Zero Gravity Flight – Space Adventures

Aboard a specially modified Boeing 727-200, G-FORCE ONE, weightlessness is achieved by doing aerobatic maneuvers known as parabolas. Specially trained pilots perform these aerobatic maneuvers which are not simulated in any way. ZERO-G passengers experience true weightlessness.

Before starting a parabola, G-FORCE ONEflies level to the horizon at an altitude of 24,000 feet. The pilots then begins to pull up, gradually increasing the angle of the aircraft to about 45 to the horizon reaching an altitude of 34,000 feet. During this pull-up, passengers will feel the pull of 1.8 Gs. Next the plane is pushed over to create the zero gravity segment of the parabola. For the next 20-30 seconds everything in the plane is weightless. Next a gentle pull-out is started which allows the flyers to stabilize on the aircraft floor. This maneuver is repeated 12-15 times, each taking about ten miles of airspace to perform.

In addition to achieving zero gravity, G-FORCE ONEalso flies a parabola designed to offer Lunar gravity (one sixth your weight)and Martian gravity (one third your weight). This is created by flying a larger arc over the top of the parabola.

G-FORCE ONEflies in a FAA designated airspace that is approximately 100 miles long and ten miles wide. Usually three to five parabolas are flown consecutively with short periods of level flight between each set.

Continued here:

Zero Gravity Flight – Space Adventures

War on drugs – Wikipedia

War on Drugs is an American term[6][7] usually applied to the U.S. federal government’s campaign of prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade.[8][9] The initiative includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of psychoactive drugs that the participating governments and the UN have made illegal. The term was popularized by the media shortly after a press conference given on June 18, 1971, by President Richard Nixonthe day after publication of a special message from President Nixon to the Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Controlduring which he declared drug abuse “public enemy number one”. That message to the Congress included text about devoting more federal resources to the “prevention of new addicts, and the rehabilitation of those who are addicted”, but that part did not receive the same public attention as the term “war on drugs”.[10][11][12] However, two years prior to this, Nixon had formally declared a “war on drugs” that would be directed toward eradication, interdiction, and incarceration.[13] Today, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimates that the United States spends $51 billion annually on these initiatives.[14]

On May 13, 2009, Gil Kerlikowskethe Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)signaled that the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policy, but also that the administration would not use the term “War on Drugs”, because Kerlikowske considers the term to be “counter-productive”.[15] ONDCP’s view is that “drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated… making drugs more available will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe”.[16] One of the alternatives that Kerlikowske has showcased is the drug policy of Sweden, which seeks to balance public health concerns with opposition to drug legalization. The prevalence rates for cocaine use in Sweden are barely one-fifth of those in Spain, the biggest consumer of the drug.[17]

In June 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the War on Drugs, declaring: “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.”[18] The report was criticized by organizations that oppose a general legalization of drugs.[16]

The first U.S. law that restricted the distribution and use of certain drugs was the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. The first local laws came as early as 1860.[19] In 1919, the United States passed the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, with exceptions for religious and medical use. In 1920, the United States passed the National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act), enacted to carry out the provisions in law of the 18th Amendment.

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was established in the United States Department of the Treasury by an act of June 14, 1930 (46 Stat. 585).[20] In 1933, the federal prohibition for alcohol was repealed by passage of the 21st Amendment. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt publicly supported the adoption of the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. The New York Times used the headline “Roosevelt Asks Narcotic War Aid”.[21][22]

In 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed. Several scholars have claimed that the goal was to destroy the hemp industry,[23][24][25] largely as an effort of businessmen Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst, and the Du Pont family.[23][25] These scholars argue that with the invention of the decorticator, hemp became a very cheap substitute for the paper pulp that was used in the newspaper industry.[23][26] These scholars believe that Hearst felt[dubious discuss] that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon, United States Secretary of the Treasury and the wealthiest man in America, had invested heavily in the DuPont’s new synthetic fiber, nylon, and considered[dubious discuss] its success to depend on its replacement of the traditional resource, hemp.[23][27][28][29][30][31][32][33] However, there were circumstances that contradict these claims. One reason for doubts about those claims is that the new decorticators did not perform fully satisfactorily in commercial production.[34] To produce fiber from hemp was a labor-intensive process if you include harvest, transport and processing. Technological developments decreased the labor with hemp but not sufficient to eliminate this disadvantage.[35][36]

