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.
Next scheduled launch
Chris Austin Hadfield
(born 29 August 1959) is a retired Canadian astronaut
who was the first Canadian
to walk in space. An engineer
and former Royal Canadian Air Force
fighter pilot, Hadfield has flown two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station
Hadfield, who was raised on a farm in southern Ontario, was inspired as a child when he watched the Apollo 11 Moon landing on TV. He attended high school in Oakville and Milton and earned his glider pilot licence as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces and earned an engineering degree at Royal Military College. While in the military he learned to fly various types of aircraft and eventually became a test pilot and flew several experimental planes. As part of an exchange program with the United States Navy and United States Air Force, he obtained a master's degree in aviation systems at the University of Tennessee Space Institute.
In 1992, he was accepted into the Canadian astronaut program by the Canadian Space Agency. He first flew in space aboard STS-74 in November 1995 as a mission specialist. During the mission he visited the Russian space station Mir. In April 2001 he flew again on STS-100 and visited the International Space Station (ISS), where he walked in space and helped to install the Canadarm2. In December 2012 he flew for a third time aboard Soyuz TMA-07M and joined Expedition 34 on the ISS. He was a member of this expedition until March 2013 when he became the commander of the ISS as part of Expedition 35. He was responsible for a crew of five astronauts and helped to run dozens of scientific experiments dealing with the impact of low gravity on human biology. During the mission he also gained popularity by chronicling life aboard the space station and taking pictures of the Earth and posting them through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr to a large following of people around the world. He was a guest on television news and talk shows and gained popularity by playing the International Space Station's guitar in space. His mission ended in May 2013 when he returned to Earth. Shortly after returning, he announced his retirement, capping a 35-year career as a military pilot and an astronaut.
On This Day
Did you know...
...that engineers claim the Ares I rocket (pictured) would be more aerodynamically stable if flying backwards than in the normal direction?