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Netflix’s Bandersnatch Teases the Future of Entertainment

Bandersnatch

CYOA Grows Up

The choose-your-own-adventure story format is no longer just for books. It’s also no longer only for kids.

In October, an anonymous source told Bloomberg that Netflix planned to release an interactive episode of its dystopian sci-fi series “Black Mirror.” Rather than pushing play and sitting back to watch a linear story unfold before their eyes, viewers would need to make choices at various points throughout the episode, sending the plot in a new direction with each decision.

At 3:01 a.m. ET on Friday, Netflix confirmed that report with the release of the “Black Mirror” episode Bandersnatch — and the overwhelmingly positive response to the episode looks like a sign that adult viewers are ready to embrace interactive storytelling.

Choose Wisely

The general — and spoiler-free — plot of Bandersnatch is this: Young computer coder Stefan, portrayed by “Dunkirk” actor Fionn Whitehead, is hired to help create a computer game inspired by a choose-your-own-adventure novel.

How that experience plays out, however, depends on the viewer’s decisions, which they input using their TV remote, game controller, smartphone, or tablet. Netflix execs claimed during a November media event, as reported by The New York Times, that Bandersnatch has “five main endings with multiple variants of each.”

The interactive format works on pretty much any device you’d use to watch Netflix, including most TVs, game consoles, web browsers, smartphones, and tablets. The primary platforms that don’t support it are Chromecast and Apple TV, according to Netflix.

Striking Gold

This isn’t Netflix’s first foray into interactivity. In June 2017, the platform released “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale,” an interactive short animated film for children.

However, this is Netflix’s first test of the format with adult viewers, and though Bandersnatch hasn’t even been out for 12 hours yet at the time of writing, it’s already receiving an overwhelmingly positive response — it quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, and a reviewer for The Guardian even went so far as to call it a “meta masterpiece.”

According to The Independent, Netflix is already asking producers to submit proposals for other interactive content in a variety of genres. Given the breathless response to Bandersnatch, it’s hard to imagine that Netflix won’t green light at least a few.

Equally hard to imagine is other platforms not attempting to replicate the platform’s success themselves. So with the release of just one creepy episode of “Black Mirror,” Netflix may have ushered in an entirely new era in entertainment.

READ MORE: ‘Black Mirror’ Gives Power to the People [The New York Times]

More on Netflix: Netflix Plans to Try out “Interactive” Shows

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Netflix’s Bandersnatch Teases the Future of Entertainment

Musk: Tesla’s Fully Autonomous Capabilities “About to Accelerate”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk pledged this week that the electric car maker is about to kick its fully autonomous self-driving vehicle ambitions up a notch.

“About to Accelerate”

Tesla appears ready to kick its vehicles’ fully autonomous capabilities up a notch.

In an email to employees this week, obtained by Inverse, CEO Elon Musk pledged that Tesla’s fully autonomous driving system was “about to accelerate significantly.”

Musk hasn’t always delivered on his ambitious public promises, but the email signals that he is positioning himself against the autonomous car hype trough — pushing for a future in which self-driving cars are a key aspect of transportation and not a glorified cruise control for luxury models.

Hype Trough

Just a few years ago, a growing number of experimental autonomous cars on public roads gave the impression that the arrival of safe and reliable self-driving vehicles was only a matter of time.

But a growing sense of the remaining engineering challenges — not to mention the March 2018 death of a pedestrian run down by a self-driving Uber vehicle — have chipped away at that confidence.

The evidence that self-driving vehicle manufacturers aren’t always upfront with the public hasn’t helped either. An excoriating October New Yorker investigation into the early years of the Google self-driving research project that eventually became Waymo found that the company had performed reckless road tests early in its work — and hadn’t always reported accidents.

Road Ahead

Musk’s promise to accelerate fully autonomous research, along with a call for more internal Tesla testers for the program, run precisely counter to that narrative. That’s not surprising: the eccentric Musk is known for imagining futures that are still years away — and using his wealth and influence to attempt to steer history toward or away from them.

Maybe the real question is political, rather than technological: Whether the relentless will of one person enough to pull an entire industry onto a different track.

READ MORE: Elon Musk Calls for More Testers Ahead of Tesla Full Self-Driving Launch [Inverse]

More on Tesla: Elon Musk Pledges Tesla Superchargers For All of Europe Next Year

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Musk: Tesla’s Fully Autonomous Capabilities “About to Accelerate”

An App That Does Your Homework for You Is Now Worth $3 Billion

Homework Machine

Extracurricular education is big business in China.

One futuristic example: Yuanfudao, an online tutoring platform that includes an app that uses artificial intelligence to give students answers to their homework after they snap a photo of it.

Yuanfudao claims it now has 200 million users, and that interest from parents and students has translated into major interest from investors. If it lives up the hype, it could represent a new path forward for educational technology — not just in China but for students across the globe.

Fully Invested

On Tuesday, Yuanfudao announced another $300 million in funding, bringing its valuation to more than $3 billion. Chinese social networking and gaming giant Tencent led the round, with an international squad of investment firms including Warburg Pincus and IDG Capital also joining in.

Yuanfudao told TechCrunch it plans to use these funds for AI research and development, and to improve the user experience of its homework app.

Practice Makes Perfect

While being able to snap a photo of your homework and instantly get answers to problems sounds like a lazy student’s dream come true, the homework app actually isn’t Yuanfudao’s main moneymaker — the company told TechCrunch most of its revenue comes from selling live courses.

Rather than using the app to get out of doing their homework in the first place, it’s more likely that Chinese students use the app to check that their homework answers are correct. After all, the ultimate goal of paying for Yuanfudao is to improve exam scores, so skipping out on doing the homework that prepares a student for those exams would be counterintuitive.

Chinese parents probably wouldn’t be too happy about that use of the app, either. All told, they spend an average of $17,400 every year on extracurricular tutoring for their children — and based on Yuanfudao’s latest round of funding, investors are as willing to pump money into tutoring companies as Chinese parents are.

READ MORE:  Tencent-Backed Homework App Jumps to $3B Valuation After Raising $300M [TechCrunch]

More on Chinese education: Not Paying Attention in Class? China’s “Smart Eye” Will Snitch on You

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An App That Does Your Homework for You Is Now Worth $3 Billion

Virtual Reality Tumors Could Help Lead to New Cancer Treatments

A new virtual reality simulation built by Cambridge University scientists gives a high-resolution detail view into the cells of a breast cancer tumor.

Oculus Oncologists

Doctors have a new weapon in the fight against cancer: detailed maps of the cells in a tumor that can be explored and analyzed in a virtual reality simulation that its creators say provides researchers with an intuitive new way to examine complex medical data that could lead to unexpected breakthroughs.

Built by doctors at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK), the new virtual lab takes detailed scans of breast cancer tissues and turns them into detailed simulations that doctors around the world can explore, the BBC reports.

The simulation lets doctors analyze every single cell of a tumor, something they’ve never been able to do before. And because that data is stored in a simulation rather than microscope slides, doctors around the world can explore and study the cancer without having to prepare their own samples.

“Understanding how cancer cells interact with each other and with healthy tissue is critical if we are going to develop new therapies,” CRUK Chief Scientist Karen Vousden told the BBC. “Looking at tumors using this new system is so much more dynamic than the static 2D versions we are used to.”

Dive in Headfirst

The Cambridge scientists and peers from around the world who helped develop the virtual lab won two separate 20 million pound grants ($25.3 million each) to build up their project from Cancer Research UK last year.

Now they have a functional simulation built up from highly-detailed scans of a cubic millimeter-sized sample of breast cancer tissue. In that sample, each of the roughly 100,000 cells was marked to highlight its molecular and genetic characteristics.

Enhance! Enhance!

With that information, the resulting VR map highlights which cells are cancerous which have certain genetic variations, and how developed the tumor was at the time of the biopsy. All of this is information that was laborious to obtain from samples that were easily contaminated.

Moving the analysis to VR makes tumor research much more user friendly and lets doctors analyze cells in greater detail than ever before.

Not only does that let scientists literally immerse themselves in their work as they look for new cancer treatments, but it can also open the door to more collaborative diagnosis and patient care among teams that are spread around the world.

These simulations don’t guarantee that doctors will find new ways to treat or prevent breast cancer, but at least it makes the search much easier.

READ MORE: ‘Virtual tumour’ new way to see cancer [BBC]

More on virtual reality: VR TREATMENT, EVEN WITHOUT A THERAPIST, HELPS PEOPLE OVERCOME FEAR OF HEIGHTS

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Virtual Reality Tumors Could Help Lead to New Cancer Treatments

Spaceflight Now The leading source for online space news

A Russian Soyuz rocket lifted off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russias Far East on Thursday carrying 28 satellites, including a pair of Russian mapping satellites, secondary payloads from Germany, Japan, Spain, South Africa, and a dozen Earth-observing CubeSats and eight commercial weather payloads for Planet and Spire.

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Spaceflight Now The leading source for online space news

SpaceFlight Insider – Official Site

December 25thNew Horizons is clear to fly an optimal path for observation after hazard searches near Ultima Thule found no debris that could pose a danger to the probe.

December 25thOn Dec. 25, Apollo astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders circled the Moon in their Apollo 8 capsule. It was a dark period in U.S. history and, as one person said, Apollo 8 “saved 1968.” NASA could send men some 239,000 miles away from Earth. This year we mark the 50th anniversary of that mission, we should also note what has befallen the agency since those heady days.

December 22ndUsing tools ranging from rakes and shovels to augmented reality headsets, engineers with NASA’s Mars InSight mission have built a Martian rock garden which recreates the lander’s new home on Mars. This allows engineers to practice placing science instrument on the surface using InSight’s Earth-bound twin – ForeSight.

December 21stLifting off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a Russian Proton-M rocket soared into the sky to orbit a military satellite called Blagovest-13L.

December 20thPROMONTORY, Utah — Each component of a rocket is individual, yet it must function as one on the day of launch. The GEM 63 solid rocket motor has begun taking its first steps toward being integrated into one of the most successful rockets ever flown. What were those first steps like?

December 15thOne of the questions I’m often asked is Whats it like attending a rocket launch? Perhaps the best way to answer the question is by detailing some of our recent experiences during the launch of Northrop Grumman’s S.S. John Young to the International Space Station.

December 14thThe surface of the dwarf planet Ceres holds high levels of organic material, according to a new study of images returned by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. This provides a tantalizing glimpse into the possibility of life throughout our solar system.

December 14thNASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft has become the second probe to enter interstellar space, as confirmed by data returned by several of the science instruments on board the spacecraft.

December 13thSending crews to destinations such as the Moon and Mars is not easy. As many within the space industry will tell you, one of the most harrowing times during these missions is the first few minutes of the flight. A test carried out today worked to make this tense period a little less stressful for []

December 12thNASA’s Mars InSight lander has been getting to known for its new home at Elysium Planitia and preparing for what it will be doing there. As it turns out, one of those things – is listening.

December 11thOn Dec. 3, 2018, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at the half-kilometer wide Bennu asteroid to begin a two-year study to inspect, investigate, and eventually collect samples of the materials making up its mysterious surface.

December 10thLast week, a spacecraft arrived at one of the smallest objects ever visited by a NASA mission after a multi-billion mile journey around the Solar System.

December 9thLOMPOC, Calif. Just seconds before the planned liftoff of a Delta IV Heavy rocket with the NROL-71 payload, an automatic abort of the launch sequence was triggered.

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SpaceFlight Insider – Official Site

Spaceflight – Wikipedia

Spaceflight (also written space flight) is ballistic flight into or through outer space. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft with or without humans on board. Examples of human spaceflight include the U.S. Apollo Moon landing and Space Shuttle programs and the Russian Soyuz program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station. Examples of unmanned spaceflight include space probes that leave Earth orbit, as well as satellites in orbit around Earth, such as communications satellites. These operate either by telerobotic control or are fully autonomous.

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 the Earth. Once in space, the motion of a spacecraft both when unpropelled and when under propulsion is 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.

The first theoretical proposal of space travel using rockets was published by Scottish astronomer and mathematician William Leitch, in an 1861 essay “A Journey Through Space”.[1] More well-known (though not widely outside Russia) is Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s work, ” ” (The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices), published in 1903.

Spaceflight became an engineering possibility with the work of Robert H. Goddard’s publication in 1919 of his paper A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. His application of the de Laval nozzle to liquid fuel rockets improved efficiency enough for interplanetary travel to become possible. He also proved in the laboratory that rockets would work in the vacuum of space;[specify] nonetheless, his work was not taken seriously by the public. His attempt to secure an Army contract for a rocket-propelled weapon in the first World War was defeated by the November 11, 1918 armistice with Germany.

Nonetheless, Goddard’s paper was highly influential on Hermann Oberth, who in turn influenced Wernher von Braun. Von Braun became the first to produce modern rockets as guided weapons, employed by Adolf Hitler. Von Braun’s V-2 was the first rocket to reach space, at an altitude of 189 kilometers (102 nautical miles) on a June 1944 test flight.[2]

Tsiolkovsky’s rocketry work was not fully appreciated in his lifetime, but he influenced Sergey Korolev, who became the Soviet Union’s chief rocket designer under Joseph Stalin, to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry nuclear weapons as a counter measure to United States bomber planes. Derivatives of Korolev’s R-7 Semyorka missiles were used to launch the world’s first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957, and later the first human to orbit the Earth, Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1, on April 12, 1961.[3]

At the end of World War II, von Braun and most of his rocket team surrendered to the United States, and were expatriated to work on American missiles at what became the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. This work on missiles such as Juno I and Atlas enabled launch of the first US satellite Explorer 1 on February 1, 1958, and the first American in orbit, John Glenn in Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962. As director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, Von Braun oversaw development of a larger class of rocket called Saturn, which allowed the US to send the first two humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, to the Moon and back on Apollo 11 in July 1969. Over the same period, the Soviet Union secretly tried but failed to develop the N1 rocket to give them the capability to land one person on the Moon.

Rockets are the only means currently capable of reaching orbit or beyond. Other non-rocket spacelaunch technologies have yet to be built, or remain short of orbital speeds.A rocket launch for a spaceflight usually starts from a spaceport (cosmodrome), which may be equipped with launch complexes and launch pads for vertical rocket launches, and runways for takeoff and landing of carrier airplanes and winged spacecraft. Spaceports are situated well away from human habitation for noise and safety reasons. ICBMs have various special launching facilities.

A launch is often restricted to certain launch windows. These windows depend upon the position of celestial bodies and orbits relative to the launch site. The biggest influence is often the rotation of the Earth itself. Once launched, orbits are normally located within relatively constant flat planes at a fixed angle to the axis of the Earth, and the Earth rotates within this orbit.

A launch pad is a fixed structure designed to dispatch airborne vehicles. It generally consists of a launch tower and flame trench. It is surrounded by equipment used to erect, fuel, and maintain launch vehicles.

The most commonly used definition of outer space is everything beyond the Krmn line, which is 100 kilometers (62mi) above the Earth’s surface. The United States sometimes defines outer space as everything beyond 50 miles (80km) in altitude.

Rockets are the only currently practical means of reaching space. Conventional airplane engines cannot reach space due to the lack of oxygen. Rocket engines expel propellant to provide forward thrust that generates enough delta-v (change in velocity) to reach orbit.

For manned launch systems launch escape systems are frequently fitted to allow astronauts to escape in the case of emergency.

Many ways to reach space other than rockets have been proposed. Ideas such as the space elevator, and momentum exchange tethers like rotovators or skyhooks require new materials much stronger than any currently known. Electromagnetic launchers such as launch loops might be feasible with current technology. Other ideas include rocket assisted aircraft/spaceplanes such as Reaction Engines Skylon (currently in early stage development), scramjet powered spaceplanes, and RBCC powered spaceplanes. Gun launch has been proposed for cargo.

Achieving a closed orbit is not essential to lunar and interplanetary voyages. Early Russian space vehicles successfully achieved very high altitudes without going into orbit. NASA considered launching Apollo missions directly into lunar trajectories but adopted the strategy of first entering a temporary parking orbit and then performing a separate burn several orbits later onto a lunar trajectory. This costs additional propellant because the parking orbit perigee must be high enough to prevent reentry while direct injection can have an arbitrarily low perigee because it will never be reached.

However, the parking orbit approach greatly simplified Apollo mission planning in several important ways. It substantially widened the allowable launch windows, increasing the chance of a successful launch despite minor technical problems during the countdown. The parking orbit was a stable “mission plateau” that gave the crew and controllers several hours to thoroughly check out the spacecraft after the stresses of launch before committing it to a long lunar flight; the crew could quickly return to Earth, if necessary, or an alternate Earth-orbital mission could be conducted. The parking orbit also enabled translunar trajectories that avoided the densest parts of the Van Allen radiation belts.

Apollo missions minimized the performance penalty of the parking orbit by keeping its altitude as low as possible. For example, Apollo 15 used an unusually low parking orbit (even for Apollo) of 92.5 nmi by 91.5 nmi (171km by 169km) where there was significant atmospheric drag. But it was partially overcome by continuous venting of hydrogen from the third stage of the Saturn V, and was in any event tolerable for the short stay.

Robotic missions do not require an abort capability or radiation minimization, and because modern launchers routinely meet “instantaneous” launch windows, space probes to the Moon and other planets generally use direct injection to maximize performance. Although some might coast briefly during the launch sequence, they do not complete one or more full parking orbits before the burn that injects them onto an Earth escape trajectory.

Note that the escape velocity from a celestial body decreases with altitude above that body. However, it is more fuel-efficient for a craft to burn its fuel as close to the ground as possible; see Oberth effect and reference.[5] This is anotherway to explain the performance penalty associated with establishing the safe perigee of a parking orbit.

Plans for future crewed interplanetary spaceflight missions often include final vehicle assembly in Earth orbit, such as NASA’s Project Orion and Russia’s Kliper/Parom tandem.

Astrodynamics is the study of spacecraft trajectories, particularly as they relate to gravitational and propulsion effects. Astrodynamics allows for a spacecraft to arrive at its destination at the correct time without excessive propellant use. An orbital maneuvering system may be needed to maintain or change orbits.

Non-rocket orbital propulsion methods include solar sails, magnetic sails, plasma-bubble magnetic systems, and using gravitational slingshot effects.

The term “transfer energy” means the total amount of energy imparted by a rocket stage to its payload. This can be the energy imparted by a first stage of a launch vehicle to an upper stage plus payload, or by an upper stage or spacecraft kick motor to a spacecraft.[6][7]

Vehicles in orbit have large amounts of kinetic energy. This energy must be discarded if the vehicle is to land safely without vaporizing in the atmosphere. Typically this process requires special methods to protect against aerodynamic heating. The theory behind reentry was developed by Harry Julian Allen. Based on this theory, reentry vehicles present blunt shapes to the atmosphere for reentry. Blunt shapes mean that less than 1% of the kinetic energy ends up as heat that reaches the vehicle and the heat energy instead ends up in the atmosphere.

The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules all splashed down in the sea. These capsules were designed to land at relatively low speeds with the help of a parachute.Russian capsules for Soyuz make use of a big parachute and braking rockets to touch down on land.The Space Shuttle glided to a touchdown like a plane.

After a successful landing the spacecraft, its occupants and cargo can be recovered. In some cases, recovery has occurred before landing: while a spacecraft is still descending on its parachute, it can be snagged by a specially designed aircraft. This mid-air retrieval technique was used to recover the film canisters from the Corona spy satellites.

Uncrewed spaceflight (or unmanned) is all spaceflight activity without a necessary human presence in space. This includes all space probes, satellites and robotic spacecraft and missions. Uncrewed spaceflight is the opposite of manned spaceflight, which is usually called human spaceflight. Subcategories of uncrewed spaceflight are “robotic spacecraft” (objects) and “robotic space missions” (activities). A robotic spacecraft is an uncrewed spacecraft with no humans on board, that is usually under telerobotic control. A robotic spacecraft designed to make scientific research measurements is often called a space probe.

Uncrewed space missions use remote-controlled spacecraft. The first uncrewed space mission was Sputnik I, launched October 4, 1957 to orbit the Earth. Space missions where animals but no humans are on-board are considered uncrewed missions.