On October 27, 1970, Congress passes the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which, among other things, categorizes controlled substances based on their medicinal use and potential for addiction.[37] In 1971, two congressmen released an explosive report on the growing heroin epidemic among U.S. servicemen in Vietnam; ten to fifteen percent of the servicemen were addicted to heroin, and President Nixon declared drug abuse to be “public enemy number one”.[37][38]

Although Nixon declared “drug abuse” to be public enemy number one in 1971,[39] the policies that his administration implemented as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 were a continuation of drug prohibition policies in the U.S., which started in 1914.[37][40]

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” John Ehrlichman, to Dan Baum[41][42][43] for Harper’s Magazine[44] in 1994, about President Richard Nixon’s war on drugs, declared in 1971.[45][46]

In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration was created to replace the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.[37]

The Nixon Administration also repealed the federal 210-year mandatory minimum sentences for possession of marijuana and started federal demand reduction programs and drug-treatment programs. Robert DuPont, the “Drug czar” in the Nixon Administration, stated it would be more accurate to say that Nixon ended, rather than launched, the “war on drugs”. DuPont also argued that it was the proponents of drug legalization that popularized the term “war on drugs”.[16][unreliable source?]

In 1982, Vice President George H. W. Bush and his aides began pushing for the involvement of the CIA and U.S. military in drug interdiction efforts.[47]

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[48][49] which mandated a national anti-drug media campaign for youth, which would later become the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.[50] The director of ONDCP is commonly known as the Drug czar,[37] and it was first implemented in 1989 under President George H. W. Bush,[51] and raised to cabinet-level status by Bill Clinton in 1993.[52] These activities were subsequently funded by the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1998.[53][54] The Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 codified the campaign at 21 U.S.C.1708.[55]

The Global Commission on Drug Policy released a report on June 2, 2011, alleging that “The War On Drugs Has Failed.” The commissioned was made up of 22 self-appointed members including a number of prominent international politicians and writers. U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin also released the first ever National Prevention Strategy.[56]

On May 21, 2012, the U.S. Government published an updated version of its Drug Policy.[57] The director of ONDCP stated simultaneously that this policy is something different from the “War on Drugs”:

At the same meeting was a declaration signed by the representatives of Italy, the Russian Federation, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States in line with this: “Our approach must be a balanced one, combining effective enforcement to restrict the supply of drugs, with efforts to reduce demand and build recovery; supporting people to live a life free of addiction.”[59]

In March 2016 the International Narcotics Control Board stated that the International Drug Control treaties do not mandate a “war on drugs.”[60]

According to Human Rights Watch, the War on Drugs caused soaring arrest rates that disproportionately targeted African Americans due to various factors.[62] John Ehrlichman, an aide to Nixon, said that Nixon used the war on drugs to criminalize and disrupt black and hippie communities and their leaders.[63]

The present state of incarceration in the U.S. as a result of the war on drugs arrived in several stages. By 1971, different stops on drugs had been implemented for more than 50 years (for e.g. since 1914, 1937 etc.) with only a very small increase of inmates per 100,000 citizens. During the first 9 years after Nixon coined the expression “War on Drugs”, statistics showed only a minor increase in the total number of imprisoned.

After 1980, the situation began to change. In the 1980s, while the number of arrests for all crimes had risen by 28%, the number of arrests for drug offenses rose 126%.[64] The result of increased demand was the development of privatization and the for-profit prison industry.[65] The US Department of Justice, reporting on the effects of state initiatives, has stated that, from 1990 through 2000, “the increasing number of drug offenses accounted for 27% of the total growth among black inmates, 7% of the total growth among Hispanic inmates, and 15% of the growth among white inmates.” In addition to prison or jail, the United States provides for the deportation of many non-citizens convicted of drug offenses.[66]

In 1994, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the “War on Drugs” resulted in the incarceration of one million Americans each year.[67] In 2008, the Washington Post reported that of 1.5 million Americans arrested each year for drug offenses, half a million would be incarcerated.[68] In addition, one in five black Americans would spend time behind bars due to drug laws.[68]

Federal and state policies also impose collateral consequences on those convicted of drug offenses, such as denial of public benefits or licenses, that are not applicable to those convicted of other types of crime.[69] In particular, the passage of the 1990 SolomonLautenberg amendment led many states to impose mandatory driver’s license suspensions (of at least 6 months) for persons committing a drug offense, regardless of whether any motor vehicle was involved.[70][71] Approximately 191,000 licenses were suspended in this manner in 2016, according to a Prison Policy Initiative report.[72]

