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NASA: We Need Companies Like SpaceX for the Future of Space Exploration – Futurism

A Different Path to Space

On Monday, August 14, SpaceX launched a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). It was the 12th resupply flight SpaceX has done for NASA as part of its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program, and the last one with an unused Dragon capsule. It has also been a month since Elon Musks rocket company flew to space, after a series of successful launches earlier this summer. This most recentCRS-12 flight was a special one, both for NASA and SpaceX, but also for the future of space exploration.

A great many recent rocket and spaceflight achievements have been madeby commercial space companies like SpaceX and Orbital ATK (formerly Orbital Sciences). Both companieshave been running CRS missions for NASA, as well as aeronautics giant Boeing. Theres also Jeff Bezos Blue Origin which is also working on reusable rockets, Virgin Galactic with its more space tourism-focused approach, and many more space endeavor focused startups.

NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot, Jr. is convinced that these private, commercial companies are actually the future of space exploration or at least, theyll make it possible. Today epitomizes what we have been doing for a long time in terms of building our commercial partnerships, Lightfoot told Futurism after Mondays launch. We are getting to space a little differently than we used to. Its not just us anymore by ourselves. Weve got a great partnership with SpaceX. Weve got a great partnership with Orbital ATK.

While commercial space companies may have their own plans for space exploration most of which involve returning to the Moon and getting to Mars it doesnt mean that NASA doesnt haveplans of its own. In fact, NASA has been working on its own mission to Mars for a while now. The space agency is also currently building its own large rocket. However,recent developmentssuggest that NASA needs all the help it can get for its programs to survive.

Such a collaboration between NASA and commercial space agencies has been working well, Lightfoot noted. For one, its whats made it possible for the ISS to continue operating. They have allowed us to keep the space station going and allowed us to do some fantastic research, he said, referring to SpaceX and Orbital ATKs CRS missions.

Lightfoot also suggested that these partnerships could do so much more, like sending people to space again. SpaceX and Boeing will come along and allow us to fly [a] crew, he said. In a couple of years we will get there, and they will be getting crew to the station.this will give us our own access to space. From there on, the possibilities could be endless.

Indeed, space exploration is entering a new era. It isnt necessarily ending the era when space agencies were the only ones making giant leaps for mankind only helping it. Collaboration is the future of space exploration.

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NASA: We Need Companies Like SpaceX for the Future of Space Exploration – Futurism

UNT’s next chancellor has pushed the boundaries of space … – Texas Tribune

Lesa Roe hopscotched across the country working her way up the ranks at NASA. And when you spend more than three decades working on projects that push the boundaries of space exploration, its hard to pick the coolest moment of your career.

“Oh my gosh, thats really hard to nail down because theres just too many exciting things to talk about,” she says.

Roe managed the research program at the International Space Station and helped launch missions that have discovered new worlds. As an engineer by training, Roe even helped build the space shuttle Endeavor. She installed its communications systems.

But she says the most thrilling moment came in the middle of the night a little more than five years ago.

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Roe was in Pasadena California, in the control room as the Curiosity rover was landing on Mars. She says the tension in the room was palpable, with dozens of blue-shirted scientists and engineers anxiously watching their screens.

“Theres what they call seven minutes of terror when you have no communications as the vehicle is going through the atmosphere of Mars,” she says.

Most of them had spent their entire careers working on getting a robot the size of a MINI Cooper to the surface of the red planet. So when it landed safely, “everybody just exploded in excitement. And so thats just something that sticks with you forever.”

So how do you go from being the No. 2 at NASA an organization with more than 17,000 employees and a $19 billion budget to running university system in Texas? Roe says thereisa connection.

“We really need a well-trained, well-educated workforce coming in to make those tremendous scientific discoveries, to do all of the incredible systems, the design, everything that we do at NASA. And so the University of North Texas systems role is to develop those students that can do that kind of work,” she says.

Roe will inherit a growing university system.Theres new law school in Dallas, and a new medical school in the works in Fort Worth. Roe says she wants to make sure graduates are attractive to top employers.

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“Every time I talk to students I talk about doing internships and really getting that hands-on experience and seeing what its like and learning and being part of a team even while youre a student in a university,” she says.

Roe wants UNT to be inclusive and accessible for people of all economic backgrounds. And personally, shes on a mission to get more women into STEM fields.

“I have a huge passion for young girls seeing yeah, I can do this, I can be a part of it. I was one of those young girls, I was the first to go to college in my family, and so I want to help be that encourager to say you can do this.”

And if they need a little inspiration along the way, shes always got that whole Mars landing story to tell them.

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UNT’s next chancellor has pushed the boundaries of space … – Texas Tribune

Space Exploration – National Geographic – Science

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From the dawn of man until very recently, humans have been Earthbound, unable to reach even the cloudslet alone space. It’s only within the last hundred years or so that the advent of manned flight and rocket ships has made the heavens attainable. In that time, we’ve sent people to the moon, rovers to Mars, and space probes deep into the reaches of our solar system. And advanced telescopes that orbit Earth are bringing even the most remote edges of the universe closer to home. See where space travel started, and where it’s going.

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Space Exploration – National Geographic – Science

Science has barely scratched the surface of space exploration … – Kearney Hub

KEARNEY Despite being able to give finite predictions for solar events such as the eclipse, science has just barely scratched the surface of space exploration, a visiting astronomer to Kearney explained to a room full of space fans.

Assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University Tabetha Boyajian gave a presentation on eclipses Sunday, the eve of the Great American Eclipse, at the Merryman Performing Arts Center.

I tried to take that (presentation) to not just talking about the solar eclipse and why its happening (today) but try and put that in the perspective of the whole universe, Boyajian said.

Eclipses arent unique to Earth, Boyajian explained to a full crowd. These special alignments occur throughout the solar system and all through the galaxy whether its a moon blocking light from the sun or a planet going in front of a star, which is referred to as a transit.

Science is the ability to predict certain things, and were able to do it for the eclipse because weve studied it for thousands of years and were able to predict these things down to very, very fine positions and measurements, Boyajian said. Space as a whole is very unexplored, and were just kind of scraping the surface of these kind of things that we can discover in space and thats really exciting.

Boyajian, who gave a TEDTalk on her work, earned her doctorate from Georgia State University and was awarded the Hubble Fellowship. After continuing her research at Georgia State for three years, she did her postdoctorate at Yale University. It was there that she become part of the Yale Exoplanet Group.

My research interests are primarily in nearby stellar systems and those with planets going around them what we call exoplanets and trying to detect them.

Her work focuses on the unknown specifically KIC 8462852, a mysterious star that displays odd behavior.

Its surprising because it doesnt do the things that stars do or that we think that stars do, Boyajian said.

The star shows variations in brightness, which have caused scientists to hypothesize scenarios from comet dust to alien megastructures.

Despite results they receive on the bizarre star, however, the data still hasnt pointed scientists down the right track, Boyajian said.

Nature is a lot more creative than we are. Theres no way of telling what its going to throw at us next.

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Science has barely scratched the surface of space exploration … – Kearney Hub

Space exploration – Wikipedia

Space exploration is the ongoing discovery and exploration of celestial structures in outer space by means of continuously evolving and growing space technology. While the study of space is carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, the physical exploration of space is conducted both by unmanned robotic space probes and human spaceflight.

While the observation of objects in space, known as astronomy, predates reliable recorded history, it was the development of large and relatively efficient rockets during the mid-twentieth century that allowed physical space exploration to become a reality. Common rationales for exploring space include advancing scientific research, national prestige, uniting different nations, ensuring the future survival of humanity, and developing military and strategic advantages against other countries.[1]

Space exploration has often been used as a proxy competition for geopolitical rivalries such as the Cold War. The early era of space exploration was driven by a “Space Race” between the Soviet Union and the United States. The launch of the first human-made object to orbit Earth, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, on 4 October 1957, and the first Moon landing by the American Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969 are often taken as landmarks for this initial period. The Soviet Space Program achieved many of the first milestones, including the first living being in orbit in 1957, the first human spaceflight (Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1) in 1961, the first spacewalk (by Aleksei Leonov) on 18 March 1965, the first automatic landing on another celestial body in 1966, and the launch of the first space station (Salyut 1) in 1971.[2]

After the first 20 years of exploration, focus shifted from one-off flights to renewable hardware, such as the Space Shuttle program, and from competition to cooperation as with the International Space Station (ISS).

With the substantial completion of the ISS[3] following STS-133 in March 2011, plans for space exploration by the US remain in flux. Constellation, a Bush Administration program for a return to the Moon by 2020[4] was judged inadequately funded and unrealistic by an expert review panel reporting in 2009.[5] The Obama Administration proposed a revision of Constellation in 2010 to focus on the development of the capability for crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), envisioning extending the operation of the ISS beyond 2020, transferring the development of launch vehicles for human crews from NASA to the private sector, and developing technology to enable missions to beyond LEO, such as EarthMoon L1, the Moon, EarthSun L2, near-Earth asteroids, and Phobos or Mars orbit.[6]

In the 2000s, the People’s Republic of China initiated a successful manned spaceflight program, while the European Union, Japan, and India have also planned future manned space missions. China, Russia, Japan, and India have advocated manned missions to the Moon during the 21st century, while the European Union has advocated manned missions to both the Moon and Mars during the 20th/21st century.

From the 1990s onwards, private interests began promoting space tourism and then public space exploration of the Moon (see Google Lunar X Prize).

The highest known projectiles prior to the rockets of the 1940s were the shells of the Paris Gun, a type of German long-range siege gun, which reached at least 40 kilometers altitude during World War One.[7] Steps towards putting a human-made object into space were taken by German scientists during World War II while testing the V-2 rocket, which became the first human-made object in space on 3 October 1942 with the launching of the A-4. After the war, the U.S. used German scientists and their captured rockets in programs for both military and civilian research. The first scientific exploration from space was the cosmic radiation experiment launched by the U.S. on a V-2 rocket on 10 May 1946.[8] The first images of Earth taken from space followed the same year[9][10] while the first animal experiment saw fruit flies lifted into space in 1947, both also on modified V-2s launched by Americans. Starting in 1947, the Soviets, also with the help of German teams, launched sub-orbital V-2 rockets and their own variant, the R-1, including radiation and animal experiments on some flights. These suborbital experiments only allowed a very short time in space which limited their usefulness.

The first successful orbital launch was of the Soviet unmanned Sputnik 1 (“Satellite 1”) mission on 4 October 1957. The satellite weighed about 83kg (183lb), and is believed to have orbited Earth at a height of about 250km (160mi). It had two radio transmitters (20 and 40MHz), which emitted “beeps” that could be heard by radios around the globe. Analysis of the radio signals was used to gather information about the electron density of the ionosphere, while temperature and pressure data was encoded in the duration of radio beeps. The results indicated that the satellite was not punctured by a meteoroid. Sputnik 1 was launched by an R-7 rocket. It burned up upon re-entry on 3 January 1958.

The second one was Sputnik 2. Launched by the USSR on November 3, 1957, it carried the dog Laika, who became the first animal in orbit.

This success led to an escalation of the American space program, which unsuccessfully attempted to launch a Vanguard satellite into orbit two months later. On 31 January 1958, the U.S. successfully orbited Explorer 1 on a Juno rocket.

The first successful human spaceflight was Vostok 1 (“East 1”), carrying 27-year-old Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961. The spacecraft completed one orbit around the globe, lasting about 1 hour and 48 minutes. Gagarin’s flight resonated around the world; it was a demonstration of the advanced Soviet space program and it opened an entirely new era in space exploration: human spaceflight.

The U.S. first launched a person into space within a month of Vostok 1 with Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight in Mercury-Redstone 3. Orbital flight was achieved by the United States when John Glenn’s Mercury-Atlas 6 orbited Earth on 20 February 1962.

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, orbited Earth 48 times aboard Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963.

China first launched a person into space 42 years after the launch of Vostok 1, on 15 October 2003, with the flight of Yang Liwei aboard the Shenzhou 5 (Spaceboat 5) spacecraft.

The first artificial object to reach another celestial body was Luna 2 in 1959.[11] The first automatic landing on another celestial body was performed by Luna 9[12] in 1966. Luna 10 became the first artificial satellite of the Moon.[13]

The first manned landing on another celestial body was performed by Apollo 11 on 20 July 1969.