Many space missions are more suited to telerobotic rather than crewed operation, due to lower cost and lower risk factors. In addition, some planetary destinations such as Venus or the vicinity of Jupiter are too hostile for human survival, given current technology. Outer planets such as Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are too distant to reach with current crewed spaceflight technology, so telerobotic probes are the only way to explore them. Telerobotics also allows exploration of regions that are vulnerable to contamination by Earth micro-organisms since spacecraft can be sterilized. Humans can not be sterilized in the same way as a spaceship, as they coexist with numerous micro-organisms, and these micro-organisms are also hard to contain within a spaceship or spacesuit.

Telerobotics becomes telepresence when the time delay is short enough to permit control of the spacecraft in close to real time by humans. Even the two seconds light speed delay for the Moon is too far away for telepresence exploration from Earth. The L1 and L2 positions permit 400-millisecond round trip delays, which is just close enough for telepresence operation. Telepresence has also been suggested as a way to repair satellites in Earth orbit from Earth. The Exploration Telerobotics Symposium in 2012 explored this and other topics.[8]

The first human spaceflight was Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961, on which cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin of the USSR made one orbit around the Earth. In official Soviet documents, there is no mention of the fact that Gagarin parachuted the final seven miles.[9] Currently, the only spacecraft regularly used for human spaceflight are the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft. The U.S. Space Shuttle fleet operated from April 1981 until July 2011. SpaceShipOne has conducted two human suborbital spaceflights.

On a sub-orbital spaceflight the spacecraft reaches space and then returns to the atmosphere after following a (primarily) ballistic trajectory. This is usually because of insufficient specific orbital energy, in which case a suborbital flight will last only a few minutes, but it is also possible for an object with enough energy for an orbit to have a trajectory that intersects the Earth’s atmosphere, sometimes after many hours. Pioneer 1 was NASA’s first space probe intended to reach the Moon. A partial failure caused it to instead follow a suborbital trajectory to an altitude of 113,854 kilometers (70,746mi) before reentering the Earth’s atmosphere 43 hours after launch.

The most generally recognized boundary of space is the Krmn line 100km above sea level. (NASA alternatively defines an astronaut as someone who has flown more than 50 miles (80km) above sea level.) It is not generally recognized by the public that the increase in potential energy required to pass the Krmn line is only about 3% of the orbital energy (potential plus kinetic energy) required by the lowest possible Earth orbit (a circular orbit just above the Krmn line.) In other words, it is far easier to reach space than to stay there. On May 17, 2004, Civilian Space eXploration Team launched the GoFast Rocket on a suborbital flight, the first amateur spaceflight. On June 21, 2004, SpaceShipOne was used for the first privately funded human spaceflight.

Point-to-point is a category of sub-orbital spaceflight in which a spacecraft provides rapid transport between two terrestrial locations. Consider a conventional airline route between London and Sydney, a flight that normally lasts over twenty hours. With point-to-point suborbital travel the same route could be traversed in less than one hour.[10] While no company offers this type of transportation today, SpaceX has revealed plans to do so as early as the 2020s using its BFR vehicle.[11] Suborbital spaceflight over an intercontinental distance requires a vehicle velocity that is only a little lower than the velocity required to reach low Earth orbit.[12] If rockets are used, the size of the rocket relative to the payload is similar to an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Any intercontinental spaceflight has to surmount problems of heating during atmosphere re-entry that are nearly as large as those faced by orbital spaceflight.

A minimal orbital spaceflight requires much higher velocities than a minimal sub-orbital flight, and so it is technologically much more challenging to achieve. To achieve orbital spaceflight, the tangential velocity around the Earth is as important as altitude. In order to perform a stable and lasting flight in space, the spacecraft must reach the minimal orbital speed required for a closed orbit.

Interplanetary travel is travel between planets within a single planetary system. In practice, the use of the term is confined to travel between the planets of our Solar System.

Five spacecraft are currently leaving the Solar System on escape trajectories, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, and New Horizons. The one farthest from the Sun is Voyager 1, which is more than 100 AU distant and is moving at 3.6 AU per year.[13] In comparison, Proxima Centauri, the closest star other than the Sun, is 267,000 AU distant. It will take Voyager 1 over 74,000 years to reach this distance. Vehicle designs using other techniques, such as nuclear pulse propulsion are likely to be able to reach the nearest star significantly faster. Another possibility that could allow for human interstellar spaceflight is to make use of time dilation, as this would make it possible for passengers in a fast-moving vehicle to travel further into the future while aging very little, in that their great speed slows down the rate of passage of on-board time. However, attaining such high speeds would still require the use of some new, advanced method of propulsion.

Intergalactic travel involves spaceflight between galaxies, and is considered much more technologically demanding than even interstellar travel and, by current engineering terms, is considered science fiction.

Spacecraft are vehicles capable of controlling their trajectory through space.

The first ‘true spacecraft’ is sometimes said to be Apollo Lunar Module,[14] since this was the only manned vehicle to have been designed for, and operated only in space; and is notable for its non aerodynamic shape.

Spacecraft today predominantly use rockets for propulsion, but other propulsion techniques such as ion drives are becoming more common, particularly for unmanned vehicles, and this can significantly reduce the vehicle’s mass and increase its delta-v.

Launch systems are used to carry a payload from Earth’s surface into outer space.

All launch vehicles contain a huge amount of energy that is needed for some part of it to reach orbit. There is therefore some risk that this energy can be released prematurely and suddenly, with significant effects. When a Delta II rocket exploded 13 seconds after launch on January 17, 1997, there were reports of store windows 10 miles (16km) away being broken by the blast.[16]

Space is a fairly predictable environment, but there are still risks of accidental depressurization and the potential failure of equipment, some of which may be very newly developed.

In 2004 the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety was established in the Netherlands to further international cooperation and scientific advancement in space systems safety.[17]

In a microgravity environment such as that provided by a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth, humans experience a sense of “weightlessness.” Short-term exposure to microgravity causes space adaptation syndrome, a self-limiting nausea caused by derangement of the vestibular system. Long-term exposure causes multiple health issues. The most significant is bone loss, some of which is permanent, but microgravity also leads to significant deconditioning of muscular and cardiovascular tissues.

Once above the atmosphere, radiation due to the Van Allen belts, solar radiation and cosmic radiation issues occur and increase. Further away from the Earth, solar flares can give a fatal radiation dose in minutes, and the health threat from cosmic radiation significantly increases the chances of cancer over a decade exposure or more.[18]

In human spaceflight, the life support system is a group of devices that allow a human being to survive in outer space. NASA often uses the phrase Environmental Control and Life Support System or the acronym ECLSS when describing these systems for its human spaceflight missions.[19] The life support system may supply: air, water and food. It must also maintain the correct body temperature, an acceptable pressure on the body and deal with the body’s waste products. Shielding against harmful external influences such as radiation and micro-meteorites may also be necessary. Components of the life support system are life-critical, and are designed and constructed using safety engineering techniques.

Space weather is the concept of changing environmental conditions in outer space. It is distinct from the concept of weather within a planetary atmosphere, and deals with phenomena involving ambient plasma, magnetic fields, radiation and other matter in space (generally close to Earth but also in interplanetary, and occasionally interstellar medium). “Space weather describes the conditions in space that affect Earth and its technological systems. Our space weather is a consequence of the behavior of the Sun, the nature of Earth’s magnetic field, and our location in the Solar System.”[20]

Space weather exerts a profound influence in several areas related to space exploration and development. Changing geomagnetic conditions can induce changes in atmospheric density causing the rapid degradation of spacecraft altitude in Low Earth orbit. Geomagnetic storms due to increased solar activity can potentially blind sensors aboard spacecraft, or interfere with on-board electronics. An understanding of space environmental conditions is also important in designing shielding and life support systems for manned spacecraft.

Rockets as a class are not inherently grossly polluting. However, some rockets use toxic propellants, and most vehicles use propellants that are not carbon neutral. Many solid rockets have chlorine in the form of perchlorate or other chemicals, and this can cause temporary local holes in the ozone layer. Re-entering spacecraft generate nitrates which also can temporarily impact the ozone layer. Most rockets are made of metals that can have an environmental impact during their construction.

In addition to the atmospheric effects there are effects on the near-Earth space environment. There is the possibility that orbit could become inaccessible for generations due to exponentially increasing space debris caused by spalling of satellites and vehicles (Kessler syndrome). Many launched vehicles today are therefore designed to be re-entered after use.

Current and proposed applications for spaceflight include:

Most early spaceflight development was paid for by governments. However, today major launch markets such as Communication satellites and Satellite television are purely commercial, though many of the launchers were originally funded by governments.

Private spaceflight is a rapidly developing area: space flight that is not only paid for by corporations or even private individuals, but often provided by private spaceflight companies. These companies often assert that much of the previous high cost of access to space was caused by governmental inefficiencies they can avoid. This assertion can be supported by much lower published launch costs for private space launch vehicles such as Falcon 9 developed with private financing. Lower launch costs and excellent safety will be required for the applications such as Space tourism and especially Space colonization to become successful.

Media related to Spaceflight at Wikimedia Commons

More:

Spaceflight – Wikipedia

Spaceflight – Wikipedia

Spaceflight (also written space flight) is ballistic flight into or through outer space. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft with or without humans on board. Examples of human spaceflight include the U.S. Apollo Moon landing and Space Shuttle programs and the Russian Soyuz program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station. Examples of unmanned spaceflight include space probes that leave Earth orbit, as well as satellites in orbit around Earth, such as communications satellites. These operate either by telerobotic control or are fully autonomous.

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 the Earth. Once in space, the motion of a spacecraft both when unpropelled and when under propulsion is 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.

The first theoretical proposal of space travel using rockets was published by Scottish astronomer and mathematician William Leitch, in an 1861 essay “A Journey Through Space”.[1] More well-known (though not widely outside Russia) is Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s work, ” ” (The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices), published in 1903.

Spaceflight became an engineering possibility with the work of Robert H. Goddard’s publication in 1919 of his paper A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. His application of the de Laval nozzle to liquid fuel rockets improved efficiency enough for interplanetary travel to become possible. He also proved in the laboratory that rockets would work in the vacuum of space;[specify] nonetheless, his work was not taken seriously by the public. His attempt to secure an Army contract for a rocket-propelled weapon in the first World War was defeated by the November 11, 1918 armistice with Germany.

Nonetheless, Goddard’s paper was highly influential on Hermann Oberth, who in turn influenced Wernher von Braun. Von Braun became the first to produce modern rockets as guided weapons, employed by Adolf Hitler. Von Braun’s V-2 was the first rocket to reach space, at an altitude of 189 kilometers (102 nautical miles) on a June 1944 test flight.[2]

Tsiolkovsky’s rocketry work was not fully appreciated in his lifetime, but he influenced Sergey Korolev, who became the Soviet Union’s chief rocket designer under Joseph Stalin, to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry nuclear weapons as a counter measure to United States bomber planes. Derivatives of Korolev’s R-7 Semyorka missiles were used to launch the world’s first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957, and later the first human to orbit the Earth, Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1, on April 12, 1961.[3]

At the end of World War II, von Braun and most of his rocket team surrendered to the United States, and were expatriated to work on American missiles at what became the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. This work on missiles such as Juno I and Atlas enabled launch of the first US satellite Explorer 1 on February 1, 1958, and the first American in orbit, John Glenn in Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962. As director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, Von Braun oversaw development of a larger class of rocket called Saturn, which allowed the US to send the first two humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, to the Moon and back on Apollo 11 in July 1969. Over the same period, the Soviet Union secretly tried but failed to develop the N1 rocket to give them the capability to land one person on the Moon.

Rockets are the only means currently capable of reaching orbit or beyond. Other non-rocket spacelaunch technologies have yet to be built, or remain short of orbital speeds.A rocket launch for a spaceflight usually starts from a spaceport (cosmodrome), which may be equipped with launch complexes and launch pads for vertical rocket launches, and runways for takeoff and landing of carrier airplanes and winged spacecraft. Spaceports are situated well away from human habitation for noise and safety reasons. ICBMs have various special launching facilities.

A launch is often restricted to certain launch windows. These windows depend upon the position of celestial bodies and orbits relative to the launch site. The biggest influence is often the rotation of the Earth itself. Once launched, orbits are normally located within relatively constant flat planes at a fixed angle to the axis of the Earth, and the Earth rotates within this orbit.

A launch pad is a fixed structure designed to dispatch airborne vehicles. It generally consists of a launch tower and flame trench. It is surrounded by equipment used to erect, fuel, and maintain launch vehicles.

The most commonly used definition of outer space is everything beyond the Krmn line, which is 100 kilometers (62mi) above the Earth’s surface. The United States sometimes defines outer space as everything beyond 50 miles (80km) in altitude.

Rockets are the only currently practical means of reaching space. Conventional airplane engines cannot reach space due to the lack of oxygen. Rocket engines expel propellant to provide forward thrust that generates enough delta-v (change in velocity) to reach orbit.

For manned launch systems launch escape systems are frequently fitted to allow astronauts to escape in the case of emergency.

Many ways to reach space other than rockets have been proposed. Ideas such as the space elevator, and momentum exchange tethers like rotovators or skyhooks require new materials much stronger than any currently known. Electromagnetic launchers such as launch loops might be feasible with current technology. Other ideas include rocket assisted aircraft/spaceplanes such as Reaction Engines Skylon (currently in early stage development), scramjet powered spaceplanes, and RBCC powered spaceplanes. Gun launch has been proposed for cargo.

Achieving a closed orbit is not essential to lunar and interplanetary voyages. Early Russian space vehicles successfully achieved very high altitudes without going into orbit. NASA considered launching Apollo missions directly into lunar trajectories but adopted the strategy of first entering a temporary parking orbit and then performing a separate burn several orbits later onto a lunar trajectory. This costs additional propellant because the parking orbit perigee must be high enough to prevent reentry while direct injection can have an arbitrarily low perigee because it will never be reached.

However, the parking orbit approach greatly simplified Apollo mission planning in several important ways. It substantially widened the allowable launch windows, increasing the chance of a successful launch despite minor technical problems during the countdown. The parking orbit was a stable “mission plateau” that gave the crew and controllers several hours to thoroughly check out the spacecraft after the stresses of launch before committing it to a long lunar flight; the crew could quickly return to Earth, if necessary, or an alternate Earth-orbital mission could be conducted. The parking orbit also enabled translunar trajectories that avoided the densest parts of the Van Allen radiation belts.

Apollo missions minimized the performance penalty of the parking orbit by keeping its altitude as low as possible. For example, Apollo 15 used an unusually low parking orbit (even for Apollo) of 92.5 nmi by 91.5 nmi (171km by 169km) where there was significant atmospheric drag. But it was partially overcome by continuous venting of hydrogen from the third stage of the Saturn V, and was in any event tolerable for the short stay.

Robotic missions do not require an abort capability or radiation minimization, and because modern launchers routinely meet “instantaneous” launch windows, space probes to the Moon and other planets generally use direct injection to maximize performance. Although some might coast briefly during the launch sequence, they do not complete one or more full parking orbits before the burn that injects them onto an Earth escape trajectory.

Note that the escape velocity from a celestial body decreases with altitude above that body. However, it is more fuel-efficient for a craft to burn its fuel as close to the ground as possible; see Oberth effect and reference.[5] This is anotherway to explain the performance penalty associated with establishing the safe perigee of a parking orbit.

Plans for future crewed interplanetary spaceflight missions often include final vehicle assembly in Earth orbit, such as NASA’s Project Orion and Russia’s Kliper/Parom tandem.

Astrodynamics is the study of spacecraft trajectories, particularly as they relate to gravitational and propulsion effects. Astrodynamics allows for a spacecraft to arrive at its destination at the correct time without excessive propellant use. An orbital maneuvering system may be needed to maintain or change orbits.

Non-rocket orbital propulsion methods include solar sails, magnetic sails, plasma-bubble magnetic systems, and using gravitational slingshot effects.

The term “transfer energy” means the total amount of energy imparted by a rocket stage to its payload. This can be the energy imparted by a first stage of a launch vehicle to an upper stage plus payload, or by an upper stage or spacecraft kick motor to a spacecraft.[6][7]

Vehicles in orbit have large amounts of kinetic energy. This energy must be discarded if the vehicle is to land safely without vaporizing in the atmosphere. Typically this process requires special methods to protect against aerodynamic heating. The theory behind reentry was developed by Harry Julian Allen. Based on this theory, reentry vehicles present blunt shapes to the atmosphere for reentry. Blunt shapes mean that less than 1% of the kinetic energy ends up as heat that reaches the vehicle and the heat energy instead ends up in the atmosphere.

The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules all splashed down in the sea. These capsules were designed to land at relatively low speeds with the help of a parachute.Russian capsules for Soyuz make use of a big parachute and braking rockets to touch down on land.The Space Shuttle glided to a touchdown like a plane.

After a successful landing the spacecraft, its occupants and cargo can be recovered. In some cases, recovery has occurred before landing: while a spacecraft is still descending on its parachute, it can be snagged by a specially designed aircraft. This mid-air retrieval technique was used to recover the film canisters from the Corona spy satellites.

Uncrewed spaceflight (or unmanned) is all spaceflight activity without a necessary human presence in space. This includes all space probes, satellites and robotic spacecraft and missions. Uncrewed spaceflight is the opposite of manned spaceflight, which is usually called human spaceflight. Subcategories of uncrewed spaceflight are “robotic spacecraft” (objects) and “robotic space missions” (activities). A robotic spacecraft is an uncrewed spacecraft with no humans on board, that is usually under telerobotic control. A robotic spacecraft designed to make scientific research measurements is often called a space probe.

Uncrewed space missions use remote-controlled spacecraft. The first uncrewed space mission was Sputnik I, launched October 4, 1957 to orbit the Earth. Space missions where animals but no humans are on-board are considered uncrewed missions.

Many space missions are more suited to telerobotic rather than crewed operation, due to lower cost and lower risk factors. In addition, some planetary destinations such as Venus or the vicinity of Jupiter are too hostile for human survival, given current technology. Outer planets such as Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are too distant to reach with current crewed spaceflight technology, so telerobotic probes are the only way to explore them. Telerobotics also allows exploration of regions that are vulnerable to contamination by Earth micro-organisms since spacecraft can be sterilized. Humans can not be sterilized in the same way as a spaceship, as they coexist with numerous micro-organisms, and these micro-organisms are also hard to contain within a spaceship or spacesuit.

Telerobotics becomes telepresence when the time delay is short enough to permit control of the spacecraft in close to real time by humans. Even the two seconds light speed delay for the Moon is too far away for telepresence exploration from Earth. The L1 and L2 positions permit 400-millisecond round trip delays, which is just close enough for telepresence operation. Telepresence has also been suggested as a way to repair satellites in Earth orbit from Earth. The Exploration Telerobotics Symposium in 2012 explored this and other topics.[8]

The first human spaceflight was Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961, on which cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin of the USSR made one orbit around the Earth. In official Soviet documents, there is no mention of the fact that Gagarin parachuted the final seven miles.[9] Currently, the only spacecraft regularly used for human spaceflight are the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft. The U.S. Space Shuttle fleet operated from April 1981 until July 2011. SpaceShipOne has conducted two human suborbital spaceflights.

On a sub-orbital spaceflight the spacecraft reaches space and then returns to the atmosphere after following a (primarily) ballistic trajectory. This is usually because of insufficient specific orbital energy, in which case a suborbital flight will last only a few minutes, but it is also possible for an object with enough energy for an orbit to have a trajectory that intersects the Earth’s atmosphere, sometimes after many hours. Pioneer 1 was NASA’s first space probe intended to reach the Moon. A partial failure caused it to instead follow a suborbital trajectory to an altitude of 113,854 kilometers (70,746mi) before reentering the Earth’s atmosphere 43 hours after launch.

The most generally recognized boundary of space is the Krmn line 100km above sea level. (NASA alternatively defines an astronaut as someone who has flown more than 50 miles (80km) above sea level.) It is not generally recognized by the public that the increase in potential energy required to pass the Krmn line is only about 3% of the orbital energy (potential plus kinetic energy) required by the lowest possible Earth orbit (a circular orbit just above the Krmn line.) In other words, it is far easier to reach space than to stay there. On May 17, 2004, Civilian Space eXploration Team launched the GoFast Rocket on a suborbital flight, the first amateur spaceflight. On June 21, 2004, SpaceShipOne was used for the first privately funded human spaceflight.

