Space exploration is the use of astronomy and space technology to explore outer space. It is a field of science that has captivated the imagination of people for centuries, and has been the source of some of the most remarkable achievements in human history. Some examples of such efforts include the development of the Curiosity rover for Mars, the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and its moons, and the development of important space astronomical observatories, such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Before Sally Ride, Mae Jemison and Christina Koch, there was Valentina Tereshkova.
The 26-year-old Soviet cosmonaut became the first woman to visit space on June 16, 1963, when she embarked on a three-day mission aboard the Vostok 6 spacecraft. It completed a total of 41 orbits around the Earth, consolidating its place in history and inspiring generations of women astronauts for decades to come. On July 14, 1964, Mariner 4 took the first images of another planet. During its journey, the spacecraft approached 6,118 miles from Mars and revealed in impressive detail (for the time) sunken craters, rust-colored hills and ancient carved stream channels, a sign that life could have once existed there.
The blurry images captivated both scientists and space enthusiasts and kicked off a decades-long obsession with the Red Planet. The Soviet Venera missions highlighted the dangers of Venus. Venera 7, the first mission to successfully land on another planet, illuminated the harsh and unforgiving world next door. The spacecraft didn't last long on the surface, it tried less than an hour, but it returned lots of data for scientists to analyze.
Decades later, the 13th Venera mission took the first images (seen above) of the surface of Venus. The 25th mission of the United States Space Shuttle program launched on January 28, 1986 and ended tragically in just 73 seconds. The STS-51-L was the tenth mission to be carried out on the space shuttle Challenger, but a failed rocket caused the disintegration of the shuttle and the death of all seven crew members. The launch was scheduled for the 22nd, but was repeatedly delayed due to bad weather.
The objectives of the mission were to observe Halley's Comet, track satellites and have Christa McAuliffe, a teacher on board, teach children in classrooms in her country. The space age paralleled the Cold War, and when the Soviet Union succeeded in launching Sputnik into space in 1957, it was considered a major threat to United States National Security as a Scientific Triumph. The success of Sputnik was the kick-off of the space race that put the prestige of nations at stake. The competition for supremacy in space made Gagarin, Glenn, Tereshkova and Armstrong, among many other 20th century astronauts and cosmonauts, national heroes.
They would gain fame as astronauts on the Mercury and Apollo missions during the 1960s. The Soviet Union began the space race with the launch of humanity's first artificial satellite. The 23-inch diameter sphere transmitted signals to Earth for 22 days and continued in orbit until it burned up in January. The launch of Sputnik shook the United States, which feared that a technological divide would be created between them and the Soviet Union and began to renew the country's scientific and engineering education.
A year later, NASA was created. The United States hoped to be the first nation to send a man into space, but the Soviet Union won that race with Gagarin achieving that feat. Several weeks later, Alan Shepard flew the Freedom 7 spacecraft in a 15-minute sub-orbital flight that reached a maximum altitude of 116 miles and a maximum speed of 5,180 miles per hour. Unlike Gagarin, whose capsule was automatically controlled, Shepard was able to take control of his spaceship for short periods of time. Less than a year after Gagarin became the first man to orbit Earth, John Glenn became the first American to do so, completing three orbits around planet aboard Friendship 7 capsule.
Glenn was already military hero when he was chosen to be an astronaut for Project Mercury. After completing his mission he embarked on successful political career as senator from Ohio. He made history again at age 77 in 1998 by becoming oldest person to fly to space when he flew in space shuttle. The United States which is still trying catch up on space race landed its first spacecraft Surveyor 1 on Moon in June. Mission was considered success and technology needed achieve landing and operations on lunar surface were successful.
Surveyor 1 performed engineering functions and took photographs it sent televised images spacecraft's footrest and lunar surface. Apollo 8 was one most famous American space missions: it was first manned spacecraft leave Earth's gravity reach Moon. Mission carried out series tests that were crucial for following year's lunar landing. Crew photographed lunar surface both hidden side near side as well as Earth. Earthrise photo mission would become one most famous 20th century astronauts broadcast six live television broadcasts including Christmas Eve broadcast which they read book Genesis which at time was most watched television broadcast history. American astronauts Neil Armstrong Buzz Aldrin became first humans set foot heavenly entity other than Earth July 20 1969 thus fulfilling mandate President John F Kennedy's hope land. Here are 30 special skills that astronauts must master do their jobs: they must be able to work with computers; they must have excellent communication skills; they must be able to think quickly; they must be able to work under pressure; they must have good problem solving skills; they must be able to work independently; they must have good physical fitness; they must have good hand-eye coordination; they must have good spatial awareness; they must be able to work with complex systems; they must be able to work with hazardous materials; they must be able to work with robots; they must be able to work with remote sensing equipment; they must be able to work with telescopes; they must be able to work with satellites; they must be able to work with navigation systems; they must be able to work with propulsion systems; they must be able to work with communication systems; they must be able to work with life support systems; they must be able to work with medical equipment; they must be able to work with radiation protection equipment; they must be able to work with environmental control systems; they must be able to work with electrical systems; they must be able to work with mechanical systems; they must be able to work with chemical systems; they must be able to work with biological systems; they must be able to work with nuclear systems; they must be able to work with optical systems; they must be able to work with thermal systems; they must have knowledge about orbital mechanics; and finally, they must have knowledge about astrobiology.