Composites would win the Ansari X Prize in October 2004 after two more successful flights.
Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was a Soviet cosmonaut and the first human to orbit the earth. Yuri Gagarin joined the Soviet Air Force in 1955 and graduated with honors from the Soviet Air Force Academy in 1957. Soon afterward, he became a military fighter pilot. By 1959, he had been selected for cosmonaut training as part of the first group of USSR cosmonauts. Yuri Gagarin flew only one space mission. On April 12, 1961 he became the first human to orbit Earth. Gagarin's spacecraft, Vostok 1, circled Earth at a speed of 27,400 kilometers per hour. The flight lasted 108 minutes. At its highest point, Gagarin was about 200 miles (327 kilometers) above Earth. Once in orbit, Yuri Gagarin had no control over his spacecraft. Vostok's reentry was controlled by a computer program sending radio commands to the space capsule. Although the controls were locked, a key had been placed in a sealed envelope in case an emergency situation made it necessary for Gagarin to take control. As was planned, Cosmonaut Gagarin ejected after reentry into Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of 20,000 feet and landed by parachute. As pilot of the spaceship Vostok 1, he proved that man could endure the rigors of lift-off, re-entry, and weightlessness. As a result of his historic flight he became an international hero and legend. Colonel Gagarin died on March 27, 1968 when the MiG-15 airplane he was piloting crashed near Moscow. He was given a hero's funeral, his ashes interred in the Kremlin Wall. He is popularly known as “The Columbus of the Cosmos”.
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On This Day
Did you know...
...that the Saturn V rocket (pictured) was 365 feet (111 metres) tall?