Point-to-point is a category of sub-orbital spaceflight in which a spacecraft provides rapid transport between two terrestrial locations. Consider a conventional airline route between London and Sydney, a flight that normally lasts over twenty hours. With point-to-point suborbital travel the same route could be traversed in less than one hour.[10] While no company offers this type of transportation today, SpaceX has revealed plans to do so as early as the 2020s using its BFR vehicle.[11] Suborbital spaceflight over an intercontinental distance requires a vehicle velocity that is only a little lower than the velocity required to reach low Earth orbit.[12] If rockets are used, the size of the rocket relative to the payload is similar to an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Any intercontinental spaceflight has to surmount problems of heating during atmosphere re-entry that are nearly as large as those faced by orbital spaceflight.

A minimal orbital spaceflight requires much higher velocities than a minimal sub-orbital flight, and so it is technologically much more challenging to achieve. To achieve orbital spaceflight, the tangential velocity around the Earth is as important as altitude. In order to perform a stable and lasting flight in space, the spacecraft must reach the minimal orbital speed required for a closed orbit.

Interplanetary travel is travel between planets within a single planetary system. In practice, the use of the term is confined to travel between the planets of our Solar System.

Five spacecraft are currently leaving the Solar System on escape trajectories, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, and New Horizons. The one farthest from the Sun is Voyager 1, which is more than 100 AU distant and is moving at 3.6 AU per year.[13] In comparison, Proxima Centauri, the closest star other than the Sun, is 267,000 AU distant. It will take Voyager 1 over 74,000 years to reach this distance. Vehicle designs using other techniques, such as nuclear pulse propulsion are likely to be able to reach the nearest star significantly faster. Another possibility that could allow for human interstellar spaceflight is to make use of time dilation, as this would make it possible for passengers in a fast-moving vehicle to travel further into the future while aging very little, in that their great speed slows down the rate of passage of on-board time. However, attaining such high speeds would still require the use of some new, advanced method of propulsion.

Intergalactic travel involves spaceflight between galaxies, and is considered much more technologically demanding than even interstellar travel and, by current engineering terms, is considered science fiction.

Spacecraft are vehicles capable of controlling their trajectory through space.

The first ‘true spacecraft’ is sometimes said to be Apollo Lunar Module,[14] since this was the only manned vehicle to have been designed for, and operated only in space; and is notable for its non aerodynamic shape.

Spacecraft today predominantly use rockets for propulsion, but other propulsion techniques such as ion drives are becoming more common, particularly for unmanned vehicles, and this can significantly reduce the vehicle’s mass and increase its delta-v.

Launch systems are used to carry a payload from Earth’s surface into outer space.

All launch vehicles contain a huge amount of energy that is needed for some part of it to reach orbit. There is therefore some risk that this energy can be released prematurely and suddenly, with significant effects. When a Delta II rocket exploded 13 seconds after launch on January 17, 1997, there were reports of store windows 10 miles (16km) away being broken by the blast.[16]

Space is a fairly predictable environment, but there are still risks of accidental depressurization and the potential failure of equipment, some of which may be very newly developed.

In 2004 the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety was established in the Netherlands to further international cooperation and scientific advancement in space systems safety.[17]

In a microgravity environment such as that provided by a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth, humans experience a sense of “weightlessness.” Short-term exposure to microgravity causes space adaptation syndrome, a self-limiting nausea caused by derangement of the vestibular system. Long-term exposure causes multiple health issues. The most significant is bone loss, some of which is permanent, but microgravity also leads to significant deconditioning of muscular and cardiovascular tissues.

Once above the atmosphere, radiation due to the Van Allen belts, solar radiation and cosmic radiation issues occur and increase. Further away from the Earth, solar flares can give a fatal radiation dose in minutes, and the health threat from cosmic radiation significantly increases the chances of cancer over a decade exposure or more.[18]

In human spaceflight, the life support system is a group of devices that allow a human being to survive in outer space. NASA often uses the phrase Environmental Control and Life Support System or the acronym ECLSS when describing these systems for its human spaceflight missions.[19] The life support system may supply: air, water and food. It must also maintain the correct body temperature, an acceptable pressure on the body and deal with the body’s waste products. Shielding against harmful external influences such as radiation and micro-meteorites may also be necessary. Components of the life support system are life-critical, and are designed and constructed using safety engineering techniques.

Space weather is the concept of changing environmental conditions in outer space. It is distinct from the concept of weather within a planetary atmosphere, and deals with phenomena involving ambient plasma, magnetic fields, radiation and other matter in space (generally close to Earth but also in interplanetary, and occasionally interstellar medium). “Space weather describes the conditions in space that affect Earth and its technological systems. Our space weather is a consequence of the behavior of the Sun, the nature of Earth’s magnetic field, and our location in the Solar System.”[20]

Space weather exerts a profound influence in several areas related to space exploration and development. Changing geomagnetic conditions can induce changes in atmospheric density causing the rapid degradation of spacecraft altitude in Low Earth orbit. Geomagnetic storms due to increased solar activity can potentially blind sensors aboard spacecraft, or interfere with on-board electronics. An understanding of space environmental conditions is also important in designing shielding and life support systems for manned spacecraft.

Rockets as a class are not inherently grossly polluting. However, some rockets use toxic propellants, and most vehicles use propellants that are not carbon neutral. Many solid rockets have chlorine in the form of perchlorate or other chemicals, and this can cause temporary local holes in the ozone layer. Re-entering spacecraft generate nitrates which also can temporarily impact the ozone layer. Most rockets are made of metals that can have an environmental impact during their construction.

In addition to the atmospheric effects there are effects on the near-Earth space environment. There is the possibility that orbit could become inaccessible for generations due to exponentially increasing space debris caused by spalling of satellites and vehicles (Kessler syndrome). Many launched vehicles today are therefore designed to be re-entered after use.

Current and proposed applications for spaceflight include:

Most early spaceflight development was paid for by governments. However, today major launch markets such as Communication satellites and Satellite television are purely commercial, though many of the launchers were originally funded by governments.

Private spaceflight is a rapidly developing area: space flight that is not only paid for by corporations or even private individuals, but often provided by private spaceflight companies. These companies often assert that much of the previous high cost of access to space was caused by governmental inefficiencies they can avoid. This assertion can be supported by much lower published launch costs for private space launch vehicles such as Falcon 9 developed with private financing. Lower launch costs and excellent safety will be required for the applications such as Space tourism and especially Space colonization to become successful.

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Spaceflight – Wikipedia

Human spaceflight – Wikipedia

Inside a space suit on the Canadarm, 1993

Human spaceflight (also referred to as crewed spaceflight or manned spaceflight) is space travel with a crew or passengers aboard the spacecraft. Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement.

The first human spaceflight was launched by the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961 as a part of the Vostok program, with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard. Humans have been continuously present in space for 18years and 49days on the International Space Station. All early human spaceflight was crewed, where at least some of the passengers acted to carry out tasks of piloting or operating the spacecraft. After 2015, several human-capable spacecraft are being explicitly designed with the ability to operate autonomously.

From the retirement of the US Space Shuttle in 2011 to the first SpaceShipTwo spaceflight in 2018, only Russia and China have maintained human spaceflight capability with the Soyuz program and Shenzhou program. Currently, all expeditions to the International Space Station use Soyuz vehicles, which remain attached to the station to allow quick return if needed. The United States is developing commercial crew transportation to facilitate domestic access to ISS and low Earth orbit, as well as the Orion vehicle for beyond-low Earth orbit applications.

While spaceflight has typically been a government-directed activity, commercial spaceflight has gradually been taking on a greater role. The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight, and a number of non-governmental companies have been working to develop a space tourism industry. NASA has also played a role to stimulate private spaceflight through programs such as Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and Commercial Crew Development (CCDev). With its 2011 budget proposals released in 2010,[1] the Obama administration moved towards a model where commercial companies would supply NASA with transportation services of both people and cargo transport to low Earth orbit. The vehicles used for these services could then serve both NASA and potential commercial customers. Commercial resupply of ISS began two years after the retirement of the Shuttle, and commercial crew launches could begin by 2018.[2]

Human spaceflight capability was first developed during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR), which developed the first intercontinental ballistic missile rockets to deliver nuclear weapons. These rockets were large enough to be adapted to carry the first artificial satellites into low Earth orbit. After the first satellites were launched in 1957 and 1958, the US worked on Project Mercury to launch men singly into orbit, while the USSR secretly pursued the Vostok program to accomplish the same thing. The USSR launched the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, into a single orbit in Vostok 1 on a Vostok 3KA rocket, on 12 April 1961. The US launched its first astronaut, Alan Shepard, on a suborbital flight aboard Freedom 7 on a Mercury-Redstone rocket, on 5 May 1961. Unlike Gagarin, Shepard manually controlled his spacecraft’s attitude, and landed inside it. The first American in orbit was John Glenn aboard Friendship 7, launched 20 February 1962 on a Mercury-Atlas rocket. The USSR launched five more cosmonauts in Vostok capsules, including the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova aboard Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. The US launched a total of two astronauts in suborbital flight and four into orbit through 1963.

US President John F. Kennedy raised the stakes of the Space Race by setting the goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely by the end of the 1960s.[3] The US started the three-man Apollo program in 1961 to accomplish this, launched by the Saturn family of launch vehicles, and the interim two-man Project Gemini in 1962, which flew 10 missions launched by Titan II rockets in 1965 and 1966. Gemini’s objective was to support Apollo by developing American orbital spaceflight experience and techniques to be used in the Moon mission.[4]

Meanwhile, the USSR remained silent about their intentions to send humans to the Moon, and proceeded to stretch the limits of their single-pilot Vostok capsule into a two- or three-person Voskhod capsule to compete with Gemini. They were able to launch two orbital flights in 1964 and 1965 and achieved the first spacewalk, made by Alexei Leonov on Voskhod 2 on 8 March 1965. But Voskhod did not have Gemini’s capability to maneuver in orbit, and the program was terminated. The US Gemini flights did not accomplish the first spacewalk, but overcame the early Soviet lead by performing several spacewalks and solving the problem of astronaut fatigue caused by overcoming the lack of gravity, demonstrating up to two weeks endurance in a human spaceflight, and the first space rendezvous and dockings of spacecraft.

The US succeeded in developing the Saturn V rocket necessary to send the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon, and sent Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders into 10 orbits around the Moon in Apollo 8 in December 1968. In July 1969, Apollo 11 accomplished Kennedy’s goal by landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon 21 July and returning them safely on 24 July along with Command Module pilot Michael Collins. A total of six Apollo missions landed 12 men to walk on the Moon through 1972, half of which drove electric powered vehicles on the surface. The crew of Apollo 13, Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise, survived a catastrophic in-flight spacecraft failure and returned to Earth safely without landing on the Moon.

Meanwhile, the USSR secretly pursued human lunar orbiting and landing programs. They successfully developed the three-person Soyuz spacecraft for use in the lunar programs, but failed to develop the N1 rocket necessary for a human landing, and discontinued the lunar programs in 1974.[5] On losing the Moon race, they concentrated on the development of space stations, using the Soyuz as a ferry to take cosmonauts to and from the stations. They started with a series of Salyut sortie stations from 1971 to 1986.

After the Apollo program, the US launched the Skylab sortie space station in 1973, manning it for 171 days with three crews aboard Apollo spacecraft. President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev negotiated an easing of relations known as dtente, an easing of Cold War tensions. As part of this, they negotiated the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, in which an Apollo spacecraft carrying a special docking adapter module rendezvoused and docked with Soyuz 19 in 1975. The American and Russian crews shook hands in space, but the purpose of the flight was purely diplomatic and symbolic.

Nixon appointed his Vice President Spiro Agnew to head a Space Task Group in 1969 to recommend follow-on human spaceflight programs after Apollo. The group proposed an ambitious Space Transportation System based on a reusable Space Shuttle which consisted of a winged, internally fueled orbiter stage burning liquid hydrogen, launched by a similar, but larger kerosene-fueled booster stage, each equipped with airbreathing jet engines for powered return to a runway at the Kennedy Space Center launch site. Other components of the system included a permanent modular space station, reusable space tug and nuclear interplanetary ferry, leading to a human expedition to Mars as early as 1986, or as late as 2000, depending on the level of funding allocated. However, Nixon knew the American political climate would not support Congressional funding for such an ambition, and killed proposals for all but the Shuttle, possibly to be followed by the space station. Plans for the Shuttle were scaled back to reduce development risk, cost, and time, replacing the piloted flyback booster with two reusable solid rocket boosters, and the smaller orbiter would use an expendable external propellant tank to feed its hydrogen-fueled main engines. The orbiter would have to make unpowered landings.

The two nations continued to compete rather than cooperate in space, as the US turned to developing the Space Shuttle and planning the space station, dubbed Freedom. The USSR launched three Almaz military sortie stations from 1973 to 1977, disguised as Salyuts. They followed Salyut with the development of Mir, the first modular, semi-permanent space station, the construction of which took place from 1986 to 1996. Mir orbited at an altitude of 354 kilometers (191 nautical miles), at a 51.6 inclination. It was occupied for 4,592 days, and made a controlled reentry in 2001.

The Space Shuttle started flying in 1981, but the US Congress failed to approve sufficient funds to make Freedom a reality. A fleet of four shuttles was built: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis. A fifth shuttle, Endeavour, was built to replace Challenger, which was destroyed in an accident during launch that killed 7 astronauts on 28 January 1986. Twenty-two Shuttle flights carried a European Space Agency sortie space station called Spacelab in the payload bay from 1983 to 1998.[6]

The USSR copied the reusable Space Shuttle orbiter, which it called Buran. It was designed to be launched into orbit by the expendable Energia rocket, and capable of robotic orbital flight and landing. Unlike the US Shuttle, Buran had no main rocket engines, but like the Shuttle used its orbital maneuvering engines to perform its final orbital insertion. A single unmanned orbital test flight was successfully made in November 1988. A second test flight was planned by 1993, but the program was cancelled due to lack of funding and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Two more orbiters were never completed, and the first one was destroyed in a hangar roof collapse in May 2002.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought an end to the Cold War and opened the door to true cooperation between the US and Russia. The Soviet Soyuz and Mir programs were taken over by the Russian Federal Space Agency, now known as the Roscosmos State Corporation. The Shuttle-Mir Program included American Space Shuttles visiting the Mir space station, Russian cosmonauts flying on the Shuttle, and an American astronaut flying aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for long-duration expeditions aboard Mir.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton secured Russia’s cooperation in converting the planned Space Station Freedom into the International Space Station (ISS). Construction of the station began in 1998. The station orbits at an altitude of 409 kilometers (221nmi) and an inclination of 51.65.

The Space Shuttle was retired in 2011 after 135 orbital flights, several of which helped assemble, supply, and crew the ISS. Columbia was destroyed in another accident during reentry, which killed 7 astronauts on 1 February 2003.

After Russia’s launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, Chairman Mao Zedong intended to place a Chinese satellite in orbit by 1959 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC),[7] However, China did not successfully launch its first satellite until 24 April 1970. Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai decided on 14 July 1967, that the PRC should not be left behind, and started China’s own human spaceflight program.[8] The first attempt, the Shuguang spacecraft copied from the US Gemini, was cancelled on 13 May 1972.

China later designed the Shenzhou spacecraft resembling the Russian Soyuz, and became the third nation to achieve independent human spaceflight capability by launching Yang Liwei on a 21-hour flight aboard Shenzhou 5 on 15 October 2003. China launched the Tiangong-1 space station on 29 September 2011, and two sortie missions to it: Shenzhou 9 1629 June 2012, with China’s first female astronaut Liu Yang; and Shenzhou 10, 1326 June 2013. The station was retired on 21 March 2016 and remains in a 363-kilometer (196-nautical-mile), 42.77 inclination orbit.

The European Space Agency began development in 1987 of the Hermes spaceplane, to be launched on the Ariane 5 expendable launch vehicle. The project was cancelled in 1992, when it became clear that neither cost nor performance goals could be achieved. No Hermes shuttles were ever built.

Japan began development in the 1980s of the HOPE-X experimental spaceplane, to be launched on its H-IIA expendable launch vehicle. A string of failures in 1998 led to funding reduction, and the project’s cancellation in 2003.

Under the Bush administration, the Constellation Program included plans for retiring the Shuttle program and replacing it with the capability for spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit. In the 2011 United States federal budget, the Obama administration cancelled Constellation for being over budget and behind schedule while not innovating and investing in critical new technologies.[9] For beyond low Earth orbit human spaceflight NASA is developing the Orion spacecraft to be launched by the Space Launch System. Under the Commercial Crew Development plan, NASA will rely on transportation services provided by the private sector to reach low Earth orbit, such as SpaceX’s Falcon 9/Dragon V2, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser, or Boeing’s CST-100. The period between the retirement of the shuttle in 2011 and the first launch to space of Spaceshiptwo on December 13, 2018 is similar to the gap between the end of Apollo in 1975 and the first space shuttle flight in 1981, is referred to by a presidential Blue Ribbon Committee as the U.S. human spaceflight gap.[10]

Since the early 2000s, a variety of private spaceflight ventures have been undertaken. Several of the companies, including Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Sierra Nevada have explicit plans to advance human spaceflight. As of 2016[update], all four of those companies have development programs underway to fly commercial passengers.

A commercial suborbital spacecraft aimed at the space tourism market is being developed by Virgin Galactic called SpaceshipTwo which reached space in December 2018.[11][12]Blue Origin has begun a multi-year test program of their New Shepard vehicle and carried out six successful uncrewed test flights in 20152016. Blue Origin plan to fly “test passengers” in Q2 2017, and initiate commercial flights in 2018.[13][14]

SpaceX and Boeing are both developing passenger-capable orbital space capsules as of 2015, planning to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station by 2018. SpaceX will be carrying passengers on Dragon 2 launched on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Boeing will be doing it with their CST-100 launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle.[15]Development funding for these orbital-capable technologies has been provided by a mix of government and private funds, with SpaceX providing a greater portion of total development funding for this human-carrying capability from private investment.[16][17]There have been no public announcements of commercial offerings for orbital flights from either company, although both companies are planning some flights with their own private, not NASA, astronauts on board.

Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth on April 12, 1961.

Alan Shepard became the first American to reach space on Mercury-Redstone 3 on May 5, 1961.

John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962.

Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to orbit the Earth on June 16, 1963.

Joseph A. Walker became the first human to pilot a spaceplane, the X-15 Flight 90, into space on July 19, 1963.

Alexey Leonov became the first human to leave a spacecraft in orbit on March 18, 1965.

Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders became the first humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) Dec 2127, 1968, when the Apollo 8 mission took them to 10 orbits around the Moon and back.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space on July 25, 1984.

Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. Eileen Collins was the first female shuttle pilot, and with shuttle mission STS-93 in 1999 she became the first woman to command a U.S. spacecraft.

The longest single human spaceflight is that of Valeri Polyakov, who left Earth on 8 January 1994, and did not return until 22 March 1995 (a total of 437 days 17 h 58 min 16 s). Sergei Krikalyov has spent the most time of anyone in space, 803 days, 9 hours, and 39 minutes altogether. The longest period of continuous human presence in space is 18years and 49days on the International Space Station, exceeding the previous record of almost 10 years (or 3,634 days) held by Mir, spanning the launch of Soyuz TM-8 on 5 September 1989 to the landing of Soyuz TM-29 on 28 August 1999.

Yang Liwei became the first human to orbit the Earth as part of the Chinese manned space program on October 15, 2003.

For many years, only the USSR (later Russia) and the United States had their own astronauts. Citizens of other nations flew in space, beginning with the flight of Vladimir Remek, a Czech, on a Soviet spacecraft on 2 March 1978, in the Interkosmos programme. As of 2010[update], citizens from 38 nations (including space tourists) have flown in space aboard Soviet, American, Russian, and Chinese spacecraft.

Human spaceflight programs have been conducted by the former Soviet Union and current Russian Federation, the United States, the People’s Republic of China and by private spaceflight company Scaled Composites.

