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.
A Ukrainian Zenit-3SL rocket launches the Italian SICRAL 1B military communications satellite from the Sea Launch platform Odyssey, located in the territorial waters of Kiribati, on April 30, 2009. Sea Launch is a unique launch provider that ships rockets and payloads to be launched from a platform placed at the Equator, providing for optimal payload capacity and direct insertion to geostationary orbit (GEO) without the need to change inclination. Sea Launch has conducted 36 launches since 1999, with four failures.
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.
Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930–25 August, 2012) was an American astronaut, test pilot, university professor, and United States Naval Aviator. He is the first person to set foot on the Moon. After serving as a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952 in the Korean War, Armstrong joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in 1955. Over the next 17 years, he was an engineer, test pilot, astronaut and administrator for NACA and its successor agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 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. His first spaceflight was aboard Gemini 8 in 1966, for which he was the command pilot. 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 making him the first human to walk on the Moon, while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module. Armstrong is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
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On This Day
Did you know...
...that the Saturn V rocket (pictured) was 365 feet (111 metres) tall?
- ...that STS-80, a mission flown by the Space Shuttle Columbia, lasted 17 days, 15 hours, 53 minutes and 18 seconds, making it the longest Shuttle mission to date?
- …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.