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.
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Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov (December 30, 1906 - January 14, 1966) was a Soviet rocket engineer and is widely regarded as the founder of the Soviet space program. In July 1932, Korolev was appointed chief of Jet Propulsion Research Group, GIRD, one of the earliest state-sponsored centers for rocket development in the USSR. In 1933, the group was reorganized into the Jet Propulsion Research Institute, RNII, where Korolyov worked as Deputy Chief of the institute. At RNII, Korolyov led the development of cruise missiles and of a manned rocket-powered glider. He also participated in the development of the Tu-2 bomber, a major aircraft of the Soviet Air Force during World War II. In 1945, he was commissioned into the Red Army, with a rank of colonel and, along with other rocket experts, he was flown to Germany to gather information on the German V-2 rocket. Korolyov worked on the R-1 missile which was a replica of the German V-2 ballistic missile. In 1947 the NII-88 group under Korolyov began working on more advanced designs, with improvements in range and throw weight. This led to the R-2 and R-3 ballistic missiles and finally the R-7 ICBM. He successfully convinced the Soviet leaders to fund the Sputnik program. The actual development of Sputnik was performed in less than a month. Finally on 4 October 1957, launched on a rocket that had only successfully launched once, the satellite was placed in orbit. This was followed by the launch of Sputnik 2 and 3. Korolyov's planning for a manned mission had begun back in 1958, when design studies were made on the future Vostok spacecraft. After the success of Vostok, Korolyov planned to move forward with Soyuz spacecraft that would be able to dock with other craft in orbit and exchange crews. For the moon race, Korolyov's staff designed the immense N1 rocket. He also had in work the design for the Soyuz manned spacecraft, as well as the Luna vehicles that would soft land on the Moon and unmanned missions to Mars and Venus. But, unexpectedly, he was to die before he could see his various plans brought to fruition.
, also known as UK-1
, was the first British satellite
. Its launch in 1962 made the United Kingdom the third country to operate a satellite, after the Soviet Union
and the USA. It was constructed in the United States
, under an agreement reached as the result of political discussions in 1959 and 1960.
NASA constructed and launched the satellite, whilst SERC provided the experiments, conducted operations, and later analysed and interpreted the results. Ariel 1 was launched aboard an American Thor-Delta rocket from Launch Complex 17A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, on 26 April 1962. It decayed from orbit on 24 April 1976.
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.
- ...that astronauts can't burp in space? A burp would need gravity to separate the liquid from the gas in their stomach.