Currently have human spaceflight programs.

Confirmed and dated plans for human spaceflight programs.

Plans for human spaceflight on the simplest form (suborbital spaceflight, etc.).

Plans for human spaceflight on the extreme form (space stations, etc.).

Once had official plans for human spaceflight programs, but have since been abandoned.

Space vehicles are spacecraft used for transportation between the Earth’s surface and outer space, or between locations in outer space. The following space vehicles and spaceports are currently used for launching human spaceflights:

The following space stations are currently maintained in Earth orbit for human occupation:

Numerous private companies attempted human spaceflight programs in an effort to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight. SpaceShipOne captured the prize on 4 October 2004, when it accomplished two consecutive flights within one week. SpaceShipTwo, launching from the carrier aircraft White Knight Two, is planned to conduct regular suborbital space tourism.[18]

Most of the time, the only humans in space are those aboard the ISS, whose crew of six spends up to six months at a time in low Earth orbit.

NASA and ESA use the term “human spaceflight” to refer to their programs of launching people into space. These endeavors have also been referred to as “manned space missions,” though because of gender specificity this is no longer official parlance according to NASA style guides.[19]

India has declared it will send humans to space on its orbital vehicle Gaganyaan by 2022. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began work on this project in 2006.[20] The objective is to carry a crew of two to low Earth orbit (LEO) and return them safely for a water-landing at a predefined landing zone. The program is proposed to be implemented in defined phases. Currently, the activities are progressing with a focus on the development of critical technologies for subsystems such as the Crew Module (CM), Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), Crew Escape System, etc. The department has initiated activities to study technical and managerial issues related to crewed missions. The program envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying 2 or 3 crew members to about 300km low Earth orbit and their safe return.

NASA is developing a plan to land humans on Mars by the 2030s. The first step in this mission begins sometime during 2020, when NASA plans to send an uncrewed craft into deep space to retrieve an asteroid.[21] The asteroid will be pushed into the moons orbit, and studied by astronauts aboard Orion, NASAs first human spacecraft in a generation.[22] Orions crew will return to Earth with samples of the asteroid and their collected data. In addition to broadening Americas space capabilities, this mission will test newly developed technology, such as solar electric propulsion, which uses solar arrays for energy and requires ten times less propellant than the conventional chemical counterpart used for powering space shuttles to orbit.[23]

Several other countries and space agencies have announced and begun human spaceflight programs by their own technology, Japan (JAXA), Iran (ISA) and Malaysia (MNSA).

A number of spacecraft have been proposed over the decades that might facilitate spaceliner passenger travel. Somewhat analogous to travel by airliner after the middle of the 20th century, these vehicles are proposed to transport a large number of passengers to destinations in space, or to destinations on Earth which travel through space. To date, none of these concepts have been built, although a few vehicles that carry fewer than 10 persons are currently in the flight testing phase of their development process.

One large spaceliner concept currently in early development is the SpaceX BFR which, in addition to replacing the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles in the legacy Earth-orbit market after 2020, has been proposed by SpaceX for long-distance commercial travel on Earth. This is to transport people on point-to-point suborbital flights between two points on Earth in under one hour, also known as “Earth-to-Earth,” and carrying 100+ passengers.[24][25][26]

Small spaceplane or small capsule suborbital spacecraft have been under development for the past decade or so and, as of 2017[update], at least one of each type are under development. Both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are in active development, with the SpaceShipTwo spaceplane and the New Shepard capsule, respectively. Both would carry approximately a half-dozen passengers up to space for a brief time of zero gravity before returning to the same location from where the trip began. XCOR Aerospace had been developing the Lynx single-passenger spaceplane since the 2000s[27][28][29] but development was halted in 2017.[30]

There are two main sources of hazard in space flight: those due to the environment of space which make it hostile to the human body, and the potential for mechanical malfunctions of the equipment required to accomplish space flight.

Planners of human spaceflight missions face a number of safety concerns.

The immediate needs for breathable air and drinkable water are addressed by the life support system of the spacecraft.

Medical consequences such as possible blindness and bone loss have been associated with human space flight.[42][43]

On 31 December 2012, a NASA-supported study reported that spaceflight may harm the brain of astronauts and accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.[44][45][46]

In October 2015, the NASA Office of Inspector General issued a health hazards report related to space exploration, including a human mission to Mars.[47][48]

On 2 November 2017, scientists reported that significant changes in the position and structure of the brain have been found in astronauts who have taken trips in space, based on MRI studies. Astronauts who took longer space trips were associated with greater brain changes.[49][50]

Researchers in 2018 reported, after detecting the presence on the International Space Station (ISS) of five Enterobacter bugandensis bacterial strains, none pathogenic to humans, that microorganisms on ISS should be carefully monitored to continue assuring a medically healthy environment for astronauts.[51][52]

Medical data from astronauts in low Earth orbits for long periods, dating back to the 1970s, show several adverse effects of a microgravity environment: loss of bone density, decreased muscle strength and endurance, postural instability, and reductions in aerobic capacity. Over time these deconditioning effects can impair astronauts performance or increase their risk of injury.[53]

In a weightless environment, astronauts put almost no weight on the back muscles or leg muscles used for standing up, which causes them to weaken and get smaller. Astronauts can lose up to twenty per cent of their muscle mass on spaceflights lasting five to eleven days. The consequent loss of strength could be a serious problem in case of a landing emergency.[54] Upon return to Earth from long-duration flights, astronauts are considerably weakened, and are not allowed to drive a car for twenty-one days.[55]

Astronauts experiencing weightlessness will often lose their orientation, get motion sickness, and lose their sense of direction as their bodies try to get used to a weightless environment. When they get back to Earth, or any other mass with gravity, they have to readjust to the gravity and may have problems standing up, focusing their gaze, walking and turning. Importantly, those body motor disturbances after changing from different gravities only get worse the longer the exposure to little gravity.[56] These changes will affect operational activities including approach and landing, docking, remote manipulation, and emergencies that may happen while landing. This can be a major roadblock to mission success.[citation needed]

In addition, after long space flight missions, male astronauts may experience severe eyesight problems.[57][58][59][60][61] Such eyesight problems may be a major concern for future deep space flight missions, including a crewed mission to the planet Mars.[57][58][59][60][62]

Without proper shielding, the crews of missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) might be at risk from high-energy protons emitted by solar flares and associated solar particle events (SPEs). Lawrence Townsend of the University of Tennessee and others have studied the overall most powerful solar storm ever recorded. The flare was seen by the British astronomer Richard Carrington in September 1859. Radiation doses astronauts would receive from a Carrington-type storm could cause acute radiation sickness and possibly even death.[64] Another storm that could have incurred a lethal radiation dose if astronauts were outside the Earth’s protective magnetosphere occurred during the Space Age, in fact, shortly after Apollo 16 landed and before Apollo 17 launched.[65] This solar storm of August 1972 would likely at least have caused acute illness.[66]

Another type of radiation, galactic cosmic rays, presents further challenges to human spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit.[67]

There is also some scientific concern that extended spaceflight might slow down the bodys ability to protect itself against diseases.[68] Some of the problems are a weakened immune system and the activation of dormant viruses in the body. Radiation can cause both short and long term consequences to the bone marrow stem cells which create the blood and immune systems. Because the interior of a spacecraft is so small, a weakened immune system and more active viruses in the body can lead to a fast spread of infection.[citation needed]

During long missions, astronauts are isolated and confined into small spaces. Depression, cabin fever and other psychological problems may impact the crew’s safety and mission success.[69]

Astronauts may not be able to quickly return to Earth or receive medical supplies, equipment or personnel if a medical emergency occurs. The astronauts may have to rely for long periods on their limited existing resources and medical advice from the ground.

Space flight requires much higher velocities than ground or air transportation, which in turn requires the use of high energy density propellants for launch, and the dissipation of large amounts of energy, usually as heat, for safe reentry through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Since rockets carry the potential for fire or explosive destruction, space capsules generally employ some sort of launch escape system, consisting either of a tower-mounted solid fuel rocket to quickly carry the capsule away from the launch vehicle (employed on Mercury, Apollo, and Soyuz), or else ejection seats (employed on Vostok and Gemini) to carry astronauts out of the capsule and away for individual parachute landing. The escape tower is discarded at some point before the launch is complete, at a point where an abort can be performed using the spacecraft’s engines.

Such a system is not always practical for multiple crew member vehicles (particularly spaceplanes), depending on location of egress hatch(es). When the single-hatch Vostok capsule was modified to become the 2 or 3-person Voskhod, the single-cosmonaut ejection seat could not be used, and no escape tower system was added. The two Voskhod flights in 1964 and 1965 avoided launch mishaps. The Space Shuttle carried ejection seats and escape hatches for its pilot and copilot in early flights, but these could not be used for passengers who sat below the flight deck on later flights, and so were discontinued.

There have only been two in-flight launch aborts of a crewed flight. The first occurred on Soyuz 18a on 5 April 1975. The abort occurred after the launch escape system had been jettisoned, when the launch vehicle’s spent second stage failed to separate before the third stage ignited. The vehicle strayed off course, and the crew separated the spacecraft and fired its engines to pull it away from the errant rocket. Both cosmonauts landed safely. The second occurred on 11 October 2018 with the launch of Soyuz MS-10. Again, both crew members survived.

In the only use of a launch escape system on a crewed flight, the planned Soyuz T-10a launch on 26 September 1983 was aborted by a launch vehicle fire 90 seconds before liftoff. Both cosmonauts aboard landed safely.

The only crew fatality during launch occurred on 28 January 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff, due to failure of a solid rocket booster seal which caused separation of the booster and failure of the external fuel tank, resulting in explosion of the fuel. All seven crew members were killed.

The single pilot of Soyuz 1, Vladimir Komarov was killed when his capsule’s parachutes failed during an emergency landing on 24 April 1967, causing the capsule to crash.

The crew of seven aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia were killed on reentry after completing a successful mission in space on 1 February 2003. A wing leading edge reinforced carbon-carbon heat shield had been damaged by a piece of frozen external tank foam insulation which broke off and struck the wing during launch. Hot reentry gasses entered and destroyed the wing structure, leading to breakup of the orbiter vehicle.

There are two basic choices for an artificial atmosphere: either an Earth-like mixture of oxygen in an inert gas such as nitrogen or helium, or pure oxygen, which can be used at lower than standard atmospheric pressure. A nitrogen-oxygen mixture is used in the International Space Station and Soyuz spacecraft, while low-pressure pure oxygen is commonly used in space suits for extravehicular activity.

Use of a gas mixture carries risk of decompression sickness (commonly known as “the bends”) when transitioning to or from the pure oxygen space suit environment. There have also been instances of injury and fatalities caused by suffocation in the presence of too much nitrogen and not enough oxygen.

A pure oxygen atmosphere carries risk of fire. The original design of the Apollo spacecraft used pure oxygen at greater than atmospheric pressure prior to launch. An electrical fire started in the cabin of Apollo 1 during a ground test at Cape Kennedy Air Force Station Launch Complex 34 on 27 January 1967, and spread rapidly. The high pressure (increased even higher by the fire) prevented removal of the plug door hatch cover in time to rescue the crew. All three, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, were killed.[73] This led NASA to use a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere before launch, and low pressure pure oxygen only in space.

The March 1966 Gemini 8 mission was aborted in orbit when an attitude control system thruster stuck in the on position, sending the craft into a dangerous spin which threatened the lives of Neil Armstrong and David Scott. Armstrong had to shut the control system off and use the reentry control system to stop the spin. The craft made an emergency reentry and the astronauts landed safely. The most probable cause was determined to be an electrical short due to a static electricity discharge, which caused the thruster to remain powered even when switched off. The control system was modified to put each thruster on its own isolated circuit.

The third lunar landing expedition Apollo 13 in April 1970, was aborted and the lives of the crew, James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, were threatened by failure of a cryogenic liquid oxygen tank en route to the Moon. The tank burst when electrical power was applied to internal stirring fans in the tank, causing the immediate loss of all of its contents, and also damaging the second tank, causing the loss of its remaining oxygen in a span of 130 minutes. This in turn caused loss of electrical power provided by fuel cells to the command spacecraft. The crew managed to return to Earth safely by using the lunar landing craft as a “life boat”. The tank failure was determined to be caused by two mistakes. The tank’s drain fitting had been damaged when it was dropped during factory testing. This necessitated use of its internal heaters to boil out the oxygen after a pre-launch test, which in turn damaged the fan wiring’s electrical insulation, because the thermostats on the heaters did not meet the required voltage rating due to a vendor miscommunication.

The crew of Soyuz 11 were killed on June 30, 1971 by a combination of mechanical malfunctions: they were asphyxiated due to cabin decompression following separation of their descent capsule from the service module. A cabin ventilation valve had been jolted open at an altitude of 168 kilometres (551,000ft) by the stronger than expected shock of explosive separation bolts which were designed to fire sequentially, but in fact had fired simultaneously. The loss of pressure became fatal within about 30 seconds.[74]

As of December2015[update], 22 crew members have died in accidents aboard spacecraft. Over 100 others have died in accidents during activity directly related to spaceflight or testing.

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Human spaceflight – Wikipedia

Spaceflight Now The leading source for online space news

Rocket Labs commercial Electron booster fired into orbit from New Zealand on Sunday, carrying a flock of 13 CubeSats on the companys first mission chartered by NASA, and closing out a landmark year for the new smallsat launch provider as Rocket Lab aims to grow its flight rate to at least one per month in 2019.

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Spaceflight Now The leading source for online space news

Launch Schedule Spaceflight Now

A regularly updated listing of planned orbital missions from spaceports around the globe. Dates and times are given in Greenwich Mean Time. NET stands for no earlier than. TBD means to be determined. Recent updates appear in red type. Please send any corrections, additions or updates by e-mailto:sclark@spaceflightnow.com.

See ourLaunch Logfor a listing of completed space missions since 2004.

Dec. 19: Falcon 9/GPS 3 SV01 delayed; Adding timeframe for Pegasus XL/ICONDec. 18: Falcon 9/GPS 3 SV01 scrubbed; Soyuz/CSO 1 scrubbed; Delta 4-Heavy/NROL-71 scrubbed; Updating time for GSLV Mk.2/GSAT 7ADec. 13: Electron/ELaNa-19 scrubbed; Updating time for Falcon 9/GPS 3-01; Updating time for Soyuz/CSO 1; Adding date for Delta 4-Heavy/NROL-71; Adding approximate time for GSLV Mk.2/GSAT 7A; Proton/Blagovest No. 13L moved forward; Adding PSLV/EMISat; Long March 5/Shijian 20 delayed; Adding Epsilon/RAPIS 1; Adding LauncherOne/Inaugural Flight; Delta 4/WGS 10 delayed; Falcon 9/PSN 6 & SpaceIL Lunar Lander delayed; Falcon 9/SpaceX CRS 17 delayed; Adding Falcon 9/Amos 17; Adding Soyuz/Progress 73P; Adding Falcon 9/Crew Dragon Demo-2; Adding H-2B/HTV 8; Adding Soyuz 59S; Adding Atlas 5/CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test; Adding Antares/NG-12; Adding Falcon 9/SpaceX CRS 19; Adding Falcon 9/SAOCOM 1BDec. 8: Delta 4-Heavy/NROL-71 scrubbedDec. 7: Delta 4-Heavy/NROL-71 scrubbed; Electron/VCLS 1 delayed; Adding time for Soyuz/CSO 1; Adding date for GSLV Mk.2/GSAT 7A; Adding time for Proton/Blagovest No. 13L; Soyuz/Kanopus-V 5 & 6 delayed; Soyuz/EgyptSat-A delayed; Falcon 9/Iridium Next 66-75 delayed; Adding date for Falcon 9/Crew Dragon Demo-1; Adding Ariane 5/Hellas-Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1 & GSAT 31; Soyuz/CSG 1 & CHEOPS delayed; Soyuz 58S moved forward; Soyuz/Progress 72P delayed

Dec. 19Soyuz CSO 1

Launch time: 1637:14 GMT (11:37:14 a.m. EST)Launch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket, designated VS20, will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry into polar orbit the first Composante Spatiale Optique military reconnaissance satellite for CNES and DGA, the French defense procurement agency. The CSO 1 satellite is the first of three new-generation high-resolution optical imaging satellites for the French military, replacing the Helios 2 spy satellite series. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. Scrubbed on Dec. 18 by unfavorable high-altitude winds. [Dec. 18]

Dec. 19/20Delta 4-Heavy NROL-71

Launch time: 0144 GMT on 20th (8:44 p.m. EST; 5:44 p.m. PST on 19th)Launch site: SLC-6, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The largest of the Delta 4 family, the Heavy version features three Common Booster Cores mounted together to form a triple-body rocket. Delayed from Sept. 26. Moved forward from Dec. 3. Delayed from Nov. 29. Scrubbed on Dec. 7 by an issue with holdfire circuitry. Scrubbed on Dec. 8 at T-minus 7.5 seconds. Scrubbed on Dec. 18 by high ground winds. [Dec. 18]

TBDFalcon 9 GPS 3 SV01

Launch window: Approx. 1400 GMT (9 a.m. EST)Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the U.S. Air Forces first third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System. Delayed from May 3 and late 2017. Switched from a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket. The second GPS 3-series satellite will now launch on a Delta 4. Delayed from September and October. Delayed from Dec. 15. Scrubbed on Dec. 18 by out of family sensor readings. Delayed from Dec. 19 to study sensor readings. [Dec. 19]

Dec. 20/21Proton Blagovest No. 13L

Launch time: Approx. 0015 GMT on 21st (7:15 p.m. EST on 20th)Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Proton rocket and Breeze M upper stage will launch the Blagovest No. 13L communications satellite to cover Russian territory and provide high-speed Internet, television and radio broadcast, and voice and video conferencing services for Russian domestic and military users. Moved forward from Dec. 25. [Dec. 13]

Dec. 26/27Soyuz Kanopus-V 5 & 6

Launch time: 0207 GMT on 27th (9:07 p.m. EST on 26th)Launch site: Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the Kanopus-V 5 and 6 Earth observation satellites. The two spacecraft will assist the Russian government in disaster response, mapping and forest fire detection. Multiple secondary payloads from international companies and institutions will also launch on the Soyuz rocket. The Soyuz 2-1a rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. Moved forward from Dec. 26. Delayed from Dec. 25. [Dec. 7]

JanuaryPSLV EMISat

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

Indias Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 (GSLV Mk.2), designated PSLV-C44, will launch the EMISat satellite, reportedly an electronic intelligence-gathering spacecraft for the Indian government. [Dec. 13]

Jan. 7Falcon 9 Iridium Next 66-75

Launch time: 1553 GMT (10:53 a.m. EST; 7:53 a.m. PST)Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet. Delayed from October, November and Dec. 30. [Dec. 7]

Jan. 16/17Epsilon RAPIS 1

Launch window: 0050:20-0059:37 GMT on 17th (7:50:20-7:59:37 p.m. EST on 16th))Launch site: Uchinoura Space Center, Japan

Japans Epsilon rocket will launch the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agencys Rapid Innovative Payload Demonstration Satellite 1, or RAPIS 1, along with six Japanese and Vietnamese secondary payloads on a rideshare mission. [Dec. 13]

NET Jan. 17/18Falcon 9 Crew Dragon Demo 1

Launch time: Approx. 0100 GMT on 18th (8 p.m. EST on 17th)Launch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station under the auspices of NASAs commercial crew program. Delayed from December 2016, May 2017, July 2017, August 2017, November 2017, February 2018, April 2018, August 2018, November 2018 and December 2018. Delayed from Jan. 7. [Dec. 7]

Early 2019LauncherOne Inaugural Flight

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cosmic Girl (Boeing 747), Mojave Air and Space Port, California

A Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket will made its first orbital test flight after dropping from a modified Boeing 747 carrier aircraft over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. [Dec. 13]

Jan. 23Ariane 5 Hellas-Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1 & GSAT 31

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana

Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA247, to launch the HellasSat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1 and GSAT 11 communications satellite. Built by Lockheed Martin, the Hellas-Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1 satellite will provide telecommunications and broadband services in Saudi Arabia, other parts of the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. Hellas-Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1 is a joint mission between Hellas-Sat, a subsidiary of Arabsat based in Cyprus, and Saudi Arabias King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. The GSAT 31 satellite, built and owned by the Indian Space Research Organization, will provide communications coverage over India, replacing the aging Insat 4CR spacecraft. [Dec. 7]