The first successful interplanetary flyby was the 1962 Mariner 2 flyby of Venus (closest approach 34,773 kilometers). The other planets were first flown by in 1965 for Mars by Mariner 4, 1973 for Jupiter by Pioneer 10, 1974 for Mercury by Mariner 10, 1979 for Saturn by Pioneer 11, 1986 for Uranus by Voyager 2, 1989 for Neptune by Voyager 2. In 2015, the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto were orbited by Dawn and passed by New Horizons, respectively.

The first interplanetary surface mission to return at least limited surface data from another planet was the 1970 landing of Venera 7 on Venus which returned data to Earth for 23 minutes. In 1975 the Venera 9 was the first to return images from the surface of another planet. In 1971 the Mars 3 mission achieved the first soft landing on Mars returning data for almost 20 seconds. Later much longer duration surface missions were achieved, including over six years of Mars surface operation by Viking 1 from 1975 to 1982 and over two hours of transmission from the surface of Venus by Venera 13 in 1982, the longest ever Soviet planetary surface mission.

The dream of stepping into the outer reaches of Earth’s atmosphere was driven by the fiction of Peter Francis Geraci[14][15][16] and H.G.Wells,[17] and rocket technology was developed to try to realize this vision. The German V-2 was the first rocket to travel into space, overcoming the problems of thrust and material failure. During the final days of World War II this technology was obtained by both the Americans and Soviets as were its designers. The initial driving force for further development of the technology was a weapons race for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to be used as long-range carriers for fast nuclear weapon delivery, but in 1961 when the Soviet Union launched the first man into space, the United States declared itself to be in a “Space Race” with the Soviets.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Robert Goddard, Hermann Oberth, and Reinhold Tiling laid the groundwork of rocketry in the early years of the 20th century.

Wernher von Braun was the lead rocket engineer for Nazi Germany’s World War II V-2 rocket project. In the last days of the war he led a caravan of workers in the German rocket program to the American lines, where they surrendered and were brought to the USA to work on U.S. rocket development (“Operation Paperclip”). He acquired American citizenship and led the team that developed and launched Explorer 1, the first American satellite. Von Braun later led the team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center which developed the Saturn V moon rocket.

Initially the race for space was often led by Sergei Korolyov, whose legacy includes both the R7 and Soyuzwhich remain in service to this day. Korolev was the mastermind behind the first satellite, first man (and first woman) in orbit and first spacewalk. Until his death his identity was a closely guarded state secret; not even his mother knew that he was responsible for creating the Soviet space program.

Kerim Kerimov was one of the founders of the Soviet space program and was one of the lead architects behind the first human spaceflight (Vostok 1) alongside Sergey Korolyov. After Korolyov’s death in 1966, Kerimov became the lead scientist of the Soviet space program and was responsible for the launch of the first space stations from 1971 to 1991, including the Salyut and Mir series, and their precursors in 1967, the Cosmos 186 and Cosmos 188.[18][19]

Although the Sun will probably not be physically explored at all, the study of the Sun has nevertheless been a major focus of space exploration. Being above the atmosphere in particular and Earth’s magnetic field gives access to the solar wind and infrared and ultraviolet radiations that cannot reach Earth’s surface. The Sun generates most space weather, which can affect power generation and transmission systems on Earth and interfere with, and even damage, satellites and space probes. Numerous spacecraft dedicated to observing the Sun, beginning with the Apollo Telescope Mount, have been launched and still others have had solar observation as a secondary objective. Parker Solar Probe, planned for a 2018 launch, will approach the Sun to within 1/8th the orbit of Mercury.

Mercury remains the least explored of the inner planets. As of May 2013, the Mariner 10 and MESSENGER missions have been the only missions that have made close observations of Mercury. MESSENGER entered orbit around Mercury in March 2011, to further investigate the observations made by Mariner 10 in 1975 (Munsell, 2006b).

A third mission to Mercury, scheduled to arrive in 2020, BepiColombo is to include two probes. BepiColombo is a joint mission between Japan and the European Space Agency. MESSENGER and BepiColombo are intended to gather complementary data to help scientists understand many of the mysteries discovered by Mariner 10’s flybys.

Flights to other planets within the Solar System are accomplished at a cost in energy, which is described by the net change in velocity of the spacecraft, or delta-v. Due to the relatively high delta-v to reach Mercury and its proximity to the Sun, it is difficult to explore and orbits around it are rather unstable.

Venus was the first target of interplanetary flyby and lander missions and, despite one of the most hostile surface environments in the Solar System, has had more landers sent to it (nearly all from the Soviet Union) than any other planet in the Solar System. The first successful Venus flyby was the American Mariner 2 spacecraft, which flew past Venus in 1962. Mariner 2 has been followed by several other flybys by multiple space agencies often as part of missions using a Venus flyby to provide a gravitational assist en route to other celestial bodies. In 1967 Venera 4 became the first probe to enter and directly examine the atmosphere of Venus. In 1970, Venera 7 became the first successful lander to reach the surface of Venus and by 1985 it had been followed by eight additional successful Soviet Venus landers which provided images and other direct surface data. Starting in 1975 with the Soviet orbiter Venera 9 some ten successful orbiter missions have been sent to Venus, including later missions which were able to map the surface of Venus using radar to pierce the obscuring atmosphere.

Space exploration has been used as a tool to understand Earth as a celestial object in its own right. Orbital missions can provide data for Earth that can be difficult or impossible to obtain from a purely ground-based point of reference.

For example, the existence of the Van Allen radiation belts was unknown until their discovery by the United States’ first artificial satellite, Explorer 1. These belts contain radiation trapped by Earth’s magnetic fields, which currently renders construction of habitable space stations above 1000km impractical. Following this early unexpected discovery, a large number of Earth observation satellites have been deployed specifically to explore Earth from a space based perspective. These satellites have significantly contributed to the understanding of a variety of Earth-based phenomena. For instance, the hole in the ozone layer was found by an artificial satellite that was exploring Earth’s atmosphere, and satellites have allowed for the discovery of archeological sites or geological formations that were difficult or impossible to otherwise identify.

The Moon was the first celestial body to be the object of space exploration. It holds the distinctions of being the first remote celestial object to be flown by, orbited, and landed upon by spacecraft, and the only remote celestial object ever to be visited by humans.

In 1959 the Soviets obtained the first images of the far side of the Moon, never previously visible to humans. The U.S. exploration of the Moon began with the Ranger 4 impactor in 1962. Starting in 1966 the Soviets successfully deployed a number of landers to the Moon which were able to obtain data directly from the Moon’s surface; just four months later, Surveyor 1 marked the debut of a successful series of U.S. landers. The Soviet unmanned missions culminated in the Lunokhod program in the early 1970s, which included the first unmanned rovers and also successfully brought lunar soil samples to Earth for study. This marked the first (and to date the only) automated return of extraterrestrial soil samples to Earth. Unmanned exploration of the Moon continues with various nations periodically deploying lunar orbiters, and in 2008 the Indian Moon Impact Probe.

Manned exploration of the Moon began in 1968 with the Apollo 8 mission that successfully orbited the Moon, the first time any extraterrestrial object was orbited by humans. In 1969, the Apollo 11 mission marked the first time humans set foot upon another world. Manned exploration of the Moon did not continue for long, however. The Apollo 17 mission in 1972 marked the most recent human visit there, and the next, Exploration Mission 2, is due to orbit the Moon in 2021. Robotic missions are still pursued vigorously.

The exploration of Mars has been an important part of the space exploration programs of the Soviet Union (later Russia), the United States, Europe, Japan and India. Dozens of robotic spacecraft, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have been launched toward Mars since the 1960s. These missions were aimed at gathering data about current conditions and answering questions about the history of Mars. The questions raised by the scientific community are expected to not only give a better appreciation of the red planet but also yield further insight into the past, and possible future, of Earth.

The exploration of Mars has come at a considerable financial cost with roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars failing before completing their missions, with some failing before they even began. Such a high failure rate can be attributed to the complexity and large number of variables involved in an interplanetary journey, and has led researchers to jokingly speak of The Great Galactic Ghoul[21] which subsists on a diet of Mars probes. This phenomenon is also informally known as the “Mars Curse”.[22] In contrast to overall high failure rates in the exploration of Mars, India has become the first country to achieve success of its maiden attempt. India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)[23][24][25] is one of the least expensive interplanetary missions ever undertaken with an approximate total cost of 450 Crore (US$73 million).[26][27] The first mission to Mars by any Arab country has been taken up by the United Arab Emirates. Called the Emirates Mars Mission, it is scheduled for launch in 2020. The unmanned exploratory probe has been named “Hope Probe” and will be sent to Mars to study its atmosphere in detail.[28]

The Russian space mission Fobos-Grunt, which launched on 9 November 2011 experienced a failure leaving it stranded in low Earth orbit.[29] It was to begin exploration of the Phobos and Martian circumterrestrial orbit, and study whether the moons of Mars, or at least Phobos, could be a “trans-shipment point” for spaceships traveling to Mars.[30]

The exploration of Jupiter has consisted solely of a number of automated NASA spacecraft visiting the planet since 1973. A large majority of the missions have been “flybys”, in which detailed observations are taken without the probe landing or entering orbit; such as in Pioneer and Voyager programs. The Galileo spacecraft is the only one to have orbited the planet. As Jupiter is believed to have only a relatively small rocky core and no real solid surface, a landing mission is nearly impossible.

Reaching Jupiter from Earth requires a delta-v of 9.2km/s,[31] which is comparable to the 9.7km/s delta-v needed to reach low Earth orbit.[32] Fortunately, gravity assists through planetary flybys can be used to reduce the energy required at launch to reach Jupiter, albeit at the cost of a significantly longer flight duration.[31]

Jupiter has 67 known moons, many of which have relatively little known information about them.

Saturn has been explored only through unmanned spacecraft launched by NASA, including one mission (‘CassiniHuygens) planned and executed in cooperation with other space agencies. These missions consist of flybys in 1979 by Pioneer 11, in 1980 by Voyager 1, in 1982 by Voyager 2 and an orbital mission by the Cassini spacecraft, which entered orbit in 2004 and is expected to continue its mission until September, 2017.

Saturn has at least 62 known moons, although the exact number is debatable since Saturn’s rings are made up of vast numbers of independently orbiting objects of varying sizes. The largest of the moons is Titan, which holds the distinction of being the only moon in the Solar System with an atmosphere denser and thicker than that of Earth. Titan holds the distinction of being the only object in the Outer Solar System that has been explored with a lander, the Huygens probe deployed by the Cassini spacecraft.

The exploration of Uranus has been entirely through the Voyager 2 spacecraft, with no other visits currently planned. Given its axial tilt of 97.77, with its polar regions exposed to sunlight or darkness for long periods, scientists were not sure what to expect at Uranus. The closest approach to Uranus occurred on 24 January 1986. Voyager 2 studied the planet’s unique atmosphere and magnetosphere. Voyager 2 also examined its ring system and the moons of Uranus including all five of the previously known moons, while discovering an additional ten previously unknown moons.

Images of Uranus proved to have a very uniform appearance, with no evidence of the dramatic storms or atmospheric banding evident on Jupiter and Saturn. Great effort was required to even identify a few clouds in the images of the planet. The magnetosphere of Uranus, however, proved to be completely unique and proved to be profoundly affected by the planet’s unusual axial tilt. In contrast to the bland appearance of Uranus itself, striking images were obtained of the Moons of Uranus, including evidence that Miranda had been unusually geologically active.

The exploration of Neptune began with the 25 August 1989 Voyager 2 flyby, the sole visit to the system as of 2014. The possibility of a Neptune Orbiter has been discussed, but no other missions have been given serious thought.

