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.
Soyuz 7K-T No.39
, (also named Soyuz 18a
or Soyuz 18-1
) was an unsuccessful launch of a manned Soyuz spacecraft by the Soviet Union
on April 5, 1975. The mission was expected to dock with the orbiting Salyut 4
space station, but due to a failure of the Soyuz launch vehicle the crew failed to achieve orbit.
The accident was the result of a failure of a rocket staging event; the core booster of the Soyuz rocket did not separate from its upper stage. Since the accident took place after the escape tower had jettisoned, the Soyuz 7K-T spacecraft needed to use its own propulsion module engines to escape the failing rocket.
The escape exerted excessive g forces on the crew, consisting of commander Vasili Lazarev, an Air Force major, and flight engineer Oleg Makarov, a civilian. Both cosmonauts were injured, with Lazarev suffering injuries serious enough to end his career. The descent module landed near Aleysk, in the Altai Mountains; the crew initially feared they landed in the People's Republic of China, leading them to burn their paperwork in case they were captured by the Chinese, whom the Soviet Union were at odds with at the time.
The accident was disclosed by the normally secretive Soviets, as it occurred during preparations for their joint Apollo–Soyuz Test Project with the United States three months later. This would prove to be the last manned Soyuz mission launched with the original Soyuz rocket; future missions would be launched by the updated Soyuz-U rocket.
Gerard Kitchen O'Neill
(February 6, 1927 – April 27, 1992) was an American physicist
and space activist. A faculty member of Princeton University
, he invented a device called the particle storage ring
for high-energy physics experiments. Later, he invented a magnetic launcher called the mass driver
. In the 1970s, he developed a plan to build human settlements in outer space, including a space habitat
design known as the O'Neill cylinder
. He founded the Space Studies Institute
, an organization devoted to funding research into space manufacturing
O'Neill began researching high-energy particle physics at Princeton in 1954 after he received his doctorate from Cornell University.
Two years later, he published his theory for a particle storage ring. This invention allowed particle physics experiments at much higher energies than had previously been possible. In 1965 at Stanford University, he performed the first colliding beam physics experiment.
While teaching physics at Princeton, O'Neill became interested in the possibility that humans could live in outer space. He researched and proposed a futuristic idea for human settlement in space, the O'Neill cylinder, in "The Colonization of Space", his first paper on the subject. He held a conference on space manufacturing at Princeton in 1975. Many who became post-Apollo-era space activists attended. O'Neill built his first mass driver prototype with professor Henry Kolm in 1976. He considered mass drivers critical for extracting the mineral resources of the Moon and asteroids. His award-winning book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space inspired a generation of space exploration advocates. He died of leukemia in 1992.
Next scheduled launch
On This Day
Did you know...
…that a CubeSat (pictured) is a cube, 10 centimetres in all dimensions, weighing less than one kilogram?