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.
Lunar orbit rendezvous
is a key concept for human landing on the Moon and returning to Earth.
In a LOR mission a main spacecraft and a smaller lunar module travel together into lunar orbit. The lunar module then independently descends to the lunar surface. After completion of the mission there, it returns to lunar orbit and conducts a rendezvous with the main spacecraft. The main spacecraft then returns to Earth.
First mention of LOR dates back to 1916. It was proposed by Yuri Kondratyuk, a self-educated Russian, who calculated that LOR was the most economical way of landing a human on the Moon.
LOR was used by the Apollo missions for human spaceflight to the Moon.
Wernher von Braun (1912-1977) was a German rocket scientist and one of the most important rocket developers and champions of space exploration during the period between the 1930s and the 1970s. Von Braun is well known as the leader of what has been called the "rocket team" which developed the V-2 ballistic missile for the Nazis during World War II. As part of a military operation called Project Paperclip, he and his rocket team were scooped up from defeated Germany and sent to America where they were installed at Fort Bliss, Texas. For fifteen years after World War II, von Braun worked with the U.S. Army in the development of ballistic missiles. At Fort Bliss, they worked on rockets for the U.S. Army, launching them at White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico. In 1950 von Braun's team moved to the Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Alabama, where they built the Army's Jupiter ballistic missile. In 1960, his rocket development center transferred from the Army to the newly established NASA and received a mandate to build the giant Saturn rockets. Accordingly, von Braun became director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that would propel Americans to the Moon.
Next scheduled launch
On This Day
Did you know...
...that the original videos of the Apollo 11 astronauts walking on the Moon (pictured) were lost after the mission, and were reported to have been found in June 2009?
- ...that the Vostok 4 mission was shortened because cosmonaut Pavel Romanovich Popovich accidentally told flight controllers that he was "observing thunderstorms". This was a coded signal requesting an abort because the cosmonaut was feeling ill, however Popovich was actually trying to inform ground controllers that he could see thunderstorms from space.
- ...the record for the longest crewed spaceflight stands at 437.7 days, which was set by Valeriy Polyakov aboard Mir?