Although the extremely uniform appearance of Uranus during Voyager 2’s visit in 1986 had led to expectations that Neptune would also have few visible atmospheric phenomena, the spacecraft found that Neptune had obvious banding, visible clouds, auroras, and even a conspicuous anticyclone storm system rivaled in size only by Jupiter’s small Spot. Neptune also proved to have the fastest winds of any planet in the Solar System, measured as high as 2,100km/h.[33]Voyager 2 also examined Neptune’s ring and moon system. It discovered 900 complete rings and additional partial ring “arcs” around Neptune. In addition to examining Neptune’s three previously known moons, Voyager 2 also discovered five previously unknown moons, one of which, Proteus, proved to be the last largest moon in the system. Data from Voyager 2 supported the view that Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, is a captured Kuiper belt object.[34]

The dwarf planet Pluto presents significant challenges for spacecraft because of its great distance from Earth (requiring high velocity for reasonable trip times) and small mass (making capture into orbit very difficult at present). Voyager 1 could have visited Pluto, but controllers opted instead for a close flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan, resulting in a trajectory incompatible with a Pluto flyby. Voyager 2 never had a plausible trajectory for reaching Pluto.[35]

Pluto continues to be of great interest, despite its reclassification as the lead and nearest member of a new and growing class of distant icy bodies of intermediate size (and also the first member of the important subclass, defined by orbit and known as “plutinos”). After an intense political battle, a mission to Pluto dubbed New Horizons was granted funding from the United States government in 2003.[36]New Horizons was launched successfully on 19 January 2006. In early 2007 the craft made use of a gravity assist from Jupiter. Its closest approach to Pluto was on 14 July 2015; scientific observations of Pluto began five months prior to closest approach and continued for 16 days after the encounter.

Until the advent of space travel, objects in the asteroid belt were merely pinpricks of light in even the largest telescopes, their shapes and terrain remaining a mystery. Several asteroids have now been visited by probes, the first of which was Galileo, which flew past two: 951 Gaspra in 1991, followed by 243 Ida in 1993. Both of these lay near enough to Galileo’s planned trajectory to Jupiter that they could be visited at acceptable cost. The first landing on an asteroid was performed by the NEAR Shoemaker probe in 2000, following an orbital survey of the object. The dwarf planet Ceres and the asteroid 4 Vesta, two of the three largest asteroids, were visited by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, launched in 2007.

Although many comets have been studied from Earth sometimes with centuries-worth of observations, only a few comets have been closely visited. In 1985, the International Cometary Explorer conducted the first comet fly-by (21P/Giacobini-Zinner) before joining the Halley Armada studying the famous comet. The Deep Impact probe smashed into 9P/Tempel to learn more about its structure and composition and the Stardust mission returned samples of another comet’s tail. The Philae lander successfully landed on Comet ChuryumovGerasimenko in 2014 as part of the broader Rosetta mission.

Hayabusa was an unmanned spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to return a sample of material from the small near-Earth asteroid 25143 Itokawa to Earth for further analysis. Hayabusa was launched on 9 May 2003 and rendezvoused with Itokawa in mid-September 2005. After arriving at Itokawa, Hayabusa studied the asteroid’s shape, spin, topography, color, composition, density, and history. In November 2005, it landed on the asteroid to collect samples. The spacecraft returned to Earth on 13 June 2010.

Deep space exploration is the branch of astronomy, astronautics and space technology that is involved with the exploration of distant regions of outer space.[37] Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights (deep-space astronautics) and by robotic spacecraft.

Some of the best candidates for future deep space engine technologies include anti-matter, nuclear power and beamed propulsion.[38] The latter, beamed propulsion, appears to be the best candidate for deep space exploration presently available, since it uses known physics and known technology that is being developed for other purposes.[39]

In the 2000s, several plans for space exploration were announced; both government entities and the private sector have space exploration objectives. China has announced plans to have a 60-ton multi-module space station in orbit by 2020.

The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 provided a re-prioritized list of objectives for the American space program, as well as funding for the first priorities. NASA proposes to move forward with the development of the Space Launch System (SLS), which will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment, and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. The SLS rocket will incorporate technological investments from the Space Shuttle program and the Constellation program in order to take advantage of proven hardware and reduce development and operations costs. The first developmental flight is targeted for the end of 2017.[40]

The idea of using high level automated systems for space missions has become a desirable goal to space agencies all around the world. Such systems are believed to yield benefits such as lower cost, less human oversight, and ability to explore deeper in space which is usually restricted by long communications with human controllers.[41]

Autonomy is defined by three requirements:[41]

Autonomous technologies would be able to perform beyond predetermined actions. They would analyze all possible states and events happening around them and come up with a safe response. In addition, such technologies can reduce launch cost and ground involvement. Performance would increase as well. Autonomy would be able to quickly respond upon encountering an unforeseen event, especially in deep space exploration where communication back to Earth would take too long.[41]

NASA began its autonomous science experiment (ASE) on Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) which is NASA’s first satellite in the new millennium program Earth-observing series launched on 21 November 2000. The autonomy of ASE is capable of on-board science analysis, replanning, robust execution, and later the addition of model-based diagnostic. Images obtained by the EO-1 are analyzed on-board and downlinked when a change or an interesting event occur. The ASE software has successfully provided over 10,000 science images.[41]

An article in science magazine Nature suggested the use of asteroids as a gateway for space exploration, with the ultimate destination being Mars.[42] In order to make such an approach viable, three requirements need to be fulfilled: first, “a thorough asteroid survey to find thousands of nearby bodies suitable for astronauts to visit”; second, “extending flight duration and distance capability to ever-increasing ranges out to Mars”; and finally, “developing better robotic vehicles and tools to enable astronauts to explore an asteroid regardless of its size, shape or spin.”[42] Furthermore, using asteroids would provide astronauts with protection from galactic cosmic rays, with mission crews being able to land on them in times of greater risk to radiation exposure.[43]

The research that is conducted by national space exploration agencies, such as NASA and Roscosmos, is one of the reasons supporters cite to justify government expenses. Economic analyses of the NASA programs often showed ongoing economic benefits (such as NASA spin-offs), generating many times the revenue of the cost of the program.[44] It is also argued that space exploration would lead to the extraction of resources on other planets and especially asteroids, which contain billions of dollars worth of minerals and metals. Such expeditions could generate a lot of revenue.[45] As well, it has been argued that space exploration programs help inspire youth to study in science and engineering.[46]

Another claim is that space exploration is a necessity to mankind and that staying on Earth will lead to extinction. Some of the reasons are lack of natural resources, comets, nuclear war, and worldwide epidemic. Stephen Hawking, renowned British theoretical physicist, said that “I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”[47]

NASA has produced a series of public service announcement videos supporting the concept of space exploration.[48]

Overall, the public remains largely supportive of both manned and unmanned space exploration. According to an Associated Press Poll conducted in July 2003, 71% of U.S. citizens agreed with the statement that the space program is “a good investment”, compared to 21% who did not.[49]

Arthur C. Clarke (1950) presented a summary of motivations for the human exploration of space in his non-fiction semi-technical monograph Interplanetary Flight.[50] He argued that humanity’s choice is essentially between expansion off Earth into space, versus cultural (and eventually biological) stagnation and death.

Spaceflight is the use of space technology to achieve the flight of spacecraft into and through outer space.

Spaceflight is used in space exploration, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications. Additional non-commercial uses of spaceflight include space observatories, reconnaissance satellites and other Earth observation satellites.

A spaceflight typically begins with a rocket launch, which provides the initial thrust to overcome the force of gravity and propels the spacecraft from the surface of Earth. Once in space, the motion of a spacecraftboth when unpropelled and when under propulsionis covered by the area of study called astrodynamics. Some spacecraft remain in space indefinitely, some disintegrate during atmospheric reentry, and others reach a planetary or lunar surface for landing or impact.

Satellites are used for a large number of purposes. Common types include military (spy) and civilian Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and research satellites. Space stations and human spacecraft in orbit are also satellites.

Current examples of the commercial use of space include satellite navigation systems, satellite television and satellite radio. Space tourism is the recent phenomenon of space travel by individuals for the purpose of personal pleasure.

Astrobiology is the interdisciplinary study of life in the universe, combining aspects of astronomy, biology and geology.[51] It is focused primarily on the study of the origin, distribution and evolution of life. It is also known as exobiology (from Greek: , exo, “outside”).[52][53][54] The term “Xenobiology” has been used as well, but this is technically incorrect because its terminology means “biology of the foreigners”.[55] Astrobiologists must also consider the possibility of life that is chemically entirely distinct from any life found on Earth.[56] In the Solar System some of the prime locations for current or past astrobiology are on Enceladus, Europa, Mars, and Titan.

Space colonization, also called space settlement and space humanization, would be the permanent autonomous (self-sufficient) human habitation of locations outside Earth, especially of natural satellites or planets such as the Moon or Mars, using significant amounts of in-situ resource utilization.

To date, the longest human occupation of space is the International Space Station which has been in continuous use for 700361380000000000016years, 294days. Valeri Polyakov’s record single spaceflight of almost 438 days aboard the Mir space station has not been surpassed. Long-term stays in space reveal issues with bone and muscle loss in low gravity, immune system suppression, and radiation exposure.

Many past and current concepts for the continued exploration and colonization of space focus on a return to the Moon as a “stepping stone” to the other planets, especially Mars. At the end of 2006 NASA announced they were planning to build a permanent Moon base with continual presence by 2024.[58]

Beyond the technical factors that could make living in space more widespread, it has been suggested that the lack of private property, the inability or difficulty in establishing property rights in space, has been an impediment to the development of space for human habitation. Since the advent of space technology in the latter half of the twentieth century, the ownership of property in space has been murky, with strong arguments both for and against. In particular, the making of national territorial claims in outer space and on celestial bodies has been specifically proscribed by the Outer Space Treaty, which had been, as of 2012[update], ratified by all spacefaring nations.[59]

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From the dawn of man until very recently, humans have been Earthbound, unable to reach even the cloudslet alone space. It’s only within the last hundred years or so that the advent of manned flight and rocket ships has made the heavens attainable. In that time, we’ve sent people to the moon, rovers to Mars, and space probes deep into the reaches of our solar system. And advanced telescopes that orbit Earth are bringing even the most remote edges of the universe closer to home. See where space travel started, and where it’s going.

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Space Exploration – National Geographic – Science

Space exploration | Article about space exploration by The …

space exploration, the investigation of physical conditions in space and on stars, planets, and other celestial bodies through the use of artificial satellitessatellite, artificial, object constructed by humans and placed in orbit around the earth or other celestial body (see also space probe). The satellite is lifted from the earth’s surface by a rocket and, once placed in orbit, maintains its motion without further rocket propulsion. ….. Click the link for more information. (spacecraft that orbit the earth), space probesspace probe, space vehicle carrying sophisticated instrumentation but no crew, designed to explore various aspects of the solar system (see space exploration). Unlike an artificial satellite, which is placed in more or less permanent orbit around the earth, a space probe is ….. Click the link for more information. (spacecraft that pass through the solar system and that may or may not orbit another celestial body), and spacecraft with human crews. Satellites and Probes

Although studies from earth using optical and radio telescopestelescope, traditionally, a system of lenses, mirrors, or both, used to gather light from a distant object and form an image of it. Traditional optical telescopes, which are the subject of this article, also are used to magnify objects on earth and in astronomy; other types of ….. Click the link for more information. had accumulated much data on the nature of celestial bodies, it was not until after World War II that the development of powerful rocketsrocket, any vehicle propelled by ejection of the gases produced by combustion of self-contained propellants. Rockets are used in fireworks, as military weapons, and in scientific applications such as space exploration. ….. Click the link for more information. made direct space exploration a technological possibility. The first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, was launched by the USSR (now Russia) on Oct. 4, 1957, and spurred the dormant U.S. program into action, leading to an international competition popularly known as the “space race.” Explorer I, the first American satellite, was launched on Jan. 31, 1958. Although earth-orbiting satellites have by far accounted for the great majority of launches in the space program, even more information on the moon, other planets, and the sun has been acquired by space probes.