In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed laws that created a 100 to 1 sentencing disparity for the trafficking or possession of crack when compared to penalties for trafficking of powder cocaine,[73][74][75][76] which had been widely criticized as discriminatory against minorities, mostly blacks, who were more likely to use crack than powder cocaine.[77] This 100:1 ratio had been required under federal law since 1986.[78] Persons convicted in federal court of possession of 5grams of crack cocaine received a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in federal prison. On the other hand, possession of 500grams of powder cocaine carries the same sentence.[74][75] In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act cut the sentencing disparity to 18:1.[77]

According to Human Rights Watch, crime statistics show thatin the United States in 1999compared to non-minorities, African Americans were far more likely to be arrested for drug crimes, and received much stiffer penalties and sentences.[79]

Statistics from 1998 show that there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths. African-American drug users made up for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of people sent to prison for drug possession crimes.[74] Nationwide African-Americans were sent to state prisons for drug offenses 13 times more often than other races,[80] even though they only supposedly comprised 13% of regular drug users.[74]

Anti-drug legislation over time has also displayed an apparent racial bias. University of Minnesota Professor and social justice author Michael Tonry writes, “The War on Drugs foreseeably and unnecessarily blighted the lives of hundreds and thousands of young disadvantaged black Americans and undermined decades of effort to improve the life chances of members of the urban black underclass.”[81]

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided that the government needed to make an effort to curtail the social unrest that blanketed the country at the time. He decided to focus his efforts on illegal drug use, an approach which was in line with expert opinion on the subject at the time. In the 1960s, it was believed that at least half of the crime in the U.S. was drug related, and this number grew as high as 90 percent in the next decade.[82] He created the Reorganization Plan of 1968 which merged the Bureau of Narcotics and the Bureau of Drug Abuse to form the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs within the Department of Justice.[83] The belief during this time about drug use was summarized by journalist Max Lerner in his celebrated[citation needed] work America as a Civilization (1957):

As a case in point we may take the known fact of the prevalence of reefer and dope addiction in Negro areas. This is essentially explained in terms of poverty, slum living, and broken families, yet it would be easy to show the lack of drug addiction among other ethnic groups where the same conditions apply.[84]

Richard Nixon became president in 1969, and did not back away from the anti-drug precedent set by Johnson. Nixon began orchestrating drug raids nationwide to improve his “watchdog” reputation. Lois B. Defleur, a social historian who studied drug arrests during this period in Chicago, stated that, “police administrators indicated they were making the kind of arrests the public wanted”. Additionally, some of Nixon’s newly created drug enforcement agencies would resort to illegal practices to make arrests as they tried to meet public demand for arrest numbers. From 1972 to 1973, the Office of Drug Abuse and Law Enforcement performed 6,000 drug arrests in 18 months, the majority of the arrested black.[85]

The next two Presidents, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, responded with programs that were essentially a continuation of their predecessors. Shortly after Ronald Reagan became President in 1981 he delivered a speech on the topic. Reagan announced, “We’re taking down the surrender flag that has flown over so many drug efforts; we’re running up a battle flag.”[86] For his first five years in office, Reagan slowly strengthened drug enforcement by creating mandatory minimum sentencing and forfeiture of cash and real estate for drug offenses, policies far more detrimental to poor blacks than any other sector affected by the new laws.[citation needed]

Then, driven by the 1986 cocaine overdose of black basketball star Len Bias,[dubious discuss] Reagan was able to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act through Congress. This legislation appropriated an additional $1.7 billion to fund the War on Drugs. More importantly, it established 29 new, mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. In the entire history of the country up until that point, the legal system had only seen 55 minimum sentences in total.[87] A major stipulation of the new sentencing rules included different mandatory minimums for powder and crack cocaine. At the time of the bill, there was public debate as to the difference in potency and effect of powder cocaine, generally used by whites, and crack cocaine, generally used by blacks, with many believing that “crack” was substantially more powerful and addictive. Crack and powder cocaine are closely related chemicals, crack being a smokeable, freebase form of powdered cocaine hydrochloride which produces a shorter, more intense high while using less of the drug. This method is more cost effective, and therefore more prevalent on the inner-city streets, while powder cocaine remains more popular in white suburbia. The Reagan administration began shoring public opinion against “crack”, encouraging DEA official Robert Putnam to play up the harmful effects of the drug. Stories of “crack whores” and “crack babies” became commonplace; by 1986, Time had declared “crack” the issue of the year.[88] Riding the wave of public fervor, Reagan established much harsher sentencing for crack cocaine, handing down stiffer felony penalties for much smaller amounts of the drug.[89]

