||The Compton Gamma Ray
Observatory (CGRO) was brought to space by the Space Shuttle
Atlantis. The CGRO detected more than 400 gamma ray sources and 2500
gamma ray bursts during its many years of observation.
||The ESA abandoned their
original plan of building a small shuttle; Hermes, in order to ferry
astronauts to and from the ISS, due to financial and technical
||After a pause in lunar
exploration following the manned moon landings, the United States
returned to the moon with a probe called ?i>Clementine?which is an
unmanned spacecraft that mapped the moonís surface in great detail like
never before, returning nearly a million images in many different
colours and wavelengths.
||The United States lost the
Mars Observer space probe on its way to Mars.
||The United States reaches Mars
with the probes Mars Global Surveyor and Mars pathfinder
and they both conducted successful missions. Mars Pathfinder
included a small rover called Sojourner which landed and explored
the Martian surface while being remotely controlled by the controllers
on Earth. The Mars Global Surveyor has been mapping the planet since
1999 and has gathered much data on the Martian topography.
probe was launched on a seven year journey to Saturn. If it succeeds in
arriving safely then the projected plan is to place Cassini in
orbit around the planet and that Huygens descend through the atmosphere
of Titan; Saturnís largest moon.
||Russiaís Mir space
station was struck by a supply vessel while docking manoeuvres were
being practised in June. The crew promptly repaired the lapse of power
and air pressure in the station. On July a power cable was accidentally
unplugged and the station lost altitude control. Since the solar panels
were no longer pointing at the sun, the station lost power once again
and this problem took several days to resolve. In the discovery of
irregularity in the commanderís heart beat led to the repairs being
postponed until a relief crew could be flown in.
||Deep Space 1, operated
by NASA, flew by the asteroid Braille but failed to photograph it on its
closest approach. Instead the spacecraft took detailed photographs of
the hilly surface of Comet Borrelly in September 2001 before being shut
down when its fuel ran short. This probe comprised of new space-faring
technologies such as an automatic navigation system which enabled the
craft to detect where it is by using comparing measurements of stellar
positions with its own database and an ion propulsion system which
creates a thrust by producing a stream of ionised xenon gas. This
propulsion system takes a lot of time accelerating but dramatically
reduces the amount of fuel that needs to be carried.
||Assembly of the International
Space Station (ISS) began with the launch of the first module; the
Russian Zarya module in November then the US Unity; a
docking mechanism which was connected to Zarya in December.
Assembly of the station is expected to be complete by 2004 after a total
of 45 launches.
||In this year, Americaís NASA sent two
satellites into orbit; both being X-ray telescopes. The purpose of these
telescopes was to record and observe the activities of interstellar
bodies and to pin point many more by gathering the X-rays that they
||NASA lost both the Mars
Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander when both ceased to
communicate as they reached the planet.
||China successfully launched and
recovered an unmanned space vehicle, only the third country to achieve
this, though both China and India have launched their own satellites.
||Due to these growing expenses
of maintaining the Russian Mir space station, the station was
finally brought down over the Pacific Ocean in 1999, which burnt up and
disintegrated upon re-entry.
||The ESA launched Near Earth Asteroid
Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft becomes the first to go into orbit of
an asteroid when it reached 433 Eros. This spacecraft orbited the
asteroid for a year and provided a wealth of data on the asteroidís
composition and geology.