In the decade following Sputnik I, the United States and the USSR between them launched about 50 space probes to explore the moonmoon, natural satellite of a planet (see satellite, natural) or dwarf planet, in particular, the single natural satellite of the earth. The Earth-Moon System

The moon is the earth’s nearest neighbor in space. ….. Click the link for more information. . The first probes were intended either to pass very close to the moon (flyby) or to crash into it (hard landing). Later probes made soft landings with instruments intact and achieved stable orbits around the moon. Each of these four objectives required increasingly greater rocket power and more precise maneuvering; successive launches in the Soviet Luna series were the first to accomplish each objective. Luna 2 made a hard lunar landing in Sept., 1959, and Luna 3 took pictures of the moon’s far side as the probe flew by in Nov., 1959. Luna 9 soft-landed in Feb., 1966, and Luna 10 orbited the moon in Apr., 1966; both sent back many television pictures to earth. Beginning with Luna 16, which was launched in Sept., 1970, the USSR sent a several probes to the moon that either returned lunar soil samples to earth or deployed Lunokhod rovers. In addition to the 24 lunar probes in the Luna program, the Soviets also launched five circumlunar probes in its Zond program.

Early American successes generally lagged behind Soviet accomplishments by several months but provided more detailed scientific information. The U.S. program did not bear fruit until 1964, when Rangers 7, 8, and 9 transmitted thousands of pictures, many taken at altitudes of less than 1 mi (1.6 km) just before impact and showing craters only a few feet in diameter. Two years later, the Surveyor series began a program of soft landings on the moon. Surveyor 1 touched down in June, 1966; in addition to television cameras, it carried instruments to measure soil strength and composition. The Surveyor program established that the moon’s surface was solid enough to support a spacecraft carrying astronauts.

In Aug., 1966, the United States successfully launched the first Lunar Orbiter, which took pictures of both sides of the moon as well as the first pictures of the earth from the moon’s vicinity. The Orbiter’s primary mission was to locate suitable landing sites for the Apollo Lunar Module, but in the process it also discovered the lunar mascons, regions of large concentration of mass on the moon’s surface. Between May, 1966, and Nov., 1968, the United States launched seven Surveyors and five Lunar Orbiters. Clementine, launched in 1994, engaged in a systematic mapping of the lunar surface. In 1998, Lunar Prospector orbited the moon in a low polar orbit investigating possible polar ice deposits, but a controlled crash near the south pole detected no water. The U.S. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2009, was designed to collect data that can be used to prepare for future missions to the moon; information from it has been used to produce a relatively detailed, nearly complete topographic map of the moon.

China became the third nation to send a spacecraft to the moon when Chang’e 1, which was launched in 2007, orbited and mapped the moon until it was crash-landed on the lunar surface in 2009. Chang’e 2 also orbited and mapped the moon (201011) and later conducted a flyby of an asteroid (2012). In Dec., 2013, Chang’e 3 landed on the moon and deployed a rover, Yutu, or Jade Rabbit (201316).

While the bulk of space exploration initially was directed at the earth-moon system, the focus gradually shifted to other members of the solar system. The U.S. Mariner program studied Venus and Mars, the two planets closest to the earth; the Soviet Venera series also studied Venus. From 1962 to 1971, these probes confirmed the high surface temperature and thick atmosphere of Venus, discovered signs of recent volcanism and possible water erosion on Mars, and investigated Mercury. Between 1971 and 1973 the Soviet Union launched six successful probes as part of its Mars program. Exploration of Mars continued with the U.S. Viking landings on the Martian surface. Two Viking spacecraft arrived on Mars in 1976. Their mechanical arms scooped up soil samples for automated tests that searched for photosynthesis, respiration, and metabolism by any microorganisms that might be present; one test suggested at least the possibility of organic activity. The Soviet Phobos 1 and 2 missions were unsuccessful in 1988. The U.S. Magellan spacecraft succeeded in orbiting Venus in 1990, returning a complete radar map of the planet’s hidden surface. The Japanese probes Sakigake and Suisei and the European Space Agency’s probe Giotto both rendezvoused with Halley’s cometHalley’s comet or Comet Halley , periodic comet named for Edmond Halley, who observed it in 1682 and identified it as the one observed in 1531 and 1607. Halley did not live to see its return in 1758, close to the time he predicted. ….. Click the link for more information. in 1986, and Giotto also came within 125 mi (200 km) of the nucleus of the comet Grigg-Skjellerup in 1992. The U.S. probe Ulysses returned data about the poles of the sun in 1994, and the ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) was put into orbit in 1995. Launched in 1996 to study asteroids and comets, the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) probe made flybys of the asteroids Mathilde (1997) and Eros (1999) and began orbiting the latter in 2000. The Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor, both of which reached Mars in 1997, were highly successful, the former in analyzing the Martian surface and the latter in mapping it. The ESA Mars Express, launched in 2003, began orbiting Mars later that year, and although its Beagle 2 lander failed to establish contact, the orbiter has sent back data. Spirit and Opportunity, NASA rovers, landed successfully on Mars in 2004, as did the NASA rover Curiosity in 2012. Messenger, also launched by NASA, became the first space probe to orbit Mercury in 2011; its mission ended in 2015. In 2014 the ESA’s Rosetta became the first probe to orbit a comet (Comet 67P, which it then studied for two years); prior to that rendezvous the space probe had made flybys of Mars and two asteroids.

Space probes have also been aimed at the outer planets, with spectacular results. One such probe, Pioneer 10, passed through the asteroid belt in 1973, then became the first object made by human beings to move beyond the orbits of the planets. In 1974, Pioneer 11 photographed Jupiter’s equatorial latitudes and its moons, and in 1979 it made the first direct observations of Saturn. Voyagers 1 and 2, which were launched in 1977, took advantage of a rare alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune to explore all four planets. Passing as close as 3,000 mi (4,800 km) to each planet’s surface, the Voyagers discovered new rings, explored complex magnetic fields, and returned detailed photographs of the outer planets and their unique moons. They subsequently moved toward the heliopause, the boundary between the influence of the sun’s magnetic field and the interstellar magnetic field, and in 2013 NASA reported that Voyager 1 most likely crossed the heliopause in 2012 and entered interstellar space, becoming the first spacecraft to do so.

Launched in 1989, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft followed a circuitous route that enabled it to return data about Venus (1990), the moon (1992), and the asteroids 951 Gaspra (1991) and 243 Ida (1993) before it orbited Jupiter (19952003); it also returned data about the Jupiter’s atmosphere and its largest moons (Io, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto). NASA returned to Jupiter in 2016 with Juno (launched 2011); its instruments are designed to examine the nature and properties of the planet. The joint U.S.-ESA Cassini mission, launched in 1997, began exploring Saturn, its rings, and some of its moons upon arriving in 2004. It deployed Huygens, which landed on the surface of Saturn’s moom Titan in early 2005.

Human spaceflight has progressed from the simple to the complex, starting with suborbital flights; subsequent highlights included the launching of a single astronaut in orbit, the launching of several astronauts in a single capsule, the rendezvous and docking of two spacecraft, the attainment of lunar orbit, and the televised landing of an astronaut on the moon. The first person in earth orbit was a Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri GagarinGagarin, Yuri Alekseyevich , 193468, Russian astronaut (cosmonaut), b. near Gzhatsk, RSFSR. He was the first in history to be rocketed into orbital space flight. His flight on Apr. 12, 1961, lasted 1 hr. 48 min. and circled the earth once. ….. Click the link for more information. , in Vostok 1 on Apr. 12, 1961. The American Mercury program had its first orbital success in Feb., 1962, when John GlennGlenn, John Herschel, Jr., 19212016, American astronaut and politician, b. Cambridge, Ohio. On Feb. 20, 1962, he became the first American and the third person to orbit the earth, circling the globe three times in Friendship 7, ….. Click the link for more information. circled the earth three times; a flight of 22 orbits was achieved by Mercury in May, 1963. In Oct., 1964, three Soviet cosmonauts were launched in a Voskhod spacecraft. During the second Voskhod flight in Mar., 1965, a cosmonaut left the capsule to make the first “walk in space.”

The first launch of the Gemini program, carrying two American astronauts, occurred a few days after the Soviet spacewalk. The United States made its first spacewalk during Gemini 4, and subsequent flights established techniques for rendezvous and docking in space. The first actual docking of two craft in space was achieved in Mar., 1966, when Gemini 8 docked with a crewless vehicle. In Oct., 1967, two Soviet Cosmos spacecraft performed the first automatic crewless rendezvous and docking. Gemini and Voskhod were followed by the American Apollo and the Soviet Soyuz programs, respectively.

In 1961, President Kennedy had committed the United States to the goal of landing astronauts on the moon and bringing them safely back to earth by the end of the decade. The resulting Apollo program was the largest scientific and technological undertaking in history. Apollo 8 was the first craft to orbit both the earth and the moon (Dec., 1968); on July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil A. ArmstrongArmstrong, Neil Alden, 19302012, American astronaut, b. Wapakoneta, Ohio, grad. Purdue Univ. (B.S., 1955), Univ. of Southern California (M.S., 1970). A U.S. Navy fighter pilot during the Korean War, Armstrong became a test pilot for what was then the National Advisory ….. Click the link for more information. and Edwin E. (“Buzz”) AldrinAldrin, Buzz (Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr.), 1930, American astronaut, b. Montclair, N.J. After graduating from West Point (1951), Aldrin joined the U.S. air force and flew 66 combat missions during the Korean War. His doctoral thesis at the Massachusetts Inst. ….. Click the link for more information. , Jr., stepped out onto the moon, while a third astronaut, Michael Collins, orbited the moon in the command ship. In all, there were 17 Apollo missions and 6 lunar landings (196972). Apollo 15 marked the first use of the Lunar Rover, a jeeplike vehicle. The scientific mission of Apollo centered around an automated geophysical laboratory, ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experimental Package). Much was learned about the physical constitution and early history of the moon, including information about magnetic fields, heat flow, volcanism, and seismic activity. The total lunar rock sample returned to earth weighed nearly 900 lb (400 kg).

Apollo moon flights were launched by the three-stage Saturn V rocket, which developed 7.5 million lb (3.4 million kg) of thrust at liftoff. At launch, the total assembly stood 363 ft (110 m) high and weighed more than 3,000 tons. The Apollo spacecraft itself weighed 44 tons and stood nearly 60 ft (20 m) high. It was composed of three sections: the command, service, and lunar modules. In earth orbit, the lunar module (LM) was freed from its protective compartment and docked to the nose of the command module. Once in lunar orbit, two astronauts transferred to the LM, which then detached from the command module and descended to the lunar surface. After lunar exploration, the descent stage of the LM remained on the moon, while the ascent stage was jettisoned after returning the astronauts to the command module. The service module was jettisoned just before reentering the earth’s atmosphere. Thus, of the huge craft that left the earth, only the cone-shaped command module returned.

Until late 1969 it appeared that the USSR was also working toward landing cosmonauts on the moon. In Nov., 1968, a Soviet cosmonaut in Soyuz 3 participated in an automated rendezvous and manual approach sequence with the crewless Soyuz 2. Soyuz 4 and 5 docked in space in Jan., 1969, and two cosmonauts transferred from Soyuz 5 to Soyuz 4; it was the first transfer of crew members in space from separately launched vehicles. But in July, 1969, the rocket that was to power the lunar mission exploded, destroying an entire launch complex, and the USSR abandoned the goal of human lunar exploration to concentrate on orbital flights. The program suffered a further setback in June, 1971, when Soyuz 11 accidentally depressurized during reentry, killing all three cosmonauts. In July, 1975, the United States and the USSR carried out the first internationally crewed spaceflight, when an Apollo and a Soyuz spacecraft docked while in earth orbit. Later Soyuz spacecraft have been used to ferry crew members to and from Salyut, Mir, and the International Space Station.

After the geophysical exploration of the moon via the Apollo program was completed, the United States continued human space exploration with Skylab, an earth-orbiting space station that served as workshop and living quarters for three astronauts. The main capsule was launched by a booster; the crews arrived later in an Apollo-type craft that docked to the main capsule. Skylab had an operational lifetime of eight months, during which three three-astronaut crews remained in the space station for periods of about one month, two months, and three months. The first crew reached Skylab in May, 1972.