Jan. 25Delta 4 WGS 10

Launch window: Approx. 2340-0035 GMT on 25th/26th (6:40-7:35 p.m. on 25th)Launch site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket will launch the 10th Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft, formerly known as the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite. Built by Boeing, this geostationary communications spacecraft will serve U.S. military forces. The rocket will fly in the Medium+ (5,4) configuration with four solid rocket boosters. Delayed from Nov. 1, Dec. 13 and Jan. 23. [Dec. 13]

Jan. 30GSLV Mk.3 Chandrayaan 2

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 3 (GSLV Mk.3) will launch the Chandrayaan 2 mission, Indias second mission to the moon. Chandrayaan 2 will consist of an orbiter, the Vikram lander and rover launched together into a high Earth orbit. The orbiter is designed to use on-board propulsion to reach the moon, then release the lander and rover. Chandrayaan 2 was originally slated to launch on a GSLV Mk.2 vehicle, but Indian officials decided to switch to a larger GSLV Mk.3 vehicle in 2018. Delayed from March, April and October 2018. Delayed from Jan. 3. [Oct. 25]

First QuarterPegasus XL ICON

Launch window: 0800-0930 GMT (3:00-4:30 a.m. EST)Launch site: L-1011, Skid Strip, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

An air-launched Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket will deploy NASAs Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite into orbit. ICON will study the ionosphere, a region of Earths upper atmosphere where terrestrial weather meets space weather. Disturbances in the ionosphere triggered by solar storms or weather activity in the lower atmosphere can cause disturbances in GPS navigation and radio transmissions. The missions staging point was changed from Kwajalein Atoll to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in mid-2018. Delayed from June 15, Nov. 14, and Dec. 8, 2017. Delayed from June 14, Sept. 24, Oct. 6, Oct. 26 and Nov. 3. Scrubbed on Nov. 7. [Dec. 19]

TBDVega PRISMA

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ZLV, Kourou, French Guiana

An Arianespace Vega rocket, designated VV14, will launch with the PRISMA satellite for the Italian space agency ASI. PRISMA is an Earth observation satellite fitted with an innovative electro-optical instrument, combining a hyperspectral sensor with a medium-resolution panchromatic camera. The mission will support environmental monitoring and security applications. Delayed from November and December 2018. [Oct. 25]

Feb. 7Soyuz EgyptSat-A

Launch time: 1647 GMT (11:47 a.m. EST)Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the EgyptSat-A Earth observation satellite. EgyptSat-A was built by RSC Energia for Egypts National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences. Delayed from Nov. 22 and Dec. 27. [Dec. 7]

Feb. 13Falcon 9 PSN 6 & SpaceIL Lunar Lander

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the PSN 6 communications satellite and SpaceILs Lunar Lander. Built by SSL and owned by Indonesias PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara, PSN 6 will provide voice and data communications, broadband Internet, and video distribution throughout the Indonesian archipelago. A privately-funded lunar lander developed by Israels SpaceIL will ride piggyback on this launch, along with several smaller payloads under a rideshare arrangement to geostationary transfer orbit provided by Spaceflight. Delayed from January. [Dec. 13]

NET Feb. 18Falcon 9 Radarsat Constellation Mission

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Radarsat Constellation Mission for the Canadian Space Agency and MDA. Consisting of three radar Earth observation spacecraft launching on a single rocket, the Radarsat Constellation Mission is the next in a series of Canadian Radarsat satellites supporting all-weather maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring for the Canadian government and international users. Delayed from November. [Oct. 18]

Early 2019Falcon Heavy Arabsat 6A

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the Arabsat 6A communications satellite for Arabsat of Saudi Arabia. Arabsat 6A will provide Ku-band and Ka-band communications coverage over the Middle East and North Africa regions, as well as a footprint in South Africa. Delayed from first half of 2018 and late 2018. [Oct. 14]

FebruarySoyuz OneWeb 1

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry the first 10 satellites into orbit for OneWeb, which is developing constellation of hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit for low-latency broadband communications. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. Delayed from late 2018. [Sept. 21]

Feb. 28Soyuz ISS 58S

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the crewed Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station with members of the next Expedition crew. The capsule will remain at the station for about six months, providing an escape pod for the residents. Moved forward from April 5. [Dec. 7]

Early 2019Falcon Heavy STP-2

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the U.S. Air Forces Space Test Program-2 mission with a cluster of military and scientific research satellites. The heavy-lift rocket is formed of three Falcon 9 rocket cores strapped together with 27 Merlin 1D engines firing at liftoff. Delayed from October 2016, March 2017 and September 2017. Delayed from April 30, June 13, Oct. 30 and Nov. 30. [Sept. 11]

MarchAtlas 5 CST-100 Starliner Orbital Flight Test

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-080, will launch Boeings first CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on an unpiloted Orbital Test Flight to the International Space Station. The capsule will dock with the space station, then return to Earth to landing in the Western United States after an orbital shakedown cruise ahead of a two-person Crew Test Flight. The rocket will fly in a vehicle configuration with two solid rocket boosters and a dual-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from Aug. 27, 2018, and January. [Oct. 18]

MarchSoyuz Meteor M2-2

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch with the Russian Meteor M2-1 polar-orbiting weather satellite. Delayed from Dec. 6. [Sept. 21]

MarchFalcon 9 SpaceX CRS 17

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 19th Dragon spacecraft mission on its 17th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Delayed from Nov. 16, Feb. 1 and Feb. 17. [Dec. 13]

March 28Soyuz Progress 72P

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 72nd Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Delayed from Feb. 7 and Feb. 8. [Dec. 7]

2nd QuarterFalcon 9 Amos 17

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Amos 17 communications satellite. Built by Boeing and owned by Spacecom Ltd. of Israel, Amos 17 will provide high-throughput broadband connectivity and other communications services over Africa, the Middle East and Europe. [Dec. 13]

2nd QuarterMinotaur 1 NROL-111

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Pad 0B, Wallops Island, Virginia

A U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman Minotaur 1 rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Delayed from December. [Sept. 6]

2nd QuarterLong March 5 Shijian 20

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Wenchang, China

A Chinese Long March 5 rocket will launch the Shijian 20 communications satellite. Shijian 20 is the first spacecraft based on the new DFH-5 communications satellite platform, a heavier, higher-power next-generation design, replacing the Shijian 18 satellite lost on a launch failure in 2017. Delayed from November 2018. Delayed from January. [Dec. 13]

April 4Delta 4 GPS 3-02

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket will launch the U.S. Air Forces second third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System. The satellite is built by Lockheed Martin. The Air Force previously planned to launch the third GPS 3-series satellite on this mission. The rocket will fly in the Medium+ (4,2) configuration with two solid rocket boosters. Delayed from Nov. 1 and Dec. 13. [Sept. 6]

April 17Antares NG-11

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Pad 0A, Wallops Island, Virginia

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket will launch the 12th Cygnus cargo freighter on the 11th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The mission is known as NG-11. The rocket will fly in the Antares 230 configuration, with two RD-181 first stage engines and a Castor 30XL second stage. [July 27]

May 7Falcon 9 SpaceX CRS 18

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 20th Dragon spacecraft mission on its 18th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. [July 27]

June 5Soyuz Progress 73P

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Launch Schedule Spaceflight Now

Launch Schedule Spaceflight Now

A regularly updated listing of planned orbital missions from spaceports around the globe. Dates and times are given in Greenwich Mean Time. NET stands for no earlier than. TBD means to be determined. Recent updates appear in red type. Please send any corrections, additions or updates by e-mailto:sclark@spaceflightnow.com.

See ourLaunch Logfor a listing of completed space missions since 2004.

Dec. 13: Electron/ELaNa-19 scrubbed; Updating time for Falcon 9/GPS 3-01; Updating time for Soyuz/CSO 1; Adding date for Delta 4-Heavy/NROL-71; Adding approximate time for GSLV Mk.2/GSAT 7A; Proton/Blagovest No. 13L moved forward; Adding PSLV/EMISat; Long March 5/Shijian 20 delayed; Adding Epsilon/RAPIS 1; Adding LauncherOne/Inaugural Flight; Delta 4/WGS 10 delayed; Falcon 9/PSN 6 & SpaceIL Lunar Lander delayed; Falcon 9/SpaceX CRS 17 delayed; Adding Falcon 9/Amos 17; Adding Soyuz/Progress 73P; Adding Falcon 9/Crew Dragon Demo-2; Adding H-2B/HTV 8; Adding Soyuz 59S; Adding Atlas 5/CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test; Adding Antares/NG-12; Adding Falcon 9/SpaceX CRS 19; Adding Falcon 9/SAOCOM 1BDec. 8: Delta 4-Heavy/NROL-71 scrubbedDec. 7: Delta 4-Heavy/NROL-71 scrubbed; Electron/VCLS 1 delayed; Adding time for Soyuz/CSO 1; Adding date for GSLV Mk.2/GSAT 7A; Adding time for Proton/Blagovest No. 13L; Soyuz/Kanopus-V 5 & 6 delayed; Soyuz/EgyptSat-A delayed; Falcon 9/Iridium Next 66-75 delayed; Adding date for Falcon 9/Crew Dragon Demo-1; Adding Ariane 5/Hellas-Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1 & GSAT 31; Soyuz/CSG 1 & CHEOPS delayed; Soyuz 58S moved forward; Soyuz/Progress 72P delayedDec. 3: Falcon 9/SpaceX CRS 16 delayed; Falcon 9/Crew Dragon Demo-1 delayedDec. 2: Falcon 9/Spaceflight SSO-A delayed; Adding window for Ariane 5/GSAT 11 & GEO-Kompsat 2A; Adding approximate time for Long March 3B/Change 4; Adding time for Delta 4-Heavy/NROL-71

Dec. 15/16Electron ELaNa-19

Launch window: 0400-0800 GMT on 16th (11:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. EST on 15th/16th)Launch site: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its fourth flight from a facility on the Mahia Peninsula on New Zealands North Island. The flight will be conducted under contract to NASAs Venture Class Launch Services Program, carrying 13 CubeSats to orbit for NASA field centers and U.S. educational institutions on the ELaNa-19 rideshare mission. Delayed from 3rd Quarter and Dec. 10. Scrubbed on Dec. 12 by bad weather. [Dec. 13]

Dec. 18Falcon 9 GPS 3-01

Launch window: 1411-1435 GMT (9:11-9:35 a.m. EST)Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the U.S. Air Forces first third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System. Delayed from May 3 and late 2017. Switched from a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket. The second GPS 3-series satellite will now launch on a Delta 4. Delayed from September and October. Delayed from Dec. 15. [Nov. 21]

Dec. 18Soyuz CSO 1

Launch time: 1637:14 GMT (11:37:14 a.m. EST)Launch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket, designated VS20, will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry into polar orbit the first Composante Spatiale Optique military reconnaissance satellite for CNES and DGA, the French defense procurement agency. The CSO 1 satellite is the first of three new-generation high-resolution optical imaging satellites for the French military, replacing the Helios 2 spy satellite series. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. [Dec. 13]

Dec. 18/19Delta 4-Heavy NROL-71

Launch time: 0157 GMT on 19th (8:57 p.m. EST; 5:57 p.m. PST on 18th)Launch site: SLC-6, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The largest of the Delta 4 family, the Heavy version features three Common Booster Cores mounted together to form a triple-body rocket. Delayed from Sept. 26. Moved forward from Dec. 3. Delayed from Nov. 29. Scrubbed on Dec. 7 by an issue with holdfire circuitry. Scrubbed on Dec. 8 at T-minus 7.5 seconds. [Dec. 13]

Dec. 19GSLV Mk.2 GSAT 7A

Launch time: Approx. 1030 GMT (5:30 a.m. EST)Launch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 (GSLV Mk.2), designated GSLV-F11, will launch the GSAT 7A communications satellite for the Indian Air Force. Delayed from Dec. 14. [Dec. 13]

Dec. 20/21Proton Blagovest No. 13L

Launch time: Approx. 0015 GMT on 21st (7:15 p.m. EST on 20th)Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Proton rocket and Breeze M upper stage will launch the Blagovest No. 13L communications satellite to cover Russian territory and provide high-speed Internet, television and radio broadcast, and voice and video conferencing services for Russian domestic and military users. Moved forward from Dec. 25. [Dec. 13]

Dec. 26/27Soyuz Kanopus-V 5 & 6

Launch time: 0207 GMT on 27th (9:07 p.m. EST on 26th)Launch site: Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the Kanopus-V 5 and 6 Earth observation satellites. The two spacecraft will assist the Russian government in disaster response, mapping and forest fire detection. Multiple secondary payloads from international companies and institutions will also launch on the Soyuz rocket. The Soyuz 2-1a rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. Moved forward from Dec. 26. Delayed from Dec. 25. [Dec. 7]

TBDPegasus XL ICON

Launch window: 0800-0930 GMT (3:00-4:30 a.m. EST)Launch site: L-1011, Skid Strip, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

An air-launched Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket will deploy NASAs Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite into orbit. ICON will study the ionosphere, a region of Earths upper atmosphere where terrestrial weather meets space weather. Disturbances in the ionosphere triggered by solar storms or weather activity in the lower atmosphere can cause disturbances in GPS navigation and radio transmissions. The missions staging point was changed from Kwajalein Atoll to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in mid-2018. Delayed from June 15, Nov. 14, and Dec. 8, 2017. Delayed from June 14, Sept. 24, Oct. 6, Oct. 26 and Nov. 3. Scrubbed on Nov. 7. [Nov. 7]

JanuaryPSLV EMISat

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

Indias Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 (GSLV Mk.2), designated PSLV-C44, will launch the EMISat satellite, reportedly an electronic intelligence-gathering spacecraft for the Indian government. [Dec. 13]

Jan. 7Falcon 9 Iridium Next 66-75

Launch time: 1553 GMT (10:53 a.m. EST; 7:53 a.m. PST)Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet. Delayed from October, November and Dec. 30. [Dec. 7]

Jan. 16/17Epsilon RAPIS 1

Launch window: 0050:20-0059:37 GMT on 17th (7:50:20-7:59:37 p.m. EST on 16th))Launch site: Uchinoura Space Center, Japan

Japans Epsilon rocket will launch the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agencys Rapid Innovative Payload Demonstration Satellite 1, or RAPIS 1, along with six Japanese and Vietnamese secondary payloads on a rideshare mission. [Dec. 13]

NET Jan. 17/18Falcon 9 Crew Dragon Demo 1

Launch time: Approx. 0100 GMT on 18th (8 p.m. EST on 17th)Launch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station under the auspices of NASAs commercial crew program. Delayed from December 2016, May 2017, July 2017, August 2017, November 2017, February 2018, April 2018, August 2018, November 2018 and December 2018. Delayed from Jan. 7. [Dec. 7]

Early 2019LauncherOne Inaugural Flight

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cosmic Girl (Boeing 747), Mojave Air and Space Port, California

A Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket will made its first orbital test flight after dropping from a modified Boeing 747 carrier aircraft over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. [Dec. 13]

Jan. 23Ariane 5 Hellas-Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1 & GSAT 31

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana

Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA247, to launch the HellasSat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1 and GSAT 11 communications satellite. Built by Lockheed Martin, the Hellas-Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1 satellite will provide telecommunications and broadband services in Saudi Arabia, other parts of the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. Hellas-Sat 4/SaudiGeoSat 1 is a joint mission between Hellas-Sat, a subsidiary of Arabsat based in Cyprus, and Saudi Arabias King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. The GSAT 31 satellite, built and owned by the Indian Space Research Organization, will provide communications coverage over India, replacing the aging Insat 4CR spacecraft. [Dec. 7]

Jan. 25Delta 4 WGS 10

Launch window: Approx. 2340-0035 GMT on 25th/26th (6:40-7:35 p.m. on 25th)Launch site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket will launch the 10th Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft, formerly known as the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite. Built by Boeing, this geostationary communications spacecraft will serve U.S. military forces. The rocket will fly in the Medium+ (5,4) configuration with four solid rocket boosters. Delayed from Nov. 1, Dec. 13 and Jan. 23. [Dec. 13]

Jan. 30GSLV Mk.3 Chandrayaan 2

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 3 (GSLV Mk.3) will launch the Chandrayaan 2 mission, Indias second mission to the moon. Chandrayaan 2 will consist of an orbiter, the Vikram lander and rover launched together into a high Earth orbit. The orbiter is designed to use on-board propulsion to reach the moon, then release the lander and rover. Chandrayaan 2 was originally slated to launch on a GSLV Mk.2 vehicle, but Indian officials decided to switch to a larger GSLV Mk.3 vehicle in 2018. Delayed from March, April and October 2018. Delayed from Jan. 3. [Oct. 25]

TBDVega PRISMA

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ZLV, Kourou, French Guiana

An Arianespace Vega rocket, designated VV14, will launch with the PRISMA satellite for the Italian space agency ASI. PRISMA is an Earth observation satellite fitted with an innovative electro-optical instrument, combining a hyperspectral sensor with a medium-resolution panchromatic camera. The mission will support environmental monitoring and security applications. Delayed from November and December 2018. [Oct. 25]

Feb. 7Soyuz EgyptSat-A

Launch time: 1647 GMT (11:47 a.m. EST)Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the EgyptSat-A Earth observation satellite. EgyptSat-A was built by RSC Energia for Egypts National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences. Delayed from Nov. 22 and Dec. 27. [Dec. 7]

Feb. 13Falcon 9 PSN 6 & SpaceIL Lunar Lander

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the PSN 6 communications satellite and SpaceILs Lunar Lander. Built by SSL and owned by Indonesias PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara, PSN 6 will provide voice and data communications, broadband Internet, and video distribution throughout the Indonesian archipelago. A privately-funded lunar lander developed by Israels SpaceIL will ride piggyback on this launch, along with several smaller payloads under a rideshare arrangement to geostationary transfer orbit provided by Spaceflight. Delayed from January. [Dec. 13]

NET Feb. 18Falcon 9 Radarsat Constellation Mission

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Radarsat Constellation Mission for the Canadian Space Agency and MDA. Consisting of three radar Earth observation spacecraft launching on a single rocket, the Radarsat Constellation Mission is the next in a series of Canadian Radarsat satellites supporting all-weather maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring for the Canadian government and international users. Delayed from November. [Oct. 18]

Early 2019Falcon Heavy Arabsat 6A

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the Arabsat 6A communications satellite for Arabsat of Saudi Arabia. Arabsat 6A will provide Ku-band and Ka-band communications coverage over the Middle East and North Africa regions, as well as a footprint in South Africa. Delayed from first half of 2018 and late 2018. [Oct. 14]

FebruarySoyuz OneWeb 1

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry the first 10 satellites into orbit for OneWeb, which is developing constellation of hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit for low-latency broadband communications. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. Delayed from late 2018. [Sept. 21]

Feb. 28Soyuz ISS 58S

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the crewed Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station with members of the next Expedition crew. The capsule will remain at the station for about six months, providing an escape pod for the residents. Moved forward from April 5. [Dec. 7]

Early 2019Falcon Heavy STP-2

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the U.S. Air Forces Space Test Program-2 mission with a cluster of military and scientific research satellites. The heavy-lift rocket is formed of three Falcon 9 rocket cores strapped together with 27 Merlin 1D engines firing at liftoff. Delayed from October 2016, March 2017 and September 2017. Delayed from April 30, June 13, Oct. 30 and Nov. 30. [Sept. 11]

MarchAtlas 5 CST-100 Starliner Orbital Flight Test

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-080, will launch Boeings first CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on an unpiloted Orbital Test Flight to the International Space Station. The capsule will dock with the space station, then return to Earth to landing in the Western United States after an orbital shakedown cruise ahead of a two-person Crew Test Flight. The rocket will fly in a vehicle configuration with two solid rocket boosters and a dual-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from Aug. 27, 2018, and January. [Oct. 18]

MarchSoyuz Meteor M2-2

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch with the Russian Meteor M2-1 polar-orbiting weather satellite. Delayed from Dec. 6. [Sept. 21]

MarchFalcon 9 SpaceX CRS 17

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 19th Dragon spacecraft mission on its 17th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Delayed from Nov. 16, Feb. 1 and Feb. 17. [Dec. 13]

March 28Soyuz Progress 72P

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 72nd Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Delayed from Feb. 7 and Feb. 8. [Dec. 7]

2nd QuarterFalcon 9 Amos 17

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Amos 17 communications satellite. Built by Boeing and owned by Spacecom Ltd. of Israel, Amos 17 will provide high-throughput broadband connectivity and other communications services over Africa, the Middle East and Europe. [Dec. 13]

2nd QuarterMinotaur 1 NROL-111

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Pad 0B, Wallops Island, Virginia

A U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman Minotaur 1 rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Delayed from December. [Sept. 6]

2nd QuarterLong March 5 Shijian 20

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Wenchang, China

A Chinese Long March 5 rocket will launch the Shijian 20 communications satellite. Shijian 20 is the first spacecraft based on the new DFH-5 communications satellite platform, a heavier, higher-power next-generation design, replacing the Shijian 18 satellite lost on a launch failure in 2017. Delayed from November 2018. Delayed from January. [Dec. 13]

April 4Delta 4 GPS 3-02

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket will launch the U.S. Air Forces second third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System. The satellite is built by Lockheed Martin. The Air Force previously planned to launch the third GPS 3-series satellite on this mission. The rocket will fly in the Medium+ (4,2) configuration with two solid rocket boosters. Delayed from Nov. 1 and Dec. 13. [Sept. 6]

April 17Antares NG-11

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Launch Schedule Spaceflight Now

Human spaceflight – Wikipedia

Inside a space suit on the Canadarm, 1993

Human spaceflight (also referred to as crewed spaceflight or manned spaceflight) is space travel with a crew or passengers aboard the spacecraft. Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement.