Reagan protg and former Vice-President George H. W. Bush was next to occupy the oval office, and the drug policy under his watch held true to his political background. Bush maintained the hard line drawn by his predecessor and former boss, increasing narcotics regulation when the First National Drug Control Strategy was issued by the Office of National Drug Control in 1989.[90]

The next three presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama continued this trend, maintaining the War on Drugs as they inherited it upon taking office.[91] During this time of passivity by the federal government, it was the states that initiated controversial legislation in the War on Drugs. Racial bias manifested itself in the states through such controversial policies as the “stop and frisk” police practices in New York city and the “three strikes” felony laws began in California in 1994.[92]

In August 2010, President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act into law that dramatically reduced the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine, which disproportionately affected minorities.[93]

Commonly used illegal drugs include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and, marijuana.

Heroin is an opiate that is highly addictive. If caught selling or possessing heroin, a perpetrator can be charged with a felony and face twofour years in prison and could be fined to a maximum of $20,000.[94]

Crystal meth is composed of methamphetamine hydrochloride. It is marketed as either a white powder or in a solid (rock) form. The possession of crystal meth can result in a punishment varying from a fine to a jail sentence. As with other drug crimes, sentencing length may increase depending on the amount of the drug found in the possession of the defendant.[95]

Cocaine possession is illegal across the U.S., with the cheaper crack cocaine incurring even greater penalties. Having possession is when the accused knowingly has it on their person, or in a backpack or purse. The possession of cocaine with no prior conviction, for the first offense, the person will be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison or fined $1,000, or both. If the person has a prior conviction, whether it is a narcotic or cocaine, they will be sentenced to two years in prison, a $2,500 fine, or both. With two or more convictions of possession prior to this present offense, they can be sentenced to 90 days in prison along with a $5,000 fine.[96]

Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug worldwide. The punishment for possession of it is less than for the possession of cocaine or heroin. In some U.S. states, the drug is legal. Over 80 million Americans have tried marijuana. The Criminal Defense Lawyer article claims that, depending on the age of person and how much the person has been caught for possession, they will be fined and could plea bargain into going to a treatment program versus going to prison. In each state the convictions differ along with how much marijuana they have on their person.[97]

Some scholars have claimed that the phrase “War on Drugs” is propaganda cloaking an extension of earlier military or paramilitary operations.[9] Others have argued that large amounts of “drug war” foreign aid money, training, and equipment actually goes to fighting leftist insurgencies and is often provided to groups who themselves are involved in large-scale narco-trafficking, such as corrupt members of the Colombian military.[8]

From 1963 to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, marijuana usage became common among U.S. soldiers in non-combat situations. Some servicemen also used heroin. Many of the servicemen ended the heroin use after returning to the United States but came home addicted. In 1971, the U.S. military conducted a study of drug use among American servicemen and women. It found that daily usage rates for drugs on a worldwide basis were as low as two percent.[98] However, in the spring of 1971, two congressmen released an alarming report alleging that 15% of the servicemen in Vietnam were addicted to heroin. Marijuana use was also common in Vietnam. Soldiers who used drugs had more disciplinary problems. The frequent drug use had become an issue for the commanders in Vietnam; in 1971 it was estimated that 30,000 servicemen were addicted to drugs, most of them to heroin.[11]

From 1971 on, therefore, returning servicemen were required to take a mandatory heroin test. Servicemen who tested positive upon returning from Vietnam were not allowed to return home until they had passed the test with a negative result. The program also offered a treatment for heroin addicts.[99]

Elliot Borin’s article “The U.S. Military Needs its Speed”published in Wired on February 10, 2003reports:

But the Defense Department, which distributed millions of amphetamine tablets to troops during World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War, soldiers on, insisting that they are not only harmless but beneficial.

In a news conference held in connection with Schmidt and Umbach’s Article 32 hearing, Dr. Pete Demitry, an Air Force physician and a pilot, claimed that the “Air Force has used (Dexedrine) safely for 60 years” with “no known speed-related mishaps.”

