National Aeronautics and Space Administration was formed on
Oct. 1, 1958, and the man in space program was introduced
just six days later.
The program was renamed "Project Mercury" by Nov.
26, 1958, just prior to the commencement of the astronaut
candidate selection process.
Project Mercury met all three of its objectives: orbit a manned
spacecraft around Earth; learn about man's ability to function
in space; and safely recover the man and spacecraft.
The project ultimately put six men in space, four of whom
made orbital flights around Earth. It proved that men could
function normally for up to 34 hours of weightless flight.
Over two million people worked on the project for almost five
years. By 1963, Project Mercury wrapped up and Project Gemini
was two years into its development stages.
were 10 spaceflights in Gemini Program. In the years following
the Mercury program and before the Apollo missions, astronauts
and mission operators honed their skills and gained essential
spaceflight knowledge from the Gemini program. Gemini allowed
them to learn about fundamental things, such as orbital
rendezvous and docking and extravehicular activity, thereby
laying the groundwork for successful lunar missions.
Apollo Spacecraft consisted of three modules: Command, Service
and Lunar. Command Module: The Command Module (CM) was the
spacecraft's control centre and housed the three-man crew
of astronauts. The Apollo capsule was conical in shape.
It was 12 feet high and 13 feet in diameter and weighted
10,000 pounds. The launch escape system, a tower-like structure
above the Command Module, provided power to lift the Command
Module up and away from the Saturn launch Vehicle should
an emergency occur after fuelling and before injection in
orbit. Solid propellant rockets provided this standby emergency
Service Module: Below the Command Module was the Service
Module. It was 2.8 feet in diameter, 22 feet long and contained
the propulsion system for midcourse corrections, retrofire
to achieve lunar orbit , and thrust to return from lunar
orbit into an Earth Trajectory.
Lunar Module: The
Lunar Module (LM - pronounced lem) was stored between the
Service Module and the Saturn V rocket in the Lunar Module
Adapter. This section was 29 feet long and 21.7 feet in
diameter where it joined the S-IVB stage. The LM housed
in this section was designed to carry 2 astronauts from
lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon and return them to
the Command Module. The LM was 21 feet high and 11 feet
in diameter, weighing 30 pounds. There were 2 engines, one
with controllable thrust for descent to the surface of the
moon, and the other with a fixed 35,000 pound thrust for
ascent to rendezvous with the Command Module in lunar orbit.
The US Space Shuttle was first launched in 1981. It has
flown more than 120 times. Currently the Space Shuttle is
being used to construct the International Space Station.
The Space Shuttle consists of the Shuttle orbiter, 2 solid
rocket boosters and an expendable external tank. The Orbiter
uses 3 SSME Rocket Engines which use Liquid Hydrogen and
Liquid Oxygen as propellants.
The payload is carried in the cargo bay. One of the most
famous payloads is the Hubble Space Telescope.
- Launched in April 1971
- Composed of three working compartments, a service/engine
module at the end of the vehicle, and an airlock/transfer
module and docking unit at the front end of the station
- Launched on the Proton launch vehicle
- First mission to the station was aborted
- Second mission was successful and the crew completed a
24 day mission that included scientific research in the
areas of astronomy, biology, and Earth oberservation
- The re-entry into Earth was a failure and left three cosmonauts
- First Almaz type station produced by the Chelomei design
- Launched on April 3, 1973
- One week into the mission, the station developed a tumbling
problem and broke up into twenty-five pieces
- Designed between 1964 and 1973
- Length is 11.61 meters
- Launched on June 25, 1973
- Two missions were flown to Salyut 3
- One lasted 15 days and was to check out the station and
make observations of military points of interest
- Launched in December, 1974
- Second station devoted to primarily civilian objectives
- Very similar to Salyut 1
- Designed to orbit for up to 60 days
- Two successful missions were flown to it
- Primarily for military purposes and scientific research
- Launched in June, 1976
- Nearly identical to Salyut 3
- First of the second generation FSU space stations
- Equipped with two docking modules
- In orbit for almost 5 years
- Manned for a total of 676 days
- Very similar to Salyut 6 in design
- Launched in April 1982
- Hosted a total of nine missions
- Occupied for over 800 days
- Orbited in space for 9 years
- Launched in March 1983
- Mated with the Salyut 7 space station
- Delivered 3600 kg of supplies
- Carried the Merkur return capsule on the front end of
- Designed to carry a crew of three
- It's been in orbit for over 10 years
- Launched on February 20, 1986
- Five docking ports
- Composed of many modules
people believe that after the ISS(International Space Station)
is completed the next logical step would be to establish
a Lunar Space Station and a Moon base. Russia does have
the technology for such a mission because of their super
rocket (Energia). If only they could find the funds to keep
their space industry alive.
a Permanent Moon Base (Luna Base) would be a challenging
task. The first step in building a Luna Base would be to
set up Habitats and Laboratories. They probably would be
modified Space Station Modules.Possible
uses for a Moon Base are: Outpost for astronomical studies,
Stepping Stone to the Planets, an Abundant source of Raw
Materials and Space Tourism.
two powerful new Mars rovers have far greater mobility than
the 1997 Mars Pathfinder rover. These identical robotic
explorers will each be able to trek up to 100 meters (about
100 yards) a day across the martian surface. Each rover
carries a sophisticated set of instruments the Athena
Science Payload that will allow it to search for
evidence of liquid water in the planet's past.
The mission seeks to determine the history of climate and
water at a site on Mars where conditions may once have been
favorable to life. The landing sites at Gusev Crater and
Meridiani Planum were selected on the basis of intensive
study of orbital data collected by the Mars Global Surveyor
spacecraft and other missions. These sites offer evidence
that liquid water was once present. The rovers' scientific
instruments will be used to read the geologic record at
each site, to investigate what role water played there,
and to determine how suitable the conditions would have
been for life.