The first human spaceflight was launched by the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961 as a part of the Vostok program, with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard. Humans have been continuously present in space for 18years and 44days on the International Space Station. All early human spaceflight was crewed, where at least some of the passengers acted to carry out tasks of piloting or operating the spacecraft. After 2015, several human-capable spacecraft are being explicitly designed with the ability to operate autonomously.

From the retirement of the US Space Shuttle in 2011 to the first SpaceShipTwo spaceflight in 2018, only Russia and China have maintained human spaceflight capability with the Soyuz program and Shenzhou program. Currently, all expeditions to the International Space Station use Soyuz vehicles, which remain attached to the station to allow quick return if needed. The United States is developing commercial crew transportation to facilitate domestic access to ISS and low Earth orbit, as well as the Orion vehicle for beyond-low Earth orbit applications.

While spaceflight has typically been a government-directed activity, commercial spaceflight has gradually been taking on a greater role. The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight, and a number of non-governmental companies have been working to develop a space tourism industry. NASA has also played a role to stimulate private spaceflight through programs such as Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and Commercial Crew Development (CCDev). With its 2011 budget proposals released in 2010,[1] the Obama administration moved towards a model where commercial companies would supply NASA with transportation services of both people and cargo transport to low Earth orbit. The vehicles used for these services could then serve both NASA and potential commercial customers. Commercial resupply of ISS began two years after the retirement of the Shuttle, and commercial crew launches could begin by 2018.[2]

Human spaceflight capability was first developed during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR), which developed the first intercontinental ballistic missile rockets to deliver nuclear weapons. These rockets were large enough to be adapted to carry the first artificial satellites into low Earth orbit. After the first satellites were launched in 1957 and 1958, the US worked on Project Mercury to launch men singly into orbit, while the USSR secretly pursued the Vostok program to accomplish the same thing. The USSR launched the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, into a single orbit in Vostok 1 on a Vostok 3KA rocket, on 12 April 1961. The US launched its first astronaut, Alan Shepard, on a suborbital flight aboard Freedom 7 on a Mercury-Redstone rocket, on 5 May 1961. Unlike Gagarin, Shepard manually controlled his spacecraft’s attitude, and landed inside it. The first American in orbit was John Glenn aboard Friendship 7, launched 20 February 1962 on a Mercury-Atlas rocket. The USSR launched five more cosmonauts in Vostok capsules, including the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova aboard Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963. The US launched a total of two astronauts in suborbital flight and four into orbit through 1963.

US President John F. Kennedy raised the stakes of the Space Race by setting the goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely by the end of the 1960s.[3] The US started the three-man Apollo program in 1961 to accomplish this, launched by the Saturn family of launch vehicles, and the interim two-man Project Gemini in 1962, which flew 10 missions launched by Titan II rockets in 1965 and 1966. Gemini’s objective was to support Apollo by developing American orbital spaceflight experience and techniques to be used in the Moon mission.[4]

Meanwhile, the USSR remained silent about their intentions to send humans to the Moon, and proceeded to stretch the limits of their single-pilot Vostok capsule into a two- or three-person Voskhod capsule to compete with Gemini. They were able to launch two orbital flights in 1964 and 1965 and achieved the first spacewalk, made by Alexei Leonov on Voskhod 2 on 8 March 1965. But Voskhod did not have Gemini’s capability to maneuver in orbit, and the program was terminated. The US Gemini flights did not accomplish the first spacewalk, but overcame the early Soviet lead by performing several spacewalks and solving the problem of astronaut fatigue caused by overcoming the lack of gravity, demonstrating up to two weeks endurance in a human spaceflight, and the first space rendezvous and dockings of spacecraft.

The US succeeded in developing the Saturn V rocket necessary to send the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon, and sent Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders into 10 orbits around the Moon in Apollo 8 in December 1968. In July 1969, Apollo 11 accomplished Kennedy’s goal by landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon 21 July and returning them safely on 24 July along with Command Module pilot Michael Collins. A total of six Apollo missions landed 12 men to walk on the Moon through 1972, half of which drove electric powered vehicles on the surface. The crew of Apollo 13, Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise, survived a catastrophic in-flight spacecraft failure and returned to Earth safely without landing on the Moon.

Meanwhile, the USSR secretly pursued human lunar orbiting and landing programs. They successfully developed the three-person Soyuz spacecraft for use in the lunar programs, but failed to develop the N1 rocket necessary for a human landing, and discontinued the lunar programs in 1974.[5] On losing the Moon race, they concentrated on the development of space stations, using the Soyuz as a ferry to take cosmonauts to and from the stations. They started with a series of Salyut sortie stations from 1971 to 1986.

After the Apollo program, the US launched the Skylab sortie space station in 1973, manning it for 171 days with three crews aboard Apollo spacecraft. President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev negotiated an easing of relations known as dtente, an easing of Cold War tensions. As part of this, they negotiated the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, in which an Apollo spacecraft carrying a special docking adapter module rendezvoused and docked with Soyuz 19 in 1975. The American and Russian crews shook hands in space, but the purpose of the flight was purely diplomatic and symbolic.

Nixon appointed his Vice President Spiro Agnew to head a Space Task Group in 1969 to recommend follow-on human spaceflight programs after Apollo. The group proposed an ambitious Space Transportation System based on a reusable Space Shuttle which consisted of a winged, internally fueled orbiter stage burning liquid hydrogen, launched by a similar, but larger kerosene-fueled booster stage, each equipped with airbreathing jet engines for powered return to a runway at the Kennedy Space Center launch site. Other components of the system included a permanent modular space station, reusable space tug and nuclear interplanetary ferry, leading to a human expedition to Mars as early as 1986, or as late as 2000, depending on the level of funding allocated. However, Nixon knew the American political climate would not support Congressional funding for such an ambition, and killed proposals for all but the Shuttle, possibly to be followed by the space station. Plans for the Shuttle were scaled back to reduce development risk, cost, and time, replacing the piloted flyback booster with two reusable solid rocket boosters, and the smaller orbiter would use an expendable external propellant tank to feed its hydrogen-fueled main engines. The orbiter would have to make unpowered landings.

The two nations continued to compete rather than cooperate in space, as the US turned to developing the Space Shuttle and planning the space station, dubbed Freedom. The USSR launched three Almaz military sortie stations from 1973 to 1977, disguised as Salyuts. They followed Salyut with the development of Mir, the first modular, semi-permanent space station, the construction of which took place from 1986 to 1996. Mir orbited at an altitude of 354 kilometers (191 nautical miles), at a 51.6 inclination. It was occupied for 4,592 days, and made a controlled reentry in 2001.

The Space Shuttle started flying in 1981, but the US Congress failed to approve sufficient funds to make Freedom a reality. A fleet of four shuttles was built: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis. A fifth shuttle, Endeavour, was built to replace Challenger, which was destroyed in an accident during launch that killed 7 astronauts on 28 January 1986. Twenty-two Shuttle flights carried a European Space Agency sortie space station called Spacelab in the payload bay from 1983 to 1998.[6]

The USSR copied the reusable Space Shuttle orbiter, which it called Buran. It was designed to be launched into orbit by the expendable Energia rocket, and capable of robotic orbital flight and landing. Unlike the US Shuttle, Buran had no main rocket engines, but like the Shuttle used its orbital maneuvering engines to perform its final orbital insertion. A single unmanned orbital test flight was successfully made in November 1988. A second test flight was planned by 1993, but the program was cancelled due to lack of funding and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Two more orbiters were never completed, and the first one was destroyed in a hangar roof collapse in May 2002.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought an end to the Cold War and opened the door to true cooperation between the US and Russia. The Soviet Soyuz and Mir programs were taken over by the Russian Federal Space Agency, now known as the Roscosmos State Corporation. The Shuttle-Mir Program included American Space Shuttles visiting the Mir space station, Russian cosmonauts flying on the Shuttle, and an American astronaut flying aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for long-duration expeditions aboard Mir.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton secured Russia’s cooperation in converting the planned Space Station Freedom into the International Space Station (ISS). Construction of the station began in 1998. The station orbits at an altitude of 409 kilometers (221nmi) and an inclination of 51.65.

The Space Shuttle was retired in 2011 after 135 orbital flights, several of which helped assemble, supply, and crew the ISS. Columbia was destroyed in another accident during reentry, which killed 7 astronauts on 1 February 2003.

After Russia’s launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, Chairman Mao Zedong intended to place a Chinese satellite in orbit by 1959 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC),[7] However, China did not successfully launch its first satellite until 24 April 1970. Mao and Premier Zhou Enlai decided on 14 July 1967, that the PRC should not be left behind, and started China’s own human spaceflight program.[8] The first attempt, the Shuguang spacecraft copied from the US Gemini, was cancelled on 13 May 1972.

China later designed the Shenzhou spacecraft resembling the Russian Soyuz, and became the third nation to achieve independent human spaceflight capability by launching Yang Liwei on a 21-hour flight aboard Shenzhou 5 on 15 October 2003. China launched the Tiangong-1 space station on 29 September 2011, and two sortie missions to it: Shenzhou 9 1629 June 2012, with China’s first female astronaut Liu Yang; and Shenzhou 10, 1326 June 2013. The station was retired on 21 March 2016 and remains in a 363-kilometer (196-nautical-mile), 42.77 inclination orbit.

The European Space Agency began development in 1987 of the Hermes spaceplane, to be launched on the Ariane 5 expendable launch vehicle. The project was cancelled in 1992, when it became clear that neither cost nor performance goals could be achieved. No Hermes shuttles were ever built.

Japan began development in the 1980s of the HOPE-X experimental spaceplane, to be launched on its H-IIA expendable launch vehicle. A string of failures in 1998 led to funding reduction, and the project’s cancellation in 2003.

Under the Bush administration, the Constellation Program included plans for retiring the Shuttle program and replacing it with the capability for spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit. In the 2011 United States federal budget, the Obama administration cancelled Constellation for being over budget and behind schedule while not innovating and investing in critical new technologies.[9] For beyond low Earth orbit human spaceflight NASA is developing the Orion spacecraft to be launched by the Space Launch System. Under the Commercial Crew Development plan, NASA will rely on transportation services provided by the private sector to reach low Earth orbit, such as SpaceX’s Falcon 9/Dragon V2, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser, or Boeing’s CST-100. The period between the retirement of the shuttle in 2011 and the first launch to space of Spaceshiptwo on December 13, 2018 is similar to the gap between the end of Apollo in 1975 and the first space shuttle flight in 1981, is referred to by a presidential Blue Ribbon Committee as the U.S. human spaceflight gap.[10]

Since the early 2000s, a variety of private spaceflight ventures have been undertaken. Several of the companies, including Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Sierra Nevada have explicit plans to advance human spaceflight. As of 2016[update], all four of those companies have development programs underway to fly commercial passengers.

A commercial suborbital spacecraft aimed at the space tourism market is being developed by Virgin Galactic called SpaceshipTwo which reached space in December 2018.[11][12]Blue Origin has begun a multi-year test program of their New Shepard vehicle and carried out six successful uncrewed test flights in 20152016. Blue Origin plan to fly “test passengers” in Q2 2017, and initiate commercial flights in 2018.[13][14]

SpaceX and Boeing are both developing passenger-capable orbital space capsules as of 2015, planning to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station by 2018. SpaceX will be carrying passengers on Dragon 2 launched on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Boeing will be doing it with their CST-100 launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle.[15]Development funding for these orbital-capable technologies has been provided by a mix of government and private funds, with SpaceX providing a greater portion of total development funding for this human-carrying capability from private investment.[16][17]There have been no public announcements of commercial offerings for orbital flights from either company, although both companies are planning some flights with their own private, not NASA, astronauts on board.

Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth on April 12, 1961.

Alan Shepard became the first American to reach space on Mercury-Redstone 3 on May 5, 1961.

John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962.

Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to orbit the Earth on June 16, 1963.

Joseph A. Walker became the first human to pilot a spaceplane, the X-15 Flight 90, into space on July 19, 1963.

Alexey Leonov became the first human to leave a spacecraft in orbit on March 18, 1965.

Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders became the first humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) Dec 2127, 1968, when the Apollo 8 mission took them to 10 orbits around the Moon and back.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space on July 25, 1984.

Sally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983. Eileen Collins was the first female shuttle pilot, and with shuttle mission STS-93 in 1999 she became the first woman to command a U.S. spacecraft.

The longest single human spaceflight is that of Valeri Polyakov, who left Earth on 8 January 1994, and did not return until 22 March 1995 (a total of 437 days 17 h 58 min 16 s). Sergei Krikalyov has spent the most time of anyone in space, 803 days, 9 hours, and 39 minutes altogether. The longest period of continuous human presence in space is 18years and 44days on the International Space Station, exceeding the previous record of almost 10 years (or 3,634 days) held by Mir, spanning the launch of Soyuz TM-8 on 5 September 1989 to the landing of Soyuz TM-29 on 28 August 1999.

Yang Liwei became the first human to orbit the Earth as part of the Chinese manned space program on October 15, 2003.

For many years, only the USSR (later Russia) and the United States had their own astronauts. Citizens of other nations flew in space, beginning with the flight of Vladimir Remek, a Czech, on a Soviet spacecraft on 2 March 1978, in the Interkosmos programme. As of 2010[update], citizens from 38 nations (including space tourists) have flown in space aboard Soviet, American, Russian, and Chinese spacecraft.

Human spaceflight programs have been conducted by the former Soviet Union and current Russian Federation, the United States, the People’s Republic of China and by private spaceflight company Scaled Composites.

Currently have human spaceflight programs.

Confirmed and dated plans for human spaceflight programs.

Plans for human spaceflight on the simplest form (suborbital spaceflight, etc.).

Plans for human spaceflight on the extreme form (space stations, etc.).

Once had official plans for human spaceflight programs, but have since been abandoned.

Space vehicles are spacecraft used for transportation between the Earth’s surface and outer space, or between locations in outer space. The following space vehicles and spaceports are currently used for launching human spaceflights:

The following space stations are currently maintained in Earth orbit for human occupation:

Numerous private companies attempted human spaceflight programs in an effort to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. The first private human spaceflight took place on 21 June 2004, when SpaceShipOne conducted a suborbital flight. SpaceShipOne captured the prize on 4 October 2004, when it accomplished two consecutive flights within one week. SpaceShipTwo, launching from the carrier aircraft White Knight Two, is planned to conduct regular suborbital space tourism.[18]

Most of the time, the only humans in space are those aboard the ISS, whose crew of six spends up to six months at a time in low Earth orbit.

NASA and ESA use the term “human spaceflight” to refer to their programs of launching people into space. These endeavors have also been referred to as “manned space missions,” though because of gender specificity this is no longer official parlance according to NASA style guides.[19]

India has declared it will send humans to space on its orbital vehicle Gaganyaan by 2022. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began work on this project in 2006.[20] The objective is to carry a crew of two to low Earth orbit (LEO) and return them safely for a water-landing at a predefined landing zone. The program is proposed to be implemented in defined phases. Currently, the activities are progressing with a focus on the development of critical technologies for subsystems such as the Crew Module (CM), Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), Crew Escape System, etc. The department has initiated activities to study technical and managerial issues related to crewed missions. The program envisages the development of a fully autonomous orbital vehicle carrying 2 or 3 crew members to about 300km low Earth orbit and their safe return.

NASA is developing a plan to land humans on Mars by the 2030s. The first step in this mission begins sometime during 2020, when NASA plans to send an uncrewed craft into deep space to retrieve an asteroid.[21] The asteroid will be pushed into the moons orbit, and studied by astronauts aboard Orion, NASAs first human spacecraft in a generation.[22] Orions crew will return to Earth with samples of the asteroid and their collected data. In addition to broadening Americas space capabilities, this mission will test newly developed technology, such as solar electric propulsion, which uses solar arrays for energy and requires ten times less propellant than the conventional chemical counterpart used for powering space shuttles to orbit.[23]

Several other countries and space agencies have announced and begun human spaceflight programs by their own technology, Japan (JAXA), Iran (ISA) and Malaysia (MNSA).

A number of spacecraft have been proposed over the decades that might facilitate spaceliner passenger travel. Somewhat analogous to travel by airliner after the middle of the 20th century, these vehicles are proposed to transport a large number of passengers to destinations in space, or to destinations on Earth which travel through space. To date, none of these concepts have been built, although a few vehicles that carry fewer than 10 persons are currently in the flight testing phase of their development process.

One large spaceliner concept currently in early development is the SpaceX BFR which, in addition to replacing the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles in the legacy Earth-orbit market after 2020, has been proposed by SpaceX for long-distance commercial travel on Earth. This is to transport people on point-to-point suborbital flights between two points on Earth in under one hour, also known as “Earth-to-Earth,” and carrying 100+ passengers.[24][25][26]

Small spaceplane or small capsule suborbital spacecraft have been under development for the past decade or so and, as of 2017[update], at least one of each type are under development. Both Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are in active development, with the SpaceShipTwo spaceplane and the New Shepard capsule, respectively. Both would carry approximately a half-dozen passengers up to space for a brief time of zero gravity before returning to the same location from where the trip began. XCOR Aerospace had been developing the Lynx single-passenger spaceplane since the 2000s[27][28][29] but development was halted in 2017.[30]

There are two main sources of hazard in space flight: those due to the environment of space which make it hostile to the human body, and the potential for mechanical malfunctions of the equipment required to accomplish space flight.

Planners of human spaceflight missions face a number of safety concerns.

The immediate needs for breathable air and drinkable water are addressed by the life support system of the spacecraft.