The need for speed, Demitry added “is a life-and-death issue for our military.”[100]

One of the first anti-drug efforts in the realm of foreign policy was President Nixon’s Operation Intercept, announced in September 1969, targeted at reducing the amount of cannabis entering the United States from Mexico. The effort began with an intense inspection crackdown that resulted in an almost shutdown of cross-border traffic.[101] Because the burden on border crossings was controversial in border states, the effort only lasted twenty days.[102]

On December 20, 1989, the United States invaded Panama as part of Operation Just Cause, which involved 25,000 American troops. Gen. Manuel Noriega, head of the government of Panama, had been giving military assistance to Contra groups in Nicaragua at the request of the U.S. which, in exchange, tolerated his drug trafficking activities, which they had known about since the 1960s.[103][104] When the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) tried to indict Noriega in 1971, the CIA prevented them from doing so.[103] The CIA, which was then directed by future president George H. W. Bush, provided Noriega with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as payment for his work in Latin America.[103] When CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA’s activities in Latin America, and the CIA’s connections with Noriega became a public relations “liability” for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of tolerating his drug operations.[103] Operation Just Cause, whose purpose was to capture Noriega and overthrow his government; Noriega found temporary asylum in the Papal Nuncio, and surrendered to U.S. soldiers on January 3, 1990.[105] He was sentenced by a court in Miami to 45 years in prison.[103]

As part of its Plan Colombia program, the United States government currently provides hundreds of millions of dollars per year of military aid, training, and equipment to Colombia,[106] to fight left-wing guerrillas such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), which has been accused of being involved in drug trafficking.[107]

Private U.S. corporations have signed contracts to carry out anti-drug activities as part of Plan Colombia. DynCorp, the largest private company involved, was among those contracted by the State Department, while others signed contracts with the Defense Department.[108]

Colombian military personnel have received extensive counterinsurgency training from U.S. military and law enforcement agencies, including the School of Americas (SOA). Author Grace Livingstone has stated that more Colombian SOA graduates have been implicated in human rights abuses than currently known SOA graduates from any other country. All of the commanders of the brigades highlighted in a 2001 Human Rights Watch report on Colombia were graduates of the SOA, including the III brigade in Valle del Cauca, where the 2001 Alto Naya Massacre occurred. US-trained officers have been accused of being directly or indirectly involved in many atrocities during the 1990s, including the Massacre of Trujillo and the 1997 Mapiripn Massacre.

In 2000, the Clinton administration initially waived all but one of the human rights conditions attached to Plan Colombia, considering such aid as crucial to national security at the time.[109]

The efforts of U.S. and Colombian governments have been criticized for focusing on fighting leftist guerrillas in southern regions without applying enough pressure on right-wing paramilitaries and continuing drug smuggling operations in the north of the country.[110][111] Human Rights Watch, congressional committees and other entities have documented the existence of connections between members of the Colombian military and the AUC, which the U.S. government has listed as a terrorist group, and that Colombian military personnel have committed human rights abuses which would make them ineligible for U.S. aid under current laws.[citation needed]

In 2010, the Washington Office on Latin America concluded that both Plan Colombia and the Colombian government’s security strategy “came at a high cost in lives and resources, only did part of the job, are yielding diminishing returns and have left important institutions weaker.”[112]

A 2014 report by the RAND Corporation, which was issued to analyze viable strategies for the Mexican drug war considering successes experienced in Columbia, noted:

Between 1999 and 2002, the United States gave Colombia $2.04 billion in aid, 81 percent of which was for military purposes, placing Colombia just below Israel and Egypt among the largest recipients of U.S. military assistance. Colombia increased its defense spending from 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 to 4.19 percent in 2005. Overall, the results were extremely positive. Greater spending on infrastructure and social programs helped the Colombian government increase its political legitimacy, while improved security forces were better able to consolidate control over large swaths of the country previously overrun by insurgents and drug cartels.

It also notes that, “Plan Colombia has been widely hailed as a success, and some analysts believe that, by 2010, Colombian security forces had finally gained the upper hand once and for all.”[113]

The Mrida Initiative is a security cooperation between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America. It was approved on June 30, 2008, and its stated aim is combating the threats of drug trafficking and transnational crime. The Mrida Initiative appropriated $1.4 billion in a three-year commitment (20082010) to the Mexican government for military and law enforcement training and equipment, as well as technical advice and training to strengthen the national justice systems. The Mrida Initiative targeted many very important government officials, but it failed to address the thousands of Central Americans who had to flee their countries due to the danger they faced everyday because of the war on drugs. There is still not any type of plan that addresses these people. No weapons are included in the plan.[114][115]

The United States regularly sponsors the spraying of large amounts of herbicides such as glyphosate over the jungles of Central and South America as part of its drug eradication programs. Environmental consequences resulting from aerial fumigation have been criticized as detrimental to some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems;[116] the same aerial fumigation practices are further credited with causing health problems in local populations.[117]