Skylab’s scientific mission alternated between predominantly solar astrophysical research and study of the earth’s natural resources; in addition, the crews evaluated their response to prolonged conditions of weightlessness. The solar observatory contained eight high-resolution telescopes, each designed to study a different part of the spectrumspectrum, arrangement or display of light or other form of radiation separated according to wavelength, frequency, energy, or some other property. Beams of charged particles can be separated into a spectrum according to mass in a mass spectrometer (see mass spectrograph). ….. Click the link for more information. (e.g., visible, ultraviolet, X-ray, or infrared light). Particular attention was given to the study of solar flares (see sunsun, intensely hot, self-luminous body of gases at the center of the solar system. Its gravitational attraction maintains the planets, comets, and other bodies of the solar system in their orbits. ….. Click the link for more information. ). The earth applications, which involved remote sensing of natural resources, relied on visible and infrared light in a technique called multispectral scanning (see space sciencespace science, body of scientific knowledge as it relates to space exploration; it is sometimes also called astronautics. Space science draws on the conventional sciences of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering, as well as requiring specific research of its own. ….. Click the link for more information. ). The data collected helped scientists to forecast crop and timber yields, locate potentially productive land, detect insect infestation, map deserts, measure snow and ice cover, locate mineral deposits, trace marine and wildlife migrations, and detect the dispersal patterns of air and water pollution. In addition, radar studies yielded information about the surface roughness and electrical properties of the sea on a global basis. Skylab fell out of orbit in July, 1979; despite diligent efforts, several large pieces of debris fell on land.

After that time the only continuing presence of humans in earth orbit were the Soviet Salyut and Mir space stations, in which cosmonauts worked for periods ranging to more than 14 months. In addition to conducting remote sensing and gathering medical data, cosmonauts used their microgravity environment to produce electronic and medical artifacts impossible to create on earth. In preparation for the International Space Station (ISS)a cooperative program of the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, Brazil, and the ESAastronauts and cosmonauts from Afghanistan, Austria, Britain, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Japan, Kazakhstan, Syria, and the United States worked on Mir alongside their Russian counterparts. Assembly of the ISS began in Dec., 1998, with the linking of an American and a Russian module (see space stationspace station or space platform, artificial earth satellite, usually manned, that is placed in a fixed orbit and can serve as a base for astronomical observations; zero-gravity materials processing; satellite assembly, refueling, and repair; or, possibly, as weapons ….. Click the link for more information. ) Once the ISS was manned in 2000, maintaining Mir in orbit was no longer necessary and it was made to decay out of orbit in Mar., 2001.

After the Skylab space station fell out of orbit in 1979, the United States did not resume sending astronauts into space until 1981, when the space shuttlespace shuttle, reusable U.S. space vehicle (19812011). Developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and officially known as the Space Transportation System (STS), it was the world’s first reusable spacecraft that carried human beings into earth ….. Click the link for more information. , capable of ferrying people and equipment into orbit and back to earth, was launched. The shuttle itself was a hypersonic delta-wing airplane about the size of a DC-9. Takeoff was powered by three liquid-fuel engines fed from an external tank and two solid-fuel engines; the last were recovered by parachute. The shuttle itself returned to earth in a controlled glide, landing either in California or in Florida.

The shuttle put a payload of up to 25 tons (22,700 kg) in earth orbit below 600 mi (970 km); the payload was then boosted into final orbit by its own attached rocket. The Galileo probe, designed to investigate Jupiter’s upper atmosphere, was launched from the space shuttle. Astronauts also used the shuttle to retrieve and repair satellites, to experiment with construction techniques needed for a permanent space station, and to conduct scientific experiments during extended periods in space.

At first it was hoped that shuttle flights could operate on a monthly basis, but schedule pressures contributed to the explosion of the Challenger shuttle in 1986, when cold launch conditions led to the failure of a rubber O-ring, and the resulting flame ruptured the main fuel tank. The shuttle program was suspended for three years, while the entire system was redesigned. The shuttle fleet subsequently operated on approximately a bimonthly schedule. A second accident occurred in 2003, when Columbia was lost during reentry because damaged heat shielding on the left wing, which had been damaged by insulation shed from the external fuel tank, failed to prevent superheated gas from entering the wing; the hot gas structurally weakened the wing and caused the shuttle to break up. Shuttle flights resumed in July, 2005, but new problems with fuel tank insulation led NASA to suspend shuttle launches for a year. The last shuttle flight was in July, 2011.

In 2004, President George W. Bush called for a return to the moon by 2020 and the establishment of a base there that would be used to support the human exploration of Mars. The following year NASA unveiled a $104 billion plan for a lunar expedition that resembled that Apollo program in many respects, except that two rockets would be used to launch the crew and lunar lander separately.

In June, 2004, SpaceShipOne, a privately financed spacecraft utilizing a reusable vehicle somewhat similar in concept to the shuttle, was launched into suborbital flight from the Mojave Desert in California. Unlike the shuttle, SpaceShipOne was carried aloft by a reusable jet mothership (White Knight) to 46,000 ft (13.8 km), where it was released and fires its rocket engine. The spacecraft was designed by Bert RutanRutan, Burt (Elbert Leander Rutan) , 1943, American aerospace engineer, b. Portland, Oreg., grad. California Polytechnic Univ. (B.S. 1965). From 1965 to 1972 Rutan worked for the U.S. ….. Click the link for more information. and built by his company, SCALED Composites. The vehicle’s 90-minute flight was the first successful nongovernmental spaceflight. SpaceShipTwo, based on SpaceShipOne, is being developed for commercial tourist flights; it made its first powered flight in 2013. Another spacecraft was privately developed by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, in coordination with NASA. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket had its first successful launch, from Cape Canaveral, in June, 2010. In Dec., 2010, SpaceX launched the Dragon space capsule, using a Falcon 9 rocket, and successfully returned the capsule to earth after almost two orbits. In May, 2012, the Dragon made its first resupply trip to the space station, returning with experiments and other items. Orbital Sciences Corp. (OSC) also developed a cargo capsule, Cygnus, in cooperation with NASA. OSC’s Antares rocket, which is used to launch Cygnus, had its first test in Apr., 2013, and Cygnus had its first resupply flight later that year.

China launched its first satellite in 1970 and then began the Shuguang program to put an astronaut into space, but the program was twice halted, ending in 1980. In the 1990s, however, China began a new program, and launched the crewless Shenzhou 1, based on the Soyuz, in 1999. The Shenzhou, like the Soyuz, is capable of carrying a crew of three. In Oct., 2003, Shenzhou 5 carried a single astronaut, Yang Liwei, on a 21-hr, 14-orbit flight, making China only the third nation to place a person in orbit. A second mission, involving two astronauts, occurred in Oct., 2005. China also launched an unmanned moon mission in Oct., 2007. In June, 2012, the three-person Shenzhou 9, which included China’s first woman astronaut, manually docked with the Tiangong 1 prototype space station, which had launched the year before, and the crew of Shenzhou 10 docked with the station in 2013. Tiangong 2, a testing laboratory and precursor to a more permanent space station, was launched in Sept., 2016, and the crew of Shenzhou 11 docked with the station for a monthlong mission the following month.

See T. Wolfe, The Right Stuff (repr. 1983); B. C. Murray, Journey into Space (repr. 1990); V. Neal, Where Next, Columbus?: The Future of Space Exploration (1994); J. Harford, Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon (1997); T. A. Heppenheimer, Countdown: A History of Space Flight (1997); F. J. Hale, Introduction to Space Flight (1998); R. D. Launius, Frontiers of Space Exploration (1998); C. Nelson, Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon (2009); A. Chaikin with V. Kohl, Voices from the Moon (2009).

flights into space; the aggregate of the branches of science and technology used in the exploration of space and extraterrestrial objects by means of various types of spacecraft. Space exploration includes subjects of astronautics, such as problems of the theory of space flight (calculation of trajectories) and scientific and technical problems (the design of space rockets, engines, on-board control systems, launch complexes, unmanned probes, piloted craft, scientific instruments, ground-based flight control systems, and tracking and telemetry services, as well as the organization and supply of orbital stations). Also studied are medical problems (the development of on-board life-support systems; compensation for unfavorable effects of acceleration, weightlessness, and radiation on the human body) and problems of international law connected with the regulation of the use of space and the planets.

Historical survey. Mankind has long dreamed of penetrating the cosmos, as is reflected in the dreams contained in fairy tales, legends, and science-fiction novels. The numerous and usually unrealizable inventions of the past attest to this. Stories of flight are encountered as early as Assyrian-Babylonian epics, as well as in ancient Chinese and Iranian legends. The Sanskrit epic poem Mahabharata contains instructions for a flight to the moon. The Greek myth about Icarus flight to the sun on wings fastened together with wax is widely known. In the second century B.C., Lucian described a flight to the moon on wings.

In the late 19th century the Russian scientist K. E. Tsiolkov-skii was the first to provide a theoretical basis for space flight. In his Investigation of Interplanetary Space by Means of Jet Devices (1903) and in subsequent works, Tsiolkovskii solved a number of basic problems of space flight and demonstrated its technical feasibility. In addition to Tsiolkovskiis works, those of I. V. Meshcherskii (beginning in 1897), lu. V. Kondratiuk (1919-29), F. A. Tsander (1924-32), N. A. Rynin (1928-32), and other Russian scientists were devoted to the problems of space flight. Outside the USSR, early works in the field were published by R. Esnault-Pelterie (France, 1913), R. Goddard (USA, 1919), and H. Oberth (Gemany, 1923). The first space exploration societies were founded in the 1920sin the USSR in 1924, Austria in 1926, Germany in 1927, and Great Britain and the USA in 1930. They worked to promote the ideas of space exploration, as well as to assist in solving practical problems.

Work in rocket technology in the USSR began in 1921; the Gas Dynamics Laboratory (GDL) was organized during that period. Flight tests of rockets using smokeless grainy powder began in 1928, under the direction of N. I. Tikhomirov (the founder of the Gas Dynamics Laboratory). In 1929, V. P. Glushko developed rockets with electric and liquid-propellant motors. The first tests of electric and liquid-propellant rocket motors took place in 1929 and 1931, respectively. In 1932 the Moscow Group for the Study of Jet Propulsion (GIRD) was formed. In 1933, S. P. Korolev directed the first launches of Soviet liquid-propellant rockets designed by M. K. Tikhonravov and F. A. Tsander. In late 1933 the GDL and GIRD were merged to form the Jet Scientific Research Institute. These three organizations made the major initial contribution to the development of Soviet rocketry. The subsequent development of rocket and space technology in the USSR came from the experimental design bureau for the development of liquid-propellant rocket motors, that had grown out of the GDL, as well as from other experimental design bureaus, institutes, and factories.

Experimental work on liquid-propellant rocket motors in the USA was began in 1921 by R. Goddard, and launches of liquid-propellant rockets began in 1926. Bench tests of liquid-propellant motors were begun in Germany by H. Oberth in 1929 and flight tests by J. Winkler in 1931. Germany used liquid-propellant rockets with a range of 250300 km (the V-2 rocket, designed by W. von Braun) during World War II (193945). The potential of the new weapon caused many countries to intensify their efforts in rocket technology after the war, resulting in the development of intercontinental and other ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads. This work indirectly furthered the development of the technological basis for space flight.

The space age. Oct. 4, 1957, the date on which the USSR launched the first artifical earth satellite, is considered the dawn of the space age. A second important date is Apr. 12, 1961, the date of the first manned space flight, by Iu. A. Gagarin, the start of mans direct penetration into space. The third historical event is the first lunar expedition, by N. Armstrong, E. Aldrin, and M. Collins (USA), July 1624, 1969.

A number of countries have developed and are using spacecraft: the USSR since 1957, and USA since 1958, France since 1965, Japan and the Peoples Republic of China since 1970, and Great Britain since 1971. The scale of space research may be judged from the number of satellites of the earth, the sun, the moon, Mars, and Venus launched by the USSR (about 900 as of Jan. 1,1976); earth escape velocity has been imparted to 41 space probes, with a total mass of 110 tons (167 tons, including the final stage of the launch vehicle). Space research is conducted on a similar scale in the USA. As of Jan. 1, 1976, 34 soviet cosmonauts had made space flights in 26 spacecraft and three orbital stations of the Salyut series, and 43 American astronauts had flown in 31 spacecraft and one orbital station. The number of satellites orbited by other countires is as follows: 10 by France, six by Japan, and three by the Peoples Republic of China (as of Dec. 1, 1975).