Medical consequences such as possible blindness and bone loss have been associated with human space flight.[42][43]

On 31 December 2012, a NASA-supported study reported that spaceflight may harm the brain of astronauts and accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.[44][45][46]

In October 2015, the NASA Office of Inspector General issued a health hazards report related to space exploration, including a human mission to Mars.[47][48]

On 2 November 2017, scientists reported that significant changes in the position and structure of the brain have been found in astronauts who have taken trips in space, based on MRI studies. Astronauts who took longer space trips were associated with greater brain changes.[49][50]

Researchers in 2018 reported, after detecting the presence on the International Space Station (ISS) of five Enterobacter bugandensis bacterial strains, none pathogenic to humans, that microorganisms on ISS should be carefully monitored to continue assuring a medically healthy environment for astronauts.[51][52]

Medical data from astronauts in low Earth orbits for long periods, dating back to the 1970s, show several adverse effects of a microgravity environment: loss of bone density, decreased muscle strength and endurance, postural instability, and reductions in aerobic capacity. Over time these deconditioning effects can impair astronauts performance or increase their risk of injury.[53]

In a weightless environment, astronauts put almost no weight on the back muscles or leg muscles used for standing up, which causes them to weaken and get smaller. Astronauts can lose up to twenty per cent of their muscle mass on spaceflights lasting five to eleven days. The consequent loss of strength could be a serious problem in case of a landing emergency.[54] Upon return to Earth from long-duration flights, astronauts are considerably weakened, and are not allowed to drive a car for twenty-one days.[55]

Astronauts experiencing weightlessness will often lose their orientation, get motion sickness, and lose their sense of direction as their bodies try to get used to a weightless environment. When they get back to Earth, or any other mass with gravity, they have to readjust to the gravity and may have problems standing up, focusing their gaze, walking and turning. Importantly, those body motor disturbances after changing from different gravities only get worse the longer the exposure to little gravity.[56] These changes will affect operational activities including approach and landing, docking, remote manipulation, and emergencies that may happen while landing. This can be a major roadblock to mission success.[citation needed]

In addition, after long space flight missions, male astronauts may experience severe eyesight problems.[57][58][59][60][61] Such eyesight problems may be a major concern for future deep space flight missions, including a crewed mission to the planet Mars.[57][58][59][60][62]

Without proper shielding, the crews of missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) might be at risk from high-energy protons emitted by solar flares and associated solar particle events (SPEs). Lawrence Townsend of the University of Tennessee and others have studied the overall most powerful solar storm ever recorded. The flare was seen by the British astronomer Richard Carrington in September 1859. Radiation doses astronauts would receive from a Carrington-type storm could cause acute radiation sickness and possibly even death.[64] Another storm that could have incurred a lethal radiation dose if astronauts were outside the Earth’s protective magnetosphere occurred during the Space Age, in fact, shortly after Apollo 16 landed and before Apollo 17 launched.[65] This solar storm of August 1972 would likely at least have caused acute illness.[66]

Another type of radiation, galactic cosmic rays, presents further challenges to human spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit.[67]

There is also some scientific concern that extended spaceflight might slow down the bodys ability to protect itself against diseases.[68] Some of the problems are a weakened immune system and the activation of dormant viruses in the body. Radiation can cause both short and long term consequences to the bone marrow stem cells which create the blood and immune systems. Because the interior of a spacecraft is so small, a weakened immune system and more active viruses in the body can lead to a fast spread of infection.[citation needed]

During long missions, astronauts are isolated and confined into small spaces. Depression, cabin fever and other psychological problems may impact the crew’s safety and mission success.[69]

Astronauts may not be able to quickly return to Earth or receive medical supplies, equipment or personnel if a medical emergency occurs. The astronauts may have to rely for long periods on their limited existing resources and medical advice from the ground.

Space flight requires much higher velocities than ground or air transportation, which in turn requires the use of high energy density propellants for launch, and the dissipation of large amounts of energy, usually as heat, for safe reentry through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Since rockets carry the potential for fire or explosive destruction, space capsules generally employ some sort of launch escape system, consisting either of a tower-mounted solid fuel rocket to quickly carry the capsule away from the launch vehicle (employed on Mercury, Apollo, and Soyuz), or else ejection seats (employed on Vostok and Gemini) to carry astronauts out of the capsule and away for individual parachute landing. The escape tower is discarded at some point before the launch is complete, at a point where an abort can be performed using the spacecraft’s engines.

Such a system is not always practical for multiple crew member vehicles (particularly spaceplanes), depending on location of egress hatch(es). When the single-hatch Vostok capsule was modified to become the 2 or 3-person Voskhod, the single-cosmonaut ejection seat could not be used, and no escape tower system was added. The two Voskhod flights in 1964 and 1965 avoided launch mishaps. The Space Shuttle carried ejection seats and escape hatches for its pilot and copilot in early flights, but these could not be used for passengers who sat below the flight deck on later flights, and so were discontinued.

There have only been two in-flight launch aborts of a crewed flight. The first occurred on Soyuz 18a on 5 April 1975. The abort occurred after the launch escape system had been jettisoned, when the launch vehicle’s spent second stage failed to separate before the third stage ignited. The vehicle strayed off course, and the crew separated the spacecraft and fired its engines to pull it away from the errant rocket. Both cosmonauts landed safely. The second occurred on 11 October 2018 with the launch of Soyuz MS-10. Again, both crew members survived.

In the only use of a launch escape system on a crewed flight, the planned Soyuz T-10a launch on 26 September 1983 was aborted by a launch vehicle fire 90 seconds before liftoff. Both cosmonauts aboard landed safely.

The only crew fatality during launch occurred on 28 January 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff, due to failure of a solid rocket booster seal which caused separation of the booster and failure of the external fuel tank, resulting in explosion of the fuel. All seven crew members were killed.

The single pilot of Soyuz 1, Vladimir Komarov was killed when his capsule’s parachutes failed during an emergency landing on 24 April 1967, causing the capsule to crash.

The crew of seven aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia were killed on reentry after completing a successful mission in space on 1 February 2003. A wing leading edge reinforced carbon-carbon heat shield had been damaged by a piece of frozen external tank foam insulation which broke off and struck the wing during launch. Hot reentry gasses entered and destroyed the wing structure, leading to breakup of the orbiter vehicle.

There are two basic choices for an artificial atmosphere: either an Earth-like mixture of oxygen in an inert gas such as nitrogen or helium, or pure oxygen, which can be used at lower than standard atmospheric pressure. A nitrogen-oxygen mixture is used in the International Space Station and Soyuz spacecraft, while low-pressure pure oxygen is commonly used in space suits for extravehicular activity.

Use of a gas mixture carries risk of decompression sickness (commonly known as “the bends”) when transitioning to or from the pure oxygen space suit environment. There have also been instances of injury and fatalities caused by suffocation in the presence of too much nitrogen and not enough oxygen.

A pure oxygen atmosphere carries risk of fire. The original design of the Apollo spacecraft used pure oxygen at greater than atmospheric pressure prior to launch. An electrical fire started in the cabin of Apollo 1 during a ground test at Cape Kennedy Air Force Station Launch Complex 34 on 27 January 1967, and spread rapidly. The high pressure (increased even higher by the fire) prevented removal of the plug door hatch cover in time to rescue the crew. All three, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee, were killed.[73] This led NASA to use a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere before launch, and low pressure pure oxygen only in space.

The March 1966 Gemini 8 mission was aborted in orbit when an attitude control system thruster stuck in the on position, sending the craft into a dangerous spin which threatened the lives of Neil Armstrong and David Scott. Armstrong had to shut the control system off and use the reentry control system to stop the spin. The craft made an emergency reentry and the astronauts landed safely. The most probable cause was determined to be an electrical short due to a static electricity discharge, which caused the thruster to remain powered even when switched off. The control system was modified to put each thruster on its own isolated circuit.

The third lunar landing expedition Apollo 13 in April 1970, was aborted and the lives of the crew, James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, were threatened by failure of a cryogenic liquid oxygen tank en route to the Moon. The tank burst when electrical power was applied to internal stirring fans in the tank, causing the immediate loss of all of its contents, and also damaging the second tank, causing the loss of its remaining oxygen in a span of 130 minutes. This in turn caused loss of electrical power provided by fuel cells to the command spacecraft. The crew managed to return to Earth safely by using the lunar landing craft as a “life boat”. The tank failure was determined to be caused by two mistakes. The tank’s drain fitting had been damaged when it was dropped during factory testing. This necessitated use of its internal heaters to boil out the oxygen after a pre-launch test, which in turn damaged the fan wiring’s electrical insulation, because the thermostats on the heaters did not meet the required voltage rating due to a vendor miscommunication.

The crew of Soyuz 11 were killed on June 30, 1971 by a combination of mechanical malfunctions: they were asphyxiated due to cabin decompression following separation of their descent capsule from the service module. A cabin ventilation valve had been jolted open at an altitude of 168 kilometres (551,000ft) by the stronger than expected shock of explosive separation bolts which were designed to fire sequentially, but in fact had fired simultaneously. The loss of pressure became fatal within about 30 seconds.[74]

As of December2015[update], 22 crew members have died in accidents aboard spacecraft. Over 100 others have died in accidents during activity directly related to spaceflight or testing.

Here is the original post:

Human spaceflight – Wikipedia

Spaceflight – Wikipedia

Spaceflight (also written space flight) is ballistic flight into or through outer space. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft with or without humans on board. Examples of human spaceflight include the U.S. Apollo Moon landing and Space Shuttle programs and the Russian Soyuz program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station. Examples of unmanned spaceflight include space probes that leave Earth orbit, as well as satellites in orbit around Earth, such as communications satellites. These operate either by telerobotic control or are fully autonomous.

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 the Earth. Once in space, the motion of a spacecraft both when unpropelled and when under propulsion is 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.

The first theoretical proposal of space travel using rockets was published by Scottish astronomer and mathematician William Leitch, in an 1861 essay “A Journey Through Space”.[1] More well-known (though not widely outside Russia) is Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s work, ” ” (The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices), published in 1903.

Spaceflight became an engineering possibility with the work of Robert H. Goddard’s publication in 1919 of his paper A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. His application of the de Laval nozzle to liquid fuel rockets improved efficiency enough for interplanetary travel to become possible. He also proved in the laboratory that rockets would work in the vacuum of space;[specify] nonetheless, his work was not taken seriously by the public. His attempt to secure an Army contract for a rocket-propelled weapon in the first World War was defeated by the November 11, 1918 armistice with Germany.

Nonetheless, Goddard’s paper was highly influential on Hermann Oberth, who in turn influenced Wernher von Braun. Von Braun became the first to produce modern rockets as guided weapons, employed by Adolf Hitler. Von Braun’s V-2 was the first rocket to reach space, at an altitude of 189 kilometers (102 nautical miles) on a June 1944 test flight.[2]

Tsiolkovsky’s rocketry work was not fully appreciated in his lifetime, but he influenced Sergey Korolev, who became the Soviet Union’s chief rocket designer under Joseph Stalin, to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry nuclear weapons as a counter measure to United States bomber planes. Derivatives of Korolev’s R-7 Semyorka missiles were used to launch the world’s first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957, and later the first human to orbit the Earth, Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1, on April 12, 1961.[3]

At the end of World War II, von Braun and most of his rocket team surrendered to the United States, and were expatriated to work on American missiles at what became the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. This work on missiles such as Juno I and Atlas enabled launch of the first US satellite Explorer 1 on February 1, 1958, and the first American in orbit, John Glenn in Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962. As director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, Von Braun oversaw development of a larger class of rocket called Saturn, which allowed the US to send the first two humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, to the Moon and back on Apollo 11 in July 1969. Over the same period, the Soviet Union secretly tried but failed to develop the N1 rocket to give them the capability to land one person on the Moon.

Rockets are the only means currently capable of reaching orbit or beyond. Other non-rocket spacelaunch technologies have yet to be built, or remain short of orbital speeds.A rocket launch for a spaceflight usually starts from a spaceport (cosmodrome), which may be equipped with launch complexes and launch pads for vertical rocket launches, and runways for takeoff and landing of carrier airplanes and winged spacecraft. Spaceports are situated well away from human habitation for noise and safety reasons. ICBMs have various special launching facilities.

A launch is often restricted to certain launch windows. These windows depend upon the position of celestial bodies and orbits relative to the launch site. The biggest influence is often the rotation of the Earth itself. Once launched, orbits are normally located within relatively constant flat planes at a fixed angle to the axis of the Earth, and the Earth rotates within this orbit.

A launch pad is a fixed structure designed to dispatch airborne vehicles. It generally consists of a launch tower and flame trench. It is surrounded by equipment used to erect, fuel, and maintain launch vehicles.

The most commonly used definition of outer space is everything beyond the Krmn line, which is 100 kilometers (62mi) above the Earth’s surface. The United States sometimes defines outer space as everything beyond 50 miles (80km) in altitude.

Rockets are the only currently practical means of reaching space. Conventional airplane engines cannot reach space due to the lack of oxygen. Rocket engines expel propellant to provide forward thrust that generates enough delta-v (change in velocity) to reach orbit.

For manned launch systems launch escape systems are frequently fitted to allow astronauts to escape in the case of emergency.

Many ways to reach space other than rockets have been proposed. Ideas such as the space elevator, and momentum exchange tethers like rotovators or skyhooks require new materials much stronger than any currently known. Electromagnetic launchers such as launch loops might be feasible with current technology. Other ideas include rocket assisted aircraft/spaceplanes such as Reaction Engines Skylon (currently in early stage development), scramjet powered spaceplanes, and RBCC powered spaceplanes. Gun launch has been proposed for cargo.

Achieving a closed orbit is not essential to lunar and interplanetary voyages. Early Russian space vehicles successfully achieved very high altitudes without going into orbit. NASA considered launching Apollo missions directly into lunar trajectories but adopted the strategy of first entering a temporary parking orbit and then performing a separate burn several orbits later onto a lunar trajectory. This costs additional propellant because the parking orbit perigee must be high enough to prevent reentry while direct injection can have an arbitrarily low perigee because it will never be reached.

However, the parking orbit approach greatly simplified Apollo mission planning in several important ways. It substantially widened the allowable launch windows, increasing the chance of a successful launch despite minor technical problems during the countdown. The parking orbit was a stable “mission plateau” that gave the crew and controllers several hours to thoroughly check out the spacecraft after the stresses of launch before committing it to a long lunar flight; the crew could quickly return to Earth, if necessary, or an alternate Earth-orbital mission could be conducted. The parking orbit also enabled translunar trajectories that avoided the densest parts of the Van Allen radiation belts.

Apollo missions minimized the performance penalty of the parking orbit by keeping its altitude as low as possible. For example, Apollo 15 used an unusually low parking orbit (even for Apollo) of 92.5 nmi by 91.5 nmi (171km by 169km) where there was significant atmospheric drag. But it was partially overcome by continuous venting of hydrogen from the third stage of the Saturn V, and was in any event tolerable for the short stay.

Robotic missions do not require an abort capability or radiation minimization, and because modern launchers routinely meet “instantaneous” launch windows, space probes to the Moon and other planets generally use direct injection to maximize performance. Although some might coast briefly during the launch sequence, they do not complete one or more full parking orbits before the burn that injects them onto an Earth escape trajectory.

Note that the escape velocity from a celestial body decreases with altitude above that body. However, it is more fuel-efficient for a craft to burn its fuel as close to the ground as possible; see Oberth effect and reference.[5] This is anotherway to explain the performance penalty associated with establishing the safe perigee of a parking orbit.

Plans for future crewed interplanetary spaceflight missions often include final vehicle assembly in Earth orbit, such as NASA’s Project Orion and Russia’s Kliper/Parom tandem.

Astrodynamics is the study of spacecraft trajectories, particularly as they relate to gravitational and propulsion effects. Astrodynamics allows for a spacecraft to arrive at its destination at the correct time without excessive propellant use. An orbital maneuvering system may be needed to maintain or change orbits.

Non-rocket orbital propulsion methods include solar sails, magnetic sails, plasma-bubble magnetic systems, and using gravitational slingshot effects.

The term “transfer energy” means the total amount of energy imparted by a rocket stage to its payload. This can be the energy imparted by a first stage of a launch vehicle to an upper stage plus payload, or by an upper stage or spacecraft kick motor to a spacecraft.[6][7]

Vehicles in orbit have large amounts of kinetic energy. This energy must be discarded if the vehicle is to land safely without vaporizing in the atmosphere. Typically this process requires special methods to protect against aerodynamic heating. The theory behind reentry was developed by Harry Julian Allen. Based on this theory, reentry vehicles present blunt shapes to the atmosphere for reentry. Blunt shapes mean that less than 1% of the kinetic energy ends up as heat that reaches the vehicle and the heat energy instead ends up in the atmosphere.

The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules all splashed down in the sea. These capsules were designed to land at relatively low speeds with the help of a parachute.Russian capsules for Soyuz make use of a big parachute and braking rockets to touch down on land.The Space Shuttle glided to a touchdown like a plane.

After a successful landing the spacecraft, its occupants and cargo can be recovered. In some cases, recovery has occurred before landing: while a spacecraft is still descending on its parachute, it can be snagged by a specially designed aircraft. This mid-air retrieval technique was used to recover the film canisters from the Corona spy satellites.

Uncrewed spaceflight (or unmanned) is all spaceflight activity without a necessary human presence in space. This includes all space probes, satellites and robotic spacecraft and missions. Uncrewed spaceflight is the opposite of manned spaceflight, which is usually called human spaceflight. Subcategories of uncrewed spaceflight are “robotic spacecraft” (objects) and “robotic space missions” (activities). A robotic spacecraft is an uncrewed spacecraft with no humans on board, that is usually under telerobotic control. A robotic spacecraft designed to make scientific research measurements is often called a space probe.

Uncrewed space missions use remote-controlled spacecraft. The first uncrewed space mission was Sputnik I, launched October 4, 1957 to orbit the Earth. Space missions where animals but no humans are on-board are considered uncrewed missions.

Many space missions are more suited to telerobotic rather than crewed operation, due to lower cost and lower risk factors. In addition, some planetary destinations such as Venus or the vicinity of Jupiter are too hostile for human survival, given current technology. Outer planets such as Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are too distant to reach with current crewed spaceflight technology, so telerobotic probes are the only way to explore them. Telerobotics also allows exploration of regions that are vulnerable to contamination by Earth micro-organisms since spacecraft can be sterilized. Humans can not be sterilized in the same way as a spaceship, as they coexist with numerous micro-organisms, and these micro-organisms are also hard to contain within a spaceship or spacesuit.

Telerobotics becomes telepresence when the time delay is short enough to permit control of the spacecraft in close to real time by humans. Even the two seconds light speed delay for the Moon is too far away for telepresence exploration from Earth. The L1 and L2 positions permit 400-millisecond round trip delays, which is just close enough for telepresence operation. Telepresence has also been suggested as a way to repair satellites in Earth orbit from Earth. The Exploration Telerobotics Symposium in 2012 explored this and other topics.[8]

The first human spaceflight was Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961, on which cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin of the USSR made one orbit around the Earth. In official Soviet documents, there is no mention of the fact that Gagarin parachuted the final seven miles.[9] Currently, the only spacecraft regularly used for human spaceflight are the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft. The U.S. Space Shuttle fleet operated from April 1981 until July 2011. SpaceShipOne has conducted two human suborbital spaceflights.

On a sub-orbital spaceflight the spacecraft reaches space and then returns to the atmosphere after following a (primarily) ballistic trajectory. This is usually because of insufficient specific orbital energy, in which case a suborbital flight will last only a few minutes, but it is also possible for an object with enough energy for an orbit to have a trajectory that intersects the Earth’s atmosphere, sometimes after many hours. Pioneer 1 was NASA’s first space probe intended to reach the Moon. A partial failure caused it to instead follow a suborbital trajectory to an altitude of 113,854 kilometers (70,746mi) before reentering the Earth’s atmosphere 43 hours after launch.

The most generally recognized boundary of space is the Krmn line 100km above sea level. (NASA alternatively defines an astronaut as someone who has flown more than 50 miles (80km) above sea level.) It is not generally recognized by the public that the increase in potential energy required to pass the Krmn line is only about 3% of the orbital energy (potential plus kinetic energy) required by the lowest possible Earth orbit (a circular orbit just above the Krmn line.) In other words, it is far easier to reach space than to stay there. On May 17, 2004, Civilian Space eXploration Team launched the GoFast Rocket on a suborbital flight, the first amateur spaceflight. On June 21, 2004, SpaceShipOne was used for the first privately funded human spaceflight.

Point-to-point is a category of sub-orbital spaceflight in which a spacecraft provides rapid transport between two terrestrial locations. Consider a conventional airline route between London and Sydney, a flight that normally lasts over twenty hours. With point-to-point suborbital travel the same route could be traversed in less than one hour.[10] While no company offers this type of transportation today, SpaceX has revealed plans to do so as early as the 2020s using its BFR vehicle.[11] Suborbital spaceflight over an intercontinental distance requires a vehicle velocity that is only a little lower than the velocity required to reach low Earth orbit.[12] If rockets are used, the size of the rocket relative to the payload is similar to an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Any intercontinental spaceflight has to surmount problems of heating during atmosphere re-entry that are nearly as large as those faced by orbital spaceflight.