In 2012, the U.S. sent DEA agents to Honduras to assist security forces in counternarcotics operations. Honduras has been a major stop for drug traffickers, who use small planes and landing strips hidden throughout the country to transport drugs. The U.S. government made agreements with several Latin American countries to share intelligence and resources to counter the drug trade. DEA agents, working with other U.S. agencies such as the State Department, the CBP, and Joint Task Force-Bravo, assisted Honduras troops in conducting raids on traffickers’ sites of operation.[118]

The War on Drugs has been a highly contentious issue since its inception. A poll on October 2, 2008, found that three in four Americans believed that the War On Drugs was failing.[119]

At a meeting in Guatemala in 2012, three former presidents from Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia said that the war on drugs had failed and that they would propose a discussion on alternatives, including decriminalization, at the Summit of the Americas in April of that year.[120] Guatemalan President Otto Prez Molina said that the war on drugs was exacting too high a price on the lives of Central Americans and that it was time to “end the taboo on discussing decriminalization”.[121] At the summit, the government of Colombia pushed for the most far-reaching change to drugs policy since the war on narcotics was declared by Nixon four decades prior, citing the catastrophic effects it had had in Colombia.[122]

Several critics have compared the wholesale incarceration of the dissenting minority of drug users to the wholesale incarceration of other minorities in history. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, for example, writes in 1997 “Over the past thirty years, we have replaced the medical-political persecution of illegal sex users (‘perverts’ and ‘psychopaths’) with the even more ferocious medical-political persecution of illegal drug users.”[123]

Penalties for drug crimes among American youth almost always involve permanent or semi-permanent removal from opportunities for education, strip them of voting rights, and later involve creation of criminal records which make employment more difficult.[124] Thus, some authors maintain that the War on Drugs has resulted in the creation of a permanent underclass of people who have few educational or job opportunities, often as a result of being punished for drug offenses which in turn have resulted from attempts to earn a living in spite of having no education or job opportunities.[124]

According to a 2008 study published by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron, the annual savings on enforcement and incarceration costs from the legalization of drugs would amount to roughly $41.3 billion, with $25.7 billion being saved among the states and over $15.6 billion accrued for the federal government. Miron further estimated at least $46.7 billion in tax revenue based on rates comparable to those on tobacco and alcohol ($8.7 billion from marijuana, $32.6 billion from cocaine and heroin, remainder from other drugs).[125]

Low taxation in Central American countries has been credited with weakening the region’s response in dealing with drug traffickers. Many cartels, especially Los Zetas have taken advantage of the limited resources of these nations. 2010 tax revenue in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, composed just 13.53% of GDP. As a comparison, in Chile and the U.S., taxes were 18.6% and 26.9% of GDP respectively. However, direct taxes on income are very hard to enforce and in some cases tax evasion is seen as a national pastime.[126]

The status of coca and coca growers has become an intense political issue in several countries, including Colombia and particularly Bolivia, where the president, Evo Morales, a former coca growers’ union leader, has promised to legalise the traditional cultivation and use of coca.[127] Indeed, legalization efforts have yielded some successes under the Morales administration when combined with aggressive and targeted eradication efforts. The country saw a 1213% decline in coca cultivation[127] in 2011 under Morales, who has used coca growers’ federations to ensure compliance with the law rather than providing a primary role for security forces.[127]

The coca eradication policy has been criticised for its negative impact on the livelihood of coca growers in South America. In many areas of South America the coca leaf has traditionally been chewed and used in tea and for religious, medicinal and nutritional purposes by locals.[128] For this reason many insist that the illegality of traditional coca cultivation is unjust. In many areas the U.S. government and military has forced the eradication of coca without providing for any meaningful alternative crop for farmers, and has additionally destroyed many of their food or market crops, leaving them starving and destitute.[128]

The CIA, DEA, State Department, and several other U.S. government agencies have been alleged to have relations with various groups which are involved in drug trafficking.

Senator John Kerry’s 1988 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report on Contra drug links concludes that members of the U.S. State Department “who provided support for the Contras are involved in drug trafficking… and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly receive financial and material assistance from drug traffickers.”[129] The report further states that “the Contra drug links include… payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.”