S. P. Korolev was the founder of practical astronautics. By 1957 he had directed the construction of a space center, which made possible the launching of the first artificial earth satellite; later, a number of unmanned spacecraft were successfully orbited. By 1961 the Vostok spacecraft, on which Iu. A. Gagarin made the first flight, had been developed and launched. Korolev directed the development of unmanned interplanetary probes for the study of the moon (up to Luna 9, which made the first soft lunar landing), the first spacecraft of the Zond and Venera series, and the Voskhod spacecraft (the first multiseat spacecraft, from which the first space walk was made). Not limiting his work to the development of launch vehicles and spacecraft, Korolev exercised overall technical supervision of work that created the basis for the first space programs. Important contributions to the development of Soviet rocket technology were also made by design bureaus headed by M. K. Iangel, G. N. Babakin, A. M. Isaev, and S. A. Kosberg. V. P. Glushko, the founder and head of the experimental design bureau affiliated with the GDL, supervised the development of powerful liquid-propellant rocket motors used by all Soviet launch vehicles (1957-73).

Modern space flight theory is based on celestial mechanics and the theory of vehicle control. In contrast to classical celestial mechanics, this new field is called astrodynamics. Space flight gave rise to the need to develop optimum spacecraft trajectories (selection of the launch time and type of trajectory in order to minimize fuel consumption by the launch vehicle). Changes in trajectory caused by perturbational forcesparticularly gravitational fields and the aerodynamic braking effect, which results from interaction of the spacecraft with the rarefied upper layers of the atmosphere (for artificial satellites of planets)and under the influence of solar radiation pressure (for interplanetary flights) are taken into account. The optimality requirement sometimes results in fairly complex trajectories, with extended interruptions in launch vehicle engine operation (for example, for a lunar, Mars, or Venus launch the spacecraft is first inserted into the earth parking orbit and then injected into a planetary trajectory) and with the use of the gravitational field of a planet (for example, for a lunar mission, which requires an arched trajectory for earth return without firing the rocket motor).

The theory of trajectory corrections is an important branch of astrodynamics. Deviation of the actual trajectory from the calculated trajectory is the result of two factors: distortion of the trajectory by perturbational forces that cannot be predicted (slowing of a satellite by the atmosphere, whose density varies unevenly) and the technically unavoidable minor errors in speed and direction of the spacecraft at the moment of shutdown of the launch vehicle engine (in interplanetary flights, the effect of errors gradually increases). Trajectory correction is accomplished by a short burn of the rocket motor. The theory of correction involves questions of optimizing the correction maneuver (the most advantageous number of such maneuvers and the location of correction points along the trajectory). Knowledge of a spacecrafts actual trajectory is needed in order to make corrections and perform maneuvers. If the actual orbit is determined on board the spacecraft, such a determination is an integral part of the self-contained navigational system and involves the measurement of angles between stars and planets, the distances of planets, the times of setting and rising of the sun and stars relative to the edge of planets, and the processing of the measurements by an on-board computer, using methods of celestial mechanics.

The development of space centers is a complex scientific and technical problem. Large launch vehicles may have a launch mass of as much as 3,000 tons and may be more than 100 m tall. In order to carry the necessary fuel reserves (90 percent of the total mass), a rockets structure must be extremely light; this is achieved through appropriate design and judicious reduction of rigidity and durability requirements. As fuel is consumed in flight, the empty parts of the fuel tanks become superfluous, and their further acceleration results in unwarranted expenditure of fuel. Therefore, multistage launch vehicle configurations (usually two to four stages) are advisable; the stages are jettisoned successively as their fuel tanks become empty.

A modern launch vehicle is a complex package of systems, of which the power plant and the control system are the most important. Chemical liquid-propellant rocket motors are normally used; solid-propellant motors are used less frequently. Motors that use nuclear power are still in the experimental stage (1973); however, there is no doubt that nuclear power will actually be used on future space expeditions. Manned flights to Mars (including a Mars landing) and other similar space programs require tremendous amounts of energy, which can be supplied only by nuclear power sources in combination with chemical sources. Launch vehicle power plants are rated at tens of millions of kilowatts. In the development of powerful and economical liquid-propellant rocket motors for launch vehicles, scientists are concentrating their efforts on the selection of optimum energy-producing fuels and the provision of sufficiently complete combustion in the combustion chamber under high pressures and temperatures. In connection with this, solutions must be found to difficult problems, such as in-flight engine cooling and the achievement of stability of fuel combustion.

Launch vehicle power plants usually consist of several engines, whose operation is synchronized by the guidance system. Guidance systems are normally self-containedthat is, they operate independently of ground stations. They consist of gyroscopic and other primary information sensors, which continuously measure the attitude of the launch vehicle and the accelerations acting on it. Using this information, a computer determines the actual trajectory and controls the vehicle in order to achieve the required combination of coordinates and velocity vector of the rocket at the moment of engine shutdown. The control of a launch vehicles attitude is complicated by the vehicles low structural stiffness and the large proportion of its mass that is liquid. Therefore, the flexural oscillations of the rockets hull and the movement of liquids in the fuel tanks must be taken into account.

The flight readiness of a launch vehicle is checked in the field assembly area of the cosmodrome (in the assembly and testing building), and then the vehicle is transported to the launching pad, where it is erected on the launch pedestal, undergoes pre-launch tests, and is fueled and launched. A spacecraft is considered to have been inserted into orbit if it has exceeded orbital velocity (about 7.91 km/sec) for earth satellites or has attained velocity of the order of earth escape velocity (11.19 km/sec) for spacecraft on missions to the moon, Mars, or Venus. (For flights to the remote planets or the sun a speed considerably greater than earth escape velocity is needed.) During orbital insertion the launch vehicle separates from the spacecraft, which continues its orbital flight mainly by inertia, according to the laws of celestial mechanics.

Spacecraft inserted into orbit may be divided into two groups, earth satellites and space probes for flight to the moon or planets. If significant changes in speed are planned, such spacecraft may be equipped with rocket stages of various degrees of power for braking during planet approach (if the flight plan calls for planetary satellite orbit), for soft landing on a planet lacking an atmosphere, for blastoff from the planet, and for accelerating the spacecraft to the velocity required for its return to earth. It is presumed that in the future economical electric rocket motors will accelerate spacecraft from orbital to higher velocities. A shortcoming of the electric motor is its small thrust, as a result of which acceleration from orbital to escape velocity (or braking from escape to orbital velocity) may last several months. High-capacity sources of nuclear-derived electric power are needed to produce the necessary thrust; this causes additional difficulties connected with the need to protect instruments and crew from harmful radiation.

Spacecraft must be capable of long-term independent operation in space. A number of systems are needed for this purpose: a system for maintaining a specified temperature range; a power-supply system using solar radiation (solar batteries), fuel (electrochemical current generators), or nuclear energy to produce electric power; a system for communicating with earth and other spacecraft; and a guidance system. In addition, a spacecraft carries a wide variety of scientific equipment, from small instruments for studying the properties of space to large telescopes.

The on-board control system integrates the operation of these instruments and systems.

Guidance involves solutions to a number of problems such as attitude control and control of engine burns for trajectory correction during ascent and landing, as well as during rendezvous and other maneuvers performed by two spacecraft. Special control is required for descent to the surface of a planet with an atmosphere. A distinction is made between two kinds of atmospheric descent in which the atmosphere itself is used to slow the spacecraftcontrolled descent and uncontrolled (ballistic) descent. The former is characterized by a high degree of touchdown accuracy and a smaller g-load during atmospheric braking. Heat shields are used to protect the descent vehicle from the heat generated by atmospheric braking.

In addition, a number of medical problems arise in the case of a manned spacecraft. It must provide protection of the crew from the space environment (vacuum, harmful radiation, and so on) and must be equipped with a life-support system, which maintains the necessary atmospheric composition and the correct temperature, humidity, and pressure inside the spacecraft. Food and water reserves are provided on short-term flights; for long-term flights, food productionas well as water and oxygen regenerationmust take place on board. Space flight places increased demands on the human body (the effect of weightlessness and of the g-load during the launch and landing phases). Therefore, medical criteria must be used in the cosmonaut selection process. The problem of long-term manned flight under conditions of weightlessness has not yet been resolved.

Descent to the surface of heavenly bodies involves the solution of a number of problems: setting up scientific equipment, conducting experiments using stationary and mobile automatic robots, andin the futuremanned expeditions requiring the construction of temporary or permanent bases.

Space flights usually require a broad network of ground-based control services. Space communications centers are located all over the globe, and where this is not feasible, as in the ocean, ships equipped with communications gear (for example, the Iurii Gagarin and Kosmonavt Vladimir Komarov) are used.

After a spacecraft has returned to earth, the recovery team goes into operation. Its mission is to find and recover the descent vehicle and, in the case of manned flights, to recover the crew, render medical assistance if needed, and take quarantine measures (for crews returning from other planets). To facilitate location of the descent vehicle, it is equipped with a radio beacon whose signals are used for homing by the ships, airplanes, and helicopters of the recovery team. Control of a flight from launch to touchdown involves the efforts of a large number of various services. The job of the administrative technical personnel in charge of a flight is to organize and integrate on-board spacecraft control systems with the numerous ground-based services.

The goals of space exploration may be divided into two groups: scientific studies and practical applications. In addition to the indirect influence of space research on the practical sphere through fundamental scientific discoveries, space exploration makes possible the direct use of spacecraft for practical applications. Artificial satellites circling the globe in high orbits and equipped with repeaters receive signals from a ground station and, after appropriate amplification, return it to earth, where it is received by a station located thousands of kilometers away from the transmitting station. Such communications satellites relay television programs and handle telephone and telegraph communications. Satellites are used in meteorology to produce cloud distribution and earth heat radiation maps, as well as to track cyclones. The information is continuously fed to world meteorological centers and is used for weather forecasting. Satellites whose orbital paths have been determined with great accuracy are used for marine and aviation navigation services; they transmit their precise coordinates to ships and aircraft during periods of radio contact. Any object can establish its own coordinates by determining its position relative to the navigation satellite.

Satellites are playing an ever-increasing role in surveying the earths natural resources and in continuous checks on their condition. Photography of the earths surface through various light filters, as well as other research methods, makes it possible to see the distribution of vegetation and changes in the snow cover, as well as river flooding and the condition of crops and forests; to observe the progress of work in the fields; to estimate the expected harvest; and to record the occurrence of forest fires. Oceanographic and hydrological studies may also be conducted using satellites. The use of satellites is of particular value in geodesy and topographyfor precise fixing of points located at great distances from each other and the fast updating of topographic maps through photographs from space, as well as for setting up geodetic reference networks by tracking satellites (whose coordinates are known precisely at every moment) from various ground stations. The particular features of space flight, such as weightlessness and vacuum, may be used for certain particularly delicate industrial processes. For this purpose appropriate industrial equipment will be placed on satellites, and space shuttles will supply them with raw materials and transport the manufactured products to earth.

A considerable number of specialized unmanned satellites (astronomical, solar, geophysical, geodetic, weather, communications, and others), as well as long-term multipurpose manned orbital stations, are needed to solve the problems associated with the exploration of near-earth space. Crew transfer will be carried out as required, by space shuttles making regular trips between an orbital station and ground space centers.

The immediate goal of lunar and planetary exploration is to produce new scientific data. Plans include the continued study of the moon by both manned and unmanned spacecraft, followed by the establishment of a scientific base on the lunar surface. Flights to Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and other planets of the solar system are being made by unmanned crafts, and manned landing missions to Mars (with an expedition time of about three years) are seen as possible in the 1980s and 1990s. The study of remote planets and flights out of the solar system and to the sun will long remain feasible only for unmanned spacecraft. The very long duration of such flights requires a new step forward in technological progress in order to develop equipment of very high reliability. In the future, space exploration will make it possible for man to harness the material and energy resources of the universe.

Space exploration, by its very nature, is a field involving the efforts of all mankind, and even if carried out within the framework of national interests, it affects the interests of many counties. (See Table 1 for the major events of the space age.)

V. P. GLUSHKO and B. V. RAUSHENBAKH

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Science has barely scratched the surface of space exploration … – Kearney Hub

KEARNEY Despite being able to give finite predictions for solar events such as the eclipse, science has just barely scratched the surface of space exploration, a visiting astronomer to Kearney explained to a room full of space fans.

Assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University Tabetha Boyajian gave a presentation on eclipses Sunday, the eve of the Great American Eclipse, at the Merryman Performing Arts Center.

I tried to take that (presentation) to not just talking about the solar eclipse and why its happening (today) but try and put that in the perspective of the whole universe, Boyajian said.

Eclipses arent unique to Earth, Boyajian explained to a full crowd. These special alignments occur throughout the solar system and all through the galaxy whether its a moon blocking light from the sun or a planet going in front of a star, which is referred to as a transit.

Science is the ability to predict certain things, and were able to do it for the eclipse because weve studied it for thousands of years and were able to predict these things down to very, very fine positions and measurements, Boyajian said. Space as a whole is very unexplored, and were just kind of scraping the surface of these kind of things that we can discover in space and thats really exciting.

Boyajian, who gave a TEDTalk on her work, earned her doctorate from Georgia State University and was awarded the Hubble Fellowship. After continuing her research at Georgia State for three years, she did her postdoctorate at Yale University. It was there that she become part of the Yale Exoplanet Group.

My research interests are primarily in nearby stellar systems and those with planets going around them what we call exoplanets and trying to detect them.

Her work focuses on the unknown specifically KIC 8462852, a mysterious star that displays odd behavior.

Its surprising because it doesnt do the things that stars do or that we think that stars do, Boyajian said.

The star shows variations in brightness, which have caused scientists to hypothesize scenarios from comet dust to alien megastructures.

Despite results they receive on the bizarre star, however, the data still hasnt pointed scientists down the right track, Boyajian said.

Nature is a lot more creative than we are. Theres no way of telling what its going to throw at us next.

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Science has barely scratched the surface of space exploration … – Kearney Hub

NASA: We Need Companies Like SpaceX for the Future of Space Exploration – Futurism

A Different Path to Space

On Monday, August 14, SpaceX launched a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). It was the 12th resupply flight SpaceX has done for NASA as part of its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program, and the last one with an unused Dragon capsule. It has also been a month since Elon Musks rocket company flew to space, after a series of successful launches earlier this summer. This most recentCRS-12 flight was a special one, both for NASA and SpaceX, but also for the future of space exploration.

A great many recent rocket and spaceflight achievements have been madeby commercial space companies like SpaceX and Orbital ATK (formerly Orbital Sciences). Both companieshave been running CRS missions for NASA, as well as aeronautics giant Boeing. Theres also Jeff Bezos Blue Origin which is also working on reusable rockets, Virgin Galactic with its more space tourism-focused approach, and many more space endeavor focused startups.

NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot, Jr. is convinced that these private, commercial companies are actually the future of space exploration or at least, theyll make it possible. Today epitomizes what we have been doing for a long time in terms of building our commercial partnerships, Lightfoot told Futurism after Mondays launch. We are getting to space a little differently than we used to. Its not just us anymore by ourselves. Weve got a great partnership with SpaceX. Weve got a great partnership with Orbital ATK.

While commercial space companies may have their own plans for space exploration most of which involve returning to the Moon and getting to Mars it doesnt mean that NASA doesnt haveplans of its own. In fact, NASA has been working on its own mission to Mars for a while now. The space agency is also currently building its own large rocket. However,recent developmentssuggest that NASA needs all the help it can get for its programs to survive.

Such a collaboration between NASA and commercial space agencies has been working well, Lightfoot noted. For one, its whats made it possible for the ISS to continue operating. They have allowed us to keep the space station going and allowed us to do some fantastic research, he said, referring to SpaceX and Orbital ATKs CRS missions.

Lightfoot also suggested that these partnerships could do so much more, like sending people to space again. SpaceX and Boeing will come along and allow us to fly [a] crew, he said. In a couple of years we will get there, and they will be getting crew to the station.this will give us our own access to space. From there on, the possibilities could be endless.

Indeed, space exploration is entering a new era. It isnt necessarily ending the era when space agencies were the only ones making giant leaps for mankind only helping it. Collaboration is the future of space exploration.

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NASA: We Need Companies Like SpaceX for the Future of Space Exploration – Futurism

UNT’s next chancellor has pushed the boundaries of space … – Texas Tribune

Lesa Roe hopscotched across the country working her way up the ranks at NASA. And when you spend more than three decades working on projects that push the boundaries of space exploration, its hard to pick the coolest moment of your career.

“Oh my gosh, thats really hard to nail down because theres just too many exciting things to talk about,” she says.

Roe managed the research program at the International Space Station and helped launch missions that have discovered new worlds. As an engineer by training, Roe even helped build the space shuttle Endeavor. She installed its communications systems.

But she says the most thrilling moment came in the middle of the night a little more than five years ago.

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Roe was in Pasadena California, in the control room as the Curiosity rover was landing on Mars. She says the tension in the room was palpable, with dozens of blue-shirted scientists and engineers anxiously watching their screens.

“Theres what they call seven minutes of terror when you have no communications as the vehicle is going through the atmosphere of Mars,” she says.

Most of them had spent their entire careers working on getting a robot the size of a MINI Cooper to the surface of the red planet. So when it landed safely, “everybody just exploded in excitement. And so thats just something that sticks with you forever.”

So how do you go from being the No. 2 at NASA an organization with more than 17,000 employees and a $19 billion budget to running university system in Texas? Roe says thereisa connection.

“We really need a well-trained, well-educated workforce coming in to make those tremendous scientific discoveries, to do all of the incredible systems, the design, everything that we do at NASA. And so the University of North Texas systems role is to develop those students that can do that kind of work,” she says.

Roe will inherit a growing university system.Theres new law school in Dallas, and a new medical school in the works in Fort Worth. Roe says she wants to make sure graduates are attractive to top employers.

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“Every time I talk to students I talk about doing internships and really getting that hands-on experience and seeing what its like and learning and being part of a team even while youre a student in a university,” she says.

Roe wants UNT to be inclusive and accessible for people of all economic backgrounds. And personally, shes on a mission to get more women into STEM fields.

“I have a huge passion for young girls seeing yeah, I can do this, I can be a part of it. I was one of those young girls, I was the first to go to college in my family, and so I want to help be that encourager to say you can do this.”

And if they need a little inspiration along the way, shes always got that whole Mars landing story to tell them.

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UNT’s next chancellor has pushed the boundaries of space … – Texas Tribune

School of Mines hopes to launch first-ever space mining program – The Denver Post

The Colorado School of Mines is no longer concerned with just earthly matters.

The world-renowned science and engineering institution in Golden is now eyeing asteroids, the moon, Mars and beyond to explore, extract, process and use the raw materials they provide to help sustain life in space.

Mines hopes to launch a first-of-its kind interdisciplinary graduate program in space resources in 2018, pending approval by school leaders. The first course, Space Resources Fundamentals, is being offered as a pilot program this fall.

Officials hope to follow with a new space systems engineering course, design project class and seminar series in the spring semester.

All of the classes will focus on preparing the next generation of scientists and engineers to responsibly extract natural resources offered in space, including water, gases, minerals and metals, to fuel space exploration, said Angel Abbud-Madrid, director of the Mines Center for Space Resources and research associate professor in mechanical engineering.

This living-off-the-land approach will save resources on Earth and make space exploration safer and more affordable, officials said.

At some point we will be able to refuel in space, so we can keep that space craft flying, Abbud-Madrid said. We can cut our dependency on Earth.

Graduates of the Mines program will work from Earth initially, analyzing materials pulled out by robots and designing systems to turn raw materials into usable fuel for space programs, Abbud-Madrid said.

There is nothing really radical about the approach taken by Mines, he said.

Its a lot like taking a cross-country trip, he said. You are not going to take all that fuel you will need to get to the West Coast, so you stop along the way to fuel up. Then when you get to your destination you get the fuel and food there, you dont call home and try and get it sent to you. Its the same idea.

As we spend months, even years, in space, we need to look at ways to cut our dependency on Earth, he said.

The program would not only look at the technical aspects of space extraction but also the economic, policy and legal aspects as well, Abbud-Madrid said.

Instructors would draw from a multidisciplinary group of experts in academia, space agencies and the private sector, school officials said. Students would likely come from those same discipines, Abbud-Madrid said.

Its only fitting that Mines would spearhead the program since the school has a world-renowned presence in remote sensing, geomechanics, mining, metallurgy, robotics, advanced manufacturing, electrochemistry, resource economics and solar and nuclear energy, Mines officials said.

No other institution has the specialized expertise related to resource extraction and utilization that we have at Mines, Kevin Moore, dean of the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences, said. It makes good sense for us to apply that expertise in this new area.

Backers of the program hope that post-baccalaureate certificates, masters degrees and doctoral degrees will be offered next fall.

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School of Mines hopes to launch first-ever space mining program – The Denver Post

Space Exploration – National Geographic – Science

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From the dawn of man until very recently, humans have been Earthbound, unable to reach even the cloudslet alone space. It’s only within the last hundred years or so that the advent of manned flight and rocket ships has made the heavens attainable. In that time, we’ve sent people to the moon, rovers to Mars, and space probes deep into the reaches of our solar system. And advanced telescopes that orbit Earth are bringing even the most remote edges of the universe closer to home. See where space travel started, and where it’s going.

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Space Exploration – National Geographic – Science

Voyager probes fulfill 40 years of space exploration – CNN International

NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 are still exploring the outer solar system and continue to communicate with us on Earth daily.

The identical spacecrafts launched a couple of weeks apart from one another. Voyager 2 left Earth on August 20, and even though it launched first, it got its name because it was expected to reach Jupiter and Saturn after Voyager 1.

According to NASA, few missions can match the many achievements of the Voyager spacecrafts during their 40-year journey. Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft and only human-made object to have entered interstellar space. Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have flown by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Even though the Voyagers will not come near a star until 40,000 years from now, together, they have improved our understanding of the characteristics of the atmosphere of Jupiter. They also discovered the first active volcanoes beyond Earth at Jupiter’s moon Io; hints of a subsurface ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa; encountered Saturn’s largest moon Titan, where data showed a thick Earth-like atmosphere; found the icy moon Miranda at Uranus and spotted icy-cold geysers on Neptune’s moon Triton.

Though they are incredibly far from Earth — Voyager 1 is almost 13 billion miles away and Voyager 2 almost 11 billion miles — they continue to communicate with NASA daily, sending back observations on our solar system. The significance of the Voyager is the vast amount of new knowledge of outer space it has provided and the interest in further exploration it’s generated. That interest has resulted in the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Cassini mission to Saturn, as well as the discovery of three new moons around Saturn using Earth-based instruments.

Today, this mission’s legacy has made an impact in our culture, and has reached the film, art and music industries. Each spacecraft contains a “Golden Record,” a 12-inch phonographic gold-plated copper capsule containing Earth sounds, pictures, and messages designed to give any possible alien who encounters the spacecraft an idea of what life on Earth is like. They are expected to last billions of years and could one day be the only traces of human civilization.

As for the future, it is expected that in the year 40,272 AD, Voyager 1 will come within 1.7 light years of an obscure star in the constellation Ursa Minor (the Little Bear or Little Dipper) and in about 40,000 years, Voyager 2 will come within about 1.7 light years of a star called Ross 248, a small star in the constellation of Andromeda.

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Voyager probes fulfill 40 years of space exploration – CNN International

UNT’s next chancellor has pushed the boundaries of space … – Texas Tribune

Lesa Roe hopscotched across the country working her way up the ranks at NASA. And when you spend more than three decades working on projects that push the boundaries of space exploration, its hard to pick the coolest moment of your career.

“Oh my gosh, thats really hard to nail down because theres just too many exciting things to talk about,” she says.

Roe managed the research program at the International Space Station and helped launch missions that have discovered new worlds. As an engineer by training, Roe even helped build the space shuttle Endeavor. She installed its communications systems.

But she says the most thrilling moment came in the middle of the night a little more than five years ago.

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Roe was in Pasadena California, in the control room as the Curiosity rover was landing on Mars. She says the tension in the room was palpable, with dozens of blue-shirted scientists and engineers anxiously watching their screens.

“Theres what they call seven minutes of terror when you have no communications as the vehicle is going through the atmosphere of Mars,” she says.