A minimal orbital spaceflight requires much higher velocities than a minimal sub-orbital flight, and so it is technologically much more challenging to achieve. To achieve orbital spaceflight, the tangential velocity around the Earth is as important as altitude. In order to perform a stable and lasting flight in space, the spacecraft must reach the minimal orbital speed required for a closed orbit.

Interplanetary travel is travel between planets within a single planetary system. In practice, the use of the term is confined to travel between the planets of our Solar System.

Five spacecraft are currently leaving the Solar System on escape trajectories, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, and New Horizons. The one farthest from the Sun is Voyager 1, which is more than 100 AU distant and is moving at 3.6 AU per year.[13] In comparison, Proxima Centauri, the closest star other than the Sun, is 267,000 AU distant. It will take Voyager 1 over 74,000 years to reach this distance. Vehicle designs using other techniques, such as nuclear pulse propulsion are likely to be able to reach the nearest star significantly faster. Another possibility that could allow for human interstellar spaceflight is to make use of time dilation, as this would make it possible for passengers in a fast-moving vehicle to travel further into the future while aging very little, in that their great speed slows down the rate of passage of on-board time. However, attaining such high speeds would still require the use of some new, advanced method of propulsion.

Intergalactic travel involves spaceflight between galaxies, and is considered much more technologically demanding than even interstellar travel and, by current engineering terms, is considered science fiction.

Spacecraft are vehicles capable of controlling their trajectory through space.

The first ‘true spacecraft’ is sometimes said to be Apollo Lunar Module,[14] since this was the only manned vehicle to have been designed for, and operated only in space; and is notable for its non aerodynamic shape.

Spacecraft today predominantly use rockets for propulsion, but other propulsion techniques such as ion drives are becoming more common, particularly for unmanned vehicles, and this can significantly reduce the vehicle’s mass and increase its delta-v.

Launch systems are used to carry a payload from Earth’s surface into outer space.

All launch vehicles contain a huge amount of energy that is needed for some part of it to reach orbit. There is therefore some risk that this energy can be released prematurely and suddenly, with significant effects. When a Delta II rocket exploded 13 seconds after launch on January 17, 1997, there were reports of store windows 10 miles (16km) away being broken by the blast.[16]

Space is a fairly predictable environment, but there are still risks of accidental depressurization and the potential failure of equipment, some of which may be very newly developed.

In 2004 the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety was established in the Netherlands to further international cooperation and scientific advancement in space systems safety.[17]

In a microgravity environment such as that provided by a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth, humans experience a sense of “weightlessness.” Short-term exposure to microgravity causes space adaptation syndrome, a self-limiting nausea caused by derangement of the vestibular system. Long-term exposure causes multiple health issues. The most significant is bone loss, some of which is permanent, but microgravity also leads to significant deconditioning of muscular and cardiovascular tissues.

Once above the atmosphere, radiation due to the Van Allen belts, solar radiation and cosmic radiation issues occur and increase. Further away from the Earth, solar flares can give a fatal radiation dose in minutes, and the health threat from cosmic radiation significantly increases the chances of cancer over a decade exposure or more.[18]

In human spaceflight, the life support system is a group of devices that allow a human being to survive in outer space. NASA often uses the phrase Environmental Control and Life Support System or the acronym ECLSS when describing these systems for its human spaceflight missions.[19] The life support system may supply: air, water and food. It must also maintain the correct body temperature, an acceptable pressure on the body and deal with the body’s waste products. Shielding against harmful external influences such as radiation and micro-meteorites may also be necessary. Components of the life support system are life-critical, and are designed and constructed using safety engineering techniques.

Space weather is the concept of changing environmental conditions in outer space. It is distinct from the concept of weather within a planetary atmosphere, and deals with phenomena involving ambient plasma, magnetic fields, radiation and other matter in space (generally close to Earth but also in interplanetary, and occasionally interstellar medium). “Space weather describes the conditions in space that affect Earth and its technological systems. Our space weather is a consequence of the behavior of the Sun, the nature of Earth’s magnetic field, and our location in the Solar System.”[20]

Space weather exerts a profound influence in several areas related to space exploration and development. Changing geomagnetic conditions can induce changes in atmospheric density causing the rapid degradation of spacecraft altitude in Low Earth orbit. Geomagnetic storms due to increased solar activity can potentially blind sensors aboard spacecraft, or interfere with on-board electronics. An understanding of space environmental conditions is also important in designing shielding and life support systems for manned spacecraft.

Rockets as a class are not inherently grossly polluting. However, some rockets use toxic propellants, and most vehicles use propellants that are not carbon neutral. Many solid rockets have chlorine in the form of perchlorate or other chemicals, and this can cause temporary local holes in the ozone layer. Re-entering spacecraft generate nitrates which also can temporarily impact the ozone layer. Most rockets are made of metals that can have an environmental impact during their construction.

In addition to the atmospheric effects there are effects on the near-Earth space environment. There is the possibility that orbit could become inaccessible for generations due to exponentially increasing space debris caused by spalling of satellites and vehicles (Kessler syndrome). Many launched vehicles today are therefore designed to be re-entered after use.

Current and proposed applications for spaceflight include:

Most early spaceflight development was paid for by governments. However, today major launch markets such as Communication satellites and Satellite television are purely commercial, though many of the launchers were originally funded by governments.

Private spaceflight is a rapidly developing area: space flight that is not only paid for by corporations or even private individuals, but often provided by private spaceflight companies. These companies often assert that much of the previous high cost of access to space was caused by governmental inefficiencies they can avoid. This assertion can be supported by much lower published launch costs for private space launch vehicles such as Falcon 9 developed with private financing. Lower launch costs and excellent safety will be required for the applications such as Space tourism and especially Space colonization to become successful.

Media related to Spaceflight at Wikimedia Commons

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Launch Schedule Spaceflight Now

A regularly updated listing of planned orbital missions from spaceports around the globe. Dates and times are given in Greenwich Mean Time. NET stands for no earlier than. TBD means to be determined. Recent updates appear in red type. Please send any corrections, additions or updates by e-mailto:sclark@spaceflightnow.com.

See ourLaunch Logfor a listing of completed space missions since 2004.

Dec. 3: Falcon 9/SpaceX CRS 16 delayed; Falcon 9/Crew Dragon Demo-1 delayedDec. 2: Falcon 9/Spaceflight SSO-A delayed; Adding window for Ariane 5/GSAT 11 & GEO-Kompsat 2A; Adding approximate time for Long March 3B/Change 4; Adding time for Delta 4-Heavy/NROL-71Nov. 28: Falcon 9/Spaceflight SSO-A delayed; GSLV Mk.2/GSAT 7A delayedNov. 27: Falcon 9/Spaceflight SSO-A delayed; Updating time for PSLV/HysISNov. 23: Adding date for Falcon 9/Spaceflight SSO-A; Adding approximate time for PSLV/HysISNov. 21: Delta 4-Heavy/NROL-71 delayed; Falcon 9/GPS 3-01 delayed; Adding date and time for Falcon 9/Crew Dragon Demo-1

Dec. 4Ariane 5 GSAT 11 & GEO-Kompsat 2A

Launch window: 2037-2153 GMT (3:37-4:53 p.m. EST)Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana

Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA246, to launch the GSAT 11 communications satellite and the GEO-Kompsat 2A weather satellite. GSAT 11 is owned by the Indian Space Research Organization and is based on a new Indian satellite bus. The spacecraft, fitted with Ku-band and Ka-band transponders, will be Indias heaviest communications satellite. GSAT 11 was originally scheduled to launch on an Ariane 5 mission in May 2018, but ISRO recalled the satellite from the launch base in French Guiana back to India for additional inspections after the in-orbit failure of another spacecraft. The GEO-Kompsat 2A satellite is South Koreas first homemade geostationary weather satellite. Built in South Korea, the meteorological observatory will track storm systems in the Asia-Pacific region and monitor the space weather environment. [Dec. 2]

Dec. 5Falcon 9 SpaceX CRS 16

Launch time: 1816 GMT (1:16 p.m. EST)Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 18th Dragon spacecraft mission on its 16th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Delayed from Nov. 16. Moved forward from Nov. 29. Delayed from Nov. 27 and Dec. 4. [Dec. 3]

Dec. 7Long March 3B Change 4

Launch time: Approx. 1830 GMT (1:30 p.m. EST)Launch site: Xichang, China

A Chinese Long March 3B rocket will launch the Change 4 mission to attempt the first robotic landing on the far side of the moon. Change 4 consists of a stationary lander and a mobile rover. [Dec. 2]

Dec. 7/8Delta 4-Heavy NROL-71

Launch time: 0419 GMT on 8th (11:19 p.m. EST; 8:19 p.m. PST on 7th)Launch site: SLC-6, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The largest of the Delta 4 family, the Heavy version features three Common Booster Cores mounted together to form a triple-body rocket. Delayed from Sept. 26. Moved forward from Dec. 3. Delayed from Nov. 29. [Dec. 2]

Late 2018Long March 2D SaudiSat 5A & 5B

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Jiuquan, China

A Chinese Long March 2D rocket will launch the SaudiSat 5A and 5B Earth observation satellites for Saudi Arabias King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. [Oct. 25]

Dec. 10Electron VCLS 1

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its fourth flight from a facility on the Mahia Peninsula on New Zealands North Island. The mission will be conducted under contract to NASAs Venture Class Launch Services Program, carrying 10 CubeSats to orbit for NASA field centers and U.S. educational institutions. Delayed from 3rd Quarter. [Nov. 15]

Dec. 18Falcon 9 GPS 3-01

Launch time: Approx. 1424-1450 GMT (9:24-9:50 a.m. EST)Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the U.S. Air Forces first third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System. Delayed from May 3 and late 2017. Switched from a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket. The second GPS 3-series satellite will now launch on a Delta 4. Delayed from September and October. Delayed from Dec. 15. [Nov. 21]

Dec. 18Soyuz CSO 1

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket, designated VS20, will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry into polar orbit the first Composante Spatiale Optique military reconnaissance satellite for CNES and DGA, the French defense procurement agency. The CSO 1 satellite is the first of three new-generation high-resolution optical imaging satellites for the French military, replacing the Helios 2 spy satellite series. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. [Oct. 25]

DecemberGSLV Mk.2 GSAT 7A

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 (GSLV Mk.2), designated GSLV-F11, will launch the GSAT 7A communications satellite for the Indian Air Force. Delayed from Dec. 14. [Nov. 28]

Dec. 25Proton Blagovest No. 13L

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Proton rocket and Breeze M upper stage will launch the Blagovest No. 13L communications satellite to cover Russian territory and provide high-speed Internet, television and radio broadcast, and voice and video conferencing services for Russian domestic and military users. [Oct. 25]

Dec. 25Soyuz Kanopus-V 5 & 6

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the Kanopus-V 5 and 6 Earth observation satellites. The two spacecraft will assist the Russian government in disaster response, mapping and forest fire detection. Multiple secondary payloads from international companies and institutions will also launch on the Soyuz rocket. The Soyuz 2-1a rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. Moved forward from Dec. 26. [Oct. 25]

Dec. 27Soyuz EgyptSat-A

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the EgyptSat-A Earth observation satellite. EgyptSat-A was built by RSC Energia for Egypts National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences. Delayed from Nov. 22. [Oct. 25]

Dec. 30Falcon 9 Iridium Next 66-75

Launch time: 1638 GMT (11:38 a.m. EDT; 8:38 a.m. PST)Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet. Delayed from October and November. [Oct. 18]

TBDPegasus XL ICON

Launch window: 0800-0930 GMT (3:00-4:30 a.m. EST)Launch site: L-1011, Skid Strip, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

An air-launched Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket will deploy NASAs Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite into orbit. ICON will study the ionosphere, a region of Earths upper atmosphere where terrestrial weather meets space weather. Disturbances in the ionosphere triggered by solar storms or weather activity in the lower atmosphere can cause disturbances in GPS navigation and radio transmissions. The missions staging point was changed from Kwajalein Atoll to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in mid-2018. Delayed from June 15, Nov. 14, and Dec. 8, 2017. Delayed from June 14, Sept. 24, Oct. 6, Oct. 26 and Nov. 3. Scrubbed on Nov. 7. [Nov. 7]

JanuaryLong March 5 Shijian 20

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Wenchang, China

A Chinese Long March 5 rocket will launch the Shijian 20 communications satellite. Shijian 20 is the first spacecraft based on the new DFH-5 communications satellite platform, a heavier, higher-power next-generation design, replacing the Shijian 18 satellite lost on a launch failure in 2017. Delayed from November. [Oct. 25]

Mid-JanuaryFalcon 9 Crew Dragon Demo 1

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Crew Dragon spacecraft on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station under the auspices of NASAs commercial crew program. Delayed from December 2016, May 2017, July 2017, August 2017, November 2017, February 2018, April 2018, August 2018, November 2018 and December 2018. Delayed from Jan. 7. [Dec. 3]

Early 2019Falcon Heavy Arabsat 6A

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the Arabsat 6A communications satellite for Arabsat of Saudi Arabia. Arabsat 6A will provide Ku-band and Ka-band communications coverage over the Middle East and North Africa regions, as well as a footprint in South Africa. Delayed from first half of 2018 and late 2018. [Oct. 14]

JanuaryFalcon 9 PSN 6 & SpaceIL Lunar Lander

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the PSN 6 communications satellite and SpaceILs Lunar Lander. Built by SSL and owned by Indonesias PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara, PSN 6 will provide voice and data communications, broadband Internet, and video distribution throughout the Indonesian archipelago. A privately-funded lunar lander developed by Israels SpaceIL will ride piggyback on this launch, along with several smaller payloads under a rideshare arrangement provided by Spaceflight. [Nov. 9]

Jan. 23Delta 4 WGS 10

Launch window: 2340-0035 GMT on 23rd/24th (6:40-7:35 p.m. on 23rd)Launch site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket will launch the 10th Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft, formerly known as the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite. Built by Boeing, this geostationary communications spacecraft will serve U.S. military forces. The rocket will fly in the Medium+ (5,4) configuration with four solid rocket boosters. Delayed from Nov. 1 and Dec. 13. [Nov. 7]

Jan. 30GSLV Mk.3 Chandrayaan 2

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 3 (GSLV Mk.3) will launch the Chandrayaan 2 mission, Indias second mission to the moon. Chandrayaan 2 will consist of an orbiter, the Vikram lander and rover launched together into a high Earth orbit. The orbiter is designed to use on-board propulsion to reach the moon, then release the lander and rover. Chandrayaan 2 was originally slated to launch on a GSLV Mk.2 vehicle, but Indian officials decided to switch to a larger GSLV Mk.3 vehicle in 2018. Delayed from March, April and October 2018. Delayed from Jan. 3. [Oct. 25]

TBDVega PRISMA

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ZLV, Kourou, French Guiana

An Arianespace Vega rocket, designated VV14, will launch with the PRISMA satellite for the Italian space agency ASI. PRISMA is an Earth observation satellite fitted with an innovative electro-optical instrument, combining a hyperspectral sensor with a medium-resolution panchromatic camera. The mission will support environmental monitoring and security applications. Delayed from November and December 2018. [Oct. 25]

Feb. 8Soyuz Progress 72P

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 72nd Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Delayed from Feb. 7. [Nov. 1]

Feb. 17Falcon 9 SpaceX CRS 17

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 19th Dragon spacecraft mission on its 17th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Delayed from Nov. 16 and Feb. 1. [Sept. 6]

NET Feb. 18Falcon 9 Radarsat Constellation Mission

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Radarsat Constellation Mission for the Canadian Space Agency and MDA. Consisting of three radar Earth observation spacecraft launching on a single rocket, the Radarsat Constellation Mission is the next in a series of Canadian Radarsat satellites supporting all-weather maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring for the Canadian government and international users. Delayed from November. [Oct. 18]

FebruarySoyuz OneWeb 1

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry the first 10 satellites into orbit for OneWeb, which is developing constellation of hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit for low-latency broadband communications. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. Delayed from late 2018. [Sept. 21]

Early 2019Soyuz CSG 1 & CHEOPS

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry the first COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation, or CSG 1, radar surveillance satellite for ASI, the Italian space agency. The European Space Agencys Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite, or CHEOPS, will fly as a secondary payload on the mission. Built by Airbus Defense and Space in Spain with a Swiss-developed science instrument, CHEOPS will observe transits of planets around other stars to measure their radii. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. Delayed from Dec. 14. [Oct. 25]

Early 2019Falcon Heavy STP-2

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket will launch the U.S. Air Forces Space Test Program-2 mission with a cluster of military and scientific research satellites. The heavy-lift rocket is formed of three Falcon 9 rocket cores strapped together with 27 Merlin 1D engines firing at liftoff. Delayed from October 2016, March 2017 and September 2017. Delayed from April 30, June 13, Oct. 30 and Nov. 30. [Sept. 11]

MarchAtlas 5 CST-100 Starliner Orbital Flight Test

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-080, will launch Boeings first CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on an unpiloted Orbital Test Flight to the International Space Station. The capsule will dock with the space station, then return to Earth to landing in the Western United States after an orbital shakedown cruise ahead of a two-person Crew Test Flight. The rocket will fly in a vehicle configuration with two solid rocket boosters and a dual-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from Aug. 27, 2018, and January. [Oct. 18]

MarchSoyuz Meteor M2-2

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch with the Russian Meteor M2-1 polar-orbiting weather satellite. Delayed from Dec. 6. [Sept. 21]

2nd QuarterMinotaur 1 NROL-111

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Pad 0B, Wallops Island, Virginia

A U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman Minotaur 1 rocket will launch a classified spy satellite cargo for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Delayed from December. [Sept. 6]

April 4Delta 4 GPS 3-02

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket will launch the U.S. Air Forces second third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System. The satellite is built by Lockheed Martin. The Air Force previously planned to launch the third GPS 3-series satellite on this mission. The rocket will fly in the Medium+ (4,2) configuration with two solid rocket boosters. Delayed from Nov. 1 and Dec. 13. [Sept. 6]

April 5Soyuz ISS 58S

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the crewed Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station with members of the next Expedition crew. The capsule will remain at the station for about six months, providing an escape pod for the residents. [July 27]

April 17Antares NG-11

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Launch Schedule Spaceflight Now

Spaceflight Now The leading source for online space news

Veteran Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, flanked by Canadian flight engineer David Saint-Jacques and NASA astronaut Anne McClain, launched toward the International Space Station at 6:31 a.m. EST (1131 GMT) Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the first crew launch for Russias space program since a Soyuz booster failure led to the emergency landing of a two-man crew in October. The Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft docked with the station at 12:33 p.m. EST (1733 GMT).

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Spaceflight Now The leading source for online space news

Cryptocurrency Price Forecast: Trust Is Growing, But Prices Are Falling

Trust Is Growing…
Before we get to this week’s cryptocurrency news, analysis, and our cryptocurrency price forecast, I want to share an experience from this past week. I was at home watching the NBA playoffs, trying to ignore the commercials, when a strange advertisement caught my eye.

It followed a tomato from its birth on the vine to its end on the dinner table (where it was served as a bolognese sauce), and a diamond from its dusty beginnings to when it sparkled atop an engagement ring.

The voiceover said: “This is a shipment passed 200 times, transparently tracked from port to port. This is the IBM blockchain.”

Let that sink in—IBM.

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Cryptocurrency Price Forecast: Trust Is Growing, But Prices Are Falling

Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More

Ripple vs SWIFT: The War Begins
While most criticisms of XRP do nothing to curb my bullish Ripple price forecast, there is one obstacle that nags at my conscience. Its name is SWIFT.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is the king of international payments.

It coordinates wire transfers across 11,000 banks in more than 200 countries and territories, meaning that in order for XRP prices to ascend to $10.00, Ripple needs to launch a successful coup. That is, and always has been, an unwritten part of Ripple’s story.

We’ve seen a lot of progress on that score. In the last three years, Ripple wooed more than 100 financial firms onto its.

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Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More


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