In 1996, journalist Gary Webb published reports in the San Jose Mercury News, and later in his book Dark Alliance, detailing how Contras, had been involved in distributing crack cocaine into Los Angeles whilst receiving money from the CIA.[citation needed] Contras used money from drug trafficking to buy weapons.[citation needed]

Webb’s premise regarding the U.S. Government connection was initially attacked at the time by the media. It is now widely accepted that Webb’s main assertion of government “knowledge of drug operations, and collaboration with and protection of known drug traffickers” was correct.[130][not in citation given] In 1998, CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz published a two-volume report[131] that while seemingly refuting Webb’s claims of knowledge and collaboration in its conclusions did not deny them in its body.[citation needed] Hitz went on to admit CIA improprieties in the affair in testimony to a House congressional committee. There has been a reversal amongst mainstream media of its position on Webb’s work, with acknowledgement made of his contribution to exposing a scandal it had ignored.

According to Rodney Campbell, an editorial assistant to Nelson Rockefeller, during World War II, the United States Navy, concerned that strikes and labor disputes in U.S. eastern shipping ports would disrupt wartime logistics, released the mobster Lucky Luciano from prison, and collaborated with him to help the mafia take control of those ports. Labor union members were terrorized and murdered by mafia members as a means of preventing labor unrest and ensuring smooth shipping of supplies to Europe.[132]

According to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, in order to prevent Communist party members from being elected in Italy following World War II, the CIA worked closely with the Sicilian Mafia, protecting them and assisting in their worldwide heroin smuggling operations. The mafia was in conflict with leftist groups and was involved in assassinating, torturing, and beating leftist political organizers.[133]

In 1986, the US Defense Department funded a two-year study by the RAND Corporation, which found that the use of the armed forces to interdict drugs coming into the United States would have little or no effect on cocaine traffic and might, in fact, raise the profits of cocaine cartels and manufacturers. The 175-page study, “Sealing the Borders: The Effects of Increased Military Participation in Drug Interdiction”, was prepared by seven researchers, mathematicians and economists at the National Defense Research Institute, a branch of the RAND, and was released in 1988. The study noted that seven prior studies in the past nine years, including one by the Center for Naval Research and the Office of Technology Assessment, had come to similar conclusions. Interdiction efforts, using current armed forces resources, would have almost no effect on cocaine importation into the United States, the report concluded.[135]

During the early-to-mid-1990s, the Clinton administration ordered and funded a major cocaine policy study, again by RAND. The Rand Drug Policy Research Center study concluded that $3 billion should be switched from federal and local law enforcement to treatment. The report said that treatment is the cheapest way to cut drug use, stating that drug treatment is twenty-three times more effective than the supply-side “war on drugs”.[136]

The National Research Council Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs published its findings in 2001 on the efficacy of the drug war. The NRC Committee found that existing studies on efforts to address drug usage and smuggling, from U.S. military operations to eradicate coca fields in Colombia, to domestic drug treatment centers, have all been inconclusive, if the programs have been evaluated at all: “The existing drug-use monitoring systems are strikingly inadequate to support the full range of policy decisions that the nation must make…. It is unconscionable for this country to continue to carry out a public policy of this magnitude and cost without any way of knowing whether and to what extent it is having the desired effect.”[137] The study, though not ignored by the press, was ignored by top-level policymakers, leading Committee Chair Charles Manski to conclude, as one observer notes, that “the drug war has no interest in its own results”.[138]

In mid-1995, the US government tried to reduce the supply of methamphetamine precursors to disrupt the market of this drug. According to a 2009 study, this effort was successful, but its effects were largely temporary.[139]

During alcohol prohibition, the period from 1920 to 1933, alcohol use initially fell but began to increase as early as 1922. It has been extrapolated that even if prohibition had not been repealed in 1933, alcohol consumption would have quickly surpassed pre-prohibition levels.[140] One argument against the War on Drugs is that it uses similar measures as Prohibition and is no more effective.

In the six years from 2000 to 2006, the U.S. spent $4.7 billion on Plan Colombia, an effort to eradicate coca production in Colombia. The main result of this effort was to shift coca production into more remote areas and force other forms of adaptation. The overall acreage cultivated for coca in Colombia at the end of the six years was found to be the same, after the U.S. Drug Czar’s office announced a change in measuring methodology in 2005 and included new areas in its surveys.[141] Cultivation in the neighboring countries of Peru and Bolivia increased, some would describe this effect like squeezing a balloon.[142]

Richard Davenport-Hines, in his book The Pursuit of Oblivion,[143] criticized the efficacy of the War on Drugs by pointing out that

1015% of illicit heroin and 30% of illicit cocaine is intercepted. Drug traffickers have gross profit margins of up to 300%. At least 75% of illicit drug shipments would have to be intercepted before the traffickers’ profits were hurt.

