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.
A Ukrainian Zenit-3SL rocket launches the Italian SICRAL 1B military communications satellite from the Sea Launch platform Odyssey, located in the territorial waters of Kiribati, on April 30, 2009. Sea Launch is a unique launch provider that ships rockets and payloads to be launched from a platform placed at the Equator, providing for optimal payload capacity and direct insertion to geostationary orbit (GEO) without the need to change inclination. Sea Launch has conducted 36 launches since 1999, with four failures.
The Saturn V
(pronounced "Saturn Five") was a multistage
liquid-fuel expendable rocket
used by NASA
missions between 1967 and 1972. In total NASA launched twelve Saturn V rockets, plus one derived Saturn INT-21
, with no loss of payload. It remains the largest and most powerful launch vehicle ever brought to operational status, in terms of height, mass and payload
capacity. The Soviet Energia
, which flew two test missions in the late 1980s before being cancelled, had slightly more takeoff thrust.
The largest production model of the Saturn family of rockets, the Saturn V was designed under the direction of Wernher von Braun at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with Boeing, North American Aviation, Douglas Aircraft Company, and IBM as the lead contractors. The three stages of the Saturn V were developed by various NASA contractors, but following a sequence of mergers and takeovers all of them are now owned by Boeing.
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.
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On This Day
Did you know...
…that the South Korean launch system Naro-1, which made its first flight on 25 August 2009, is based on the Russian Angara (pictured)?