Most of them had spent their entire careers working on getting a robot the size of a MINI Cooper to the surface of the red planet. So when it landed safely, “everybody just exploded in excitement. And so thats just something that sticks with you forever.”

So how do you go from being the No. 2 at NASA an organization with more than 17,000 employees and a $19 billion budget to running university system in Texas? Roe says thereisa connection.

“We really need a well-trained, well-educated workforce coming in to make those tremendous scientific discoveries, to do all of the incredible systems, the design, everything that we do at NASA. And so the University of North Texas systems role is to develop those students that can do that kind of work,” she says.

Roe will inherit a growing university system.Theres new law school in Dallas, and a new medical school in the works in Fort Worth. Roe says she wants to make sure graduates are attractive to top employers.

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“Every time I talk to students I talk about doing internships and really getting that hands-on experience and seeing what its like and learning and being part of a team even while youre a student in a university,” she says.

Roe wants UNT to be inclusive and accessible for people of all economic backgrounds. And personally, shes on a mission to get more women into STEM fields.

“I have a huge passion for young girls seeing yeah, I can do this, I can be a part of it. I was one of those young girls, I was the first to go to college in my family, and so I want to help be that encourager to say you can do this.”

And if they need a little inspiration along the way, shes always got that whole Mars landing story to tell them.

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UNT’s next chancellor has pushed the boundaries of space … – Texas Tribune

Report: 16 of the World’s Richest People Investing in Space Exploration – Breitbart News

The Associated Press

by Charlie Nash21 Aug 20170

The list includes obvious entries, such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk (who is also the CEO of SpaceX), Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos (who invests in aerospace manufacturer and space service company Blue Origin), and Virgin Founder Richard Branson (who owns Virgin Galactic), but also features 13 others from among the wealthiest people in the world.

Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates invests in satellite communications company Kymeta, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg invests in the Search for Extraterrestrial Information (SETI) project, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff invests in agriculture technology company Taranis.

Googles Eric Schmidt and Larry Page invest in asteroid mining company Planetary Resources, while Googles Sergey Brin has investments in Elon Musks SpaceX.

The list also includes Li Ka-Shing (Windward), Ma Huateng (Moon Express), Sheldon Adelson (SpaceIL), Ricardo Salinas (OneWeb), Lynn Schusterman (SpaceIL), and Yuri Milner (Planet).

All told, they have a net worth of $513 billion. Good thing, because space ventures such as rocket launches can involve stratospheric expenses, reported Bloomberg Technology. The last decade has seen a boom in space startups, and not only by billionaires. They were spurred in part by Musks Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Its first commercial launch in 2009 encouraged an ecosystem of space companies that were previously hindered by the cost of getting to orbit.

Charlie Nash is a reporterforBreitbart Tech. You can follow himon Twitter@MrNashingtonand Gab@Nash, orlike his page at Facebook.

Breitbart California, Science, Tech, Billionaires, Blue Origin, Elon Musk, Eric Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Marc Benioff, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Sergey Brin, Space, SpaceX, Tesla, Virgin Galactic

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Report: 16 of the World’s Richest People Investing in Space Exploration – Breitbart News

Science has barely scratched the surface of space exploration … – Kearney Hub

KEARNEY Despite being able to give finite predictions for solar events such as the eclipse, science has just barely scratched the surface of space exploration, a visiting astronomer to Kearney explained to a room full of space fans.

Assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University Tabetha Boyajian gave a presentation on eclipses Sunday, the eve of the Great American Eclipse, at the Merryman Performing Arts Center.

I tried to take that (presentation) to not just talking about the solar eclipse and why its happening (today) but try and put that in the perspective of the whole universe, Boyajian said.

Eclipses arent unique to Earth, Boyajian explained to a full crowd. These special alignments occur throughout the solar system and all through the galaxy whether its a moon blocking light from the sun or a planet going in front of a star, which is referred to as a transit.

Science is the ability to predict certain things, and were able to do it for the eclipse because weve studied it for thousands of years and were able to predict these things down to very, very fine positions and measurements, Boyajian said. Space as a whole is very unexplored, and were just kind of scraping the surface of these kind of things that we can discover in space and thats really exciting.

Boyajian, who gave a TEDTalk on her work, earned her doctorate from Georgia State University and was awarded the Hubble Fellowship. After continuing her research at Georgia State for three years, she did her postdoctorate at Yale University. It was there that she become part of the Yale Exoplanet Group.

My research interests are primarily in nearby stellar systems and those with planets going around them what we call exoplanets and trying to detect them.

Her work focuses on the unknown specifically KIC 8462852, a mysterious star that displays odd behavior.

Its surprising because it doesnt do the things that stars do or that we think that stars do, Boyajian said.

The star shows variations in brightness, which have caused scientists to hypothesize scenarios from comet dust to alien megastructures.

Despite results they receive on the bizarre star, however, the data still hasnt pointed scientists down the right track, Boyajian said.

Nature is a lot more creative than we are. Theres no way of telling what its going to throw at us next.

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Science has barely scratched the surface of space exploration … – Kearney Hub

NASA: We Need Companies Like SpaceX for the Future of Space Exploration – Futurism

A Different Path to Space

On Monday, August 14, SpaceX launched a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). It was the 12th resupply flight SpaceX has done for NASA as part of its Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program, and the last one with an unused Dragon capsule. It has also been a month since Elon Musks rocket company flew to space, after a series of successful launches earlier this summer. This most recentCRS-12 flight was a special one, both for NASA and SpaceX, but also for the future of space exploration.

A great many recent rocket and spaceflight achievements have been madeby commercial space companies like SpaceX and Orbital ATK (formerly Orbital Sciences). Both companieshave been running CRS missions for NASA, as well as aeronautics giant Boeing. Theres also Jeff Bezos Blue Origin which is also working on reusable rockets, Virgin Galactic with its more space tourism-focused approach, and many more space endeavor focused startups.

NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot, Jr. is convinced that these private, commercial companies are actually the future of space exploration or at least, theyll make it possible. Today epitomizes what we have been doing for a long time in terms of building our commercial partnerships, Lightfoot told Futurism after Mondays launch. We are getting to space a little differently than we used to. Its not just us anymore by ourselves. Weve got a great partnership with SpaceX. Weve got a great partnership with Orbital ATK.

While commercial space companies may have their own plans for space exploration most of which involve returning to the Moon and getting to Mars it doesnt mean that NASA doesnt haveplans of its own. In fact, NASA has been working on its own mission to Mars for a while now. The space agency is also currently building its own large rocket. However,recent developmentssuggest that NASA needs all the help it can get for its programs to survive.

Such a collaboration between NASA and commercial space agencies has been working well, Lightfoot noted. For one, its whats made it possible for the ISS to continue operating. They have allowed us to keep the space station going and allowed us to do some fantastic research, he said, referring to SpaceX and Orbital ATKs CRS missions.

Lightfoot also suggested that these partnerships could do so much more, like sending people to space again. SpaceX and Boeing will come along and allow us to fly [a] crew, he said. In a couple of years we will get there, and they will be getting crew to the station.this will give us our own access to space. From there on, the possibilities could be endless.

Indeed, space exploration is entering a new era. It isnt necessarily ending the era when space agencies were the only ones making giant leaps for mankind only helping it. Collaboration is the future of space exploration.

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NASA: We Need Companies Like SpaceX for the Future of Space Exploration – Futurism

Space exploration will send our economy into orbit – The National

Alia Al Mansoori is a fine example of how space research can galvanise young minds. Scott A Miller / The National

At precisely 12.31pm on Monday, a Falcon9 rocket lifted off from Nasas Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. The rocket shot a 2,900 kg Dragon cargo capsule into space. When astronauts aboard the International Space Station retrieve the capsule today, they will find, among its contents, an experiment by Emirati teenager Alia Al Mansoori that will study DNA to identity how proteins in living organisms are synthesised, modified and regulated in space. The results of the experiment may yield clues that could aid in the prevention of unwanted cell death in astronauts on long-haul missions into deep space, including future flights to Mars. Ms Al Mansooris experiment won the Genes in Space competition, which is sponsored by The National, the UAE Space Agency and Boeing. She is the first winner from outside the United States.

The inclusion of Ms Al Mansooris experiment in the Nasa mission is a measure of the strides the UAE has made since Sheikh Zayedquizzed visiting American astronauts in the 1970s about space exploration. In 2014, the UAE launched its own Space Agency, the first in the Arab world. In 2020, the agency will launch space probe that will reach Mars the following year, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the UAEs founding. In 2015, the UAE established the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. Two years later, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, unveiled the Mars 2117 Project: a plan to buildthe first human settlement on Mars within a century. “Nothing is impossible … we can compete with the greatest of nations in the race for knowledge,” he said when he announced the project earlier this year.

The UAEs space programme drew sceptical responses from some quarters in the beginning. To others, space exploration has always seemed like a waste of resources. This is a profoundly misplaced view. Ms Al Mansoori is a fine example of how space research can galvanise young minds. It is a catalyst for technological innovations; in addition to making hugely important discoveries in space, it gives rise to unexpected inventions on earth that benefit us all. John FKennedy understood this; as, in our own day, does Sheikh Mohammed.

The computer microchip, the CAT scanner (which can detect cancer), the satellite television and the smoke detector these are all among the dozens of technologies we now take for granted but which would not be available to us were it not for space research. As Dr Ahmad Belhoul, the UAEs Minister of State for Higher Education and the Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, wrote in these pages last month, space exploration is a necessity not only because of its tangible benefits to our everyday lives, but because of its potential to inspire and uplift mankind in ways we can only imagine.It will, in short, drive the knowledge economy and ensure that our post-oil economy receives a necessary boost of rocket fuel.

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Space exploration will send our economy into orbit – The National

Small, Water-Powered Satellites Could Be the Future of Space Exploration – Futurism

In BriefA team at Purdue University have designed a water vaporpropulsion system that could make CubeSats more effective thatlarger satellites. The Smaller the Better

Satellites are typically imagined to be massive constructs that take millions of dollars to produce and maintain, but the much smaller CubeSatsminiaturized satellites shaped like cubes are more convenient, cost-effective, and easier to handle. The latest development in CubeSat propulsion could soon see CubeSats using water vapors to maneuver around, potentially making them the preferred hardware to use in future exploratory missions. Water is not only safe to use, but plentiful in our solar system; within our planetary neighborhood, its thought to be abundant just next door on Mars moon, Phobos.

A team at Purdue Universityis behind the water-propelled project,which involved a number of undergraduates as part of a propulsion design course. Their prototype CubeSat, presented at the 31st AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, was made using commercially available products at a relatively low cost.

The new propulsion system, called a Film-Evaporation MEMS Tunable Array, or FEMTA thruster, utilizes small capillaries that are ten micrometers in diameter. Ten micrometers isnt large enough to allow the teaspoon of water inside the CubeSat to be used, so small heaters wereinstalled that can be activated to turn the water into vapor and provide thrust.

Four of these FEMTA thrusters were used on a single ten-centimeters-cubed CubeSat, allowing it to rotate on a single axis. For full three-axis rotation, twelve thrusters are required.

This is a very low power, said Alina Alexeenko, a professor at Purdue University and lead researcher on the propulsion project, in a press release. We demonstrate that one 180-degree rotation can be performed in less than a minute and requires less than a quarter watt, showing that FEMTA is a viable method for altitude control of CubeSats.

CubeSats have typically been used alongside their larger counterparts. Theyve previously had no propulsion system of their own, requiring them to be launched while aboard another craft. They have then been used for various tasks, such as internet service, high-res imagining, environmental observations, and military surveillance.

With this new water-based propulsion system, however, they can be used for far greater things, such as constellation-flying and exploration things traditional satellites are unable to do due to their size. Fortunately, Alexeenko and her team are eager to have their system used in a real space mission, and are pursuing a patent for the concept.

That will take some time and more work, of course. The goal now is to further reduce the weight, volume, and power needed to effectively use CubeSats in space. The aforementioned prototype could only accommodate four FEMTA thrusters, and still weighed 2.8 kilograms (6 pounds). To get the most out of the amount of water needed, the CubeSat will have to be lighter.

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Small, Water-Powered Satellites Could Be the Future of Space Exploration – Futurism


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