Alberto Fujimori, president of Peru from 1990 to 2000, described U.S. foreign drug policy as “failed” on grounds that “for 10 years, there has been a considerable sum invested by the Peruvian government and another sum on the part of the American government, and this has not led to a reduction in the supply of coca leaf offered for sale. Rather, in the 10 years from 1980 to 1990, it grew 10-fold.”[144]

At least 500 economists, including Nobel Laureates Milton Friedman,[145] George Akerlof and Vernon L. Smith, have noted that reducing the supply of marijuana without reducing the demand causes the price, and hence the profits of marijuana sellers, to go up, according to the laws of supply and demand.[146] The increased profits encourage the producers to produce more drugs despite the risks, providing a theoretical explanation for why attacks on drug supply have failed to have any lasting effect. The aforementioned economists published an open letter to President George W. Bush stating “We urge…the country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition… At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition.”

The declaration from the World Forum Against Drugs, 2008 state that a balanced policy of drug abuse prevention, education, treatment, law enforcement, research, and supply reduction provides the most effective platform to reduce drug abuse and its associated harms and call on governments to consider demand reduction as one of their first priorities in the fight against drug abuse.[147]

Despite over $7 billion spent annually towards arresting[148] and prosecuting nearly 800,000 people across the country for marijuana offenses in 2005[citation needed] (FBI Uniform Crime Reports), the federally funded Monitoring the Future Survey reports about 85% of high school seniors find marijuana “easy to obtain”. That figure has remained virtually unchanged since 1975, never dropping below 82.7% in three decades of national surveys.[149] The Drug Enforcement Administration states that the number of users of marijuana in the U.S. declined between 2000 and 2005 even with many states passing new medical marijuana laws making access easier,[150] though usage rates remain higher than they were in the 1990s according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.[151]

ONDCP stated in April 2011 that there has been a 46 percent drop in cocaine use among young adults over the past five years, and a 65 percent drop in the rate of people testing positive for cocaine in the workplace since 2006.[152] At the same time, a 2007 study found that up to 35% of college undergraduates used stimulants not prescribed to them.[153]

A 2013 study found that prices of heroin, cocaine and cannabis had decreased from 1990 to 2007, but the purity of these drugs had increased during the same time.[154]

The War on Drugs is often called a policy failure.[155][156][157][158][159]

The legality of the War on Drugs has been challenged on four main grounds in the U.S.

Several authors believe that the United States’ federal and state governments have chosen wrong methods for combatting the distribution of illicit substances. Aggressive, heavy-handed enforcement funnels individuals through courts and prisons; instead of treating the cause of the addiction, the focus of government efforts has been on punishment. By making drugs illegal rather than regulating them, the War on Drugs creates a highly profitable black market. Jefferson Fish has edited scholarly collections of articles offering a wide variety of public health based and rights based alternative drug policies.[160][161][162]

In the year 2000, the United States drug-control budget reached 18.4 billion dollars,[163] nearly half of which was spent financing law enforcement while only one sixth was spent on treatment. In the year 2003, 53 percent of the requested drug control budget was for enforcement, 29 percent for treatment, and 18 percent for prevention.[164] The state of New York, in particular, designated 17 percent of its budget towards substance-abuse-related spending. Of that, a mere one percent was put towards prevention, treatment, and research.

In a survey taken by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it was found that substance abusers that remain in treatment longer are less likely to resume their former drug habits. Of the people that were studied, 66 percent were cocaine users. After experiencing long-term in-patient treatment, only 22 percent returned to the use of cocaine. Treatment had reduced the number of cocaine abusers by two-thirds.[163] By spending the majority of its money on law enforcement, the federal government had underestimated the true value of drug-treatment facilities and their benefit towards reducing the number of addicts in the U.S.

In 2004 the federal government issued the National Drug Control Strategy. It supported programs designed to expand treatment options, enhance treatment delivery, and improve treatment outcomes. For example, the Strategy provided SAMHSA with a $100.6 million grant to put towards their Access to Recovery (ATR) initiative. ATR is a program that provides vouchers to addicts to provide them with the means to acquire clinical treatment or recovery support. The project’s goals are to expand capacity, support client choice, and increase the array of faith-based and community based providers for clinical treatment and recovery support services.[165] The ATR program will also provide a more flexible array of services based on the individual’s treatment needs.

The 2004 Strategy additionally declared a significant 32 million dollar raise in the Drug Courts Program, which provides drug offenders with alternatives to incarceration. As a substitute for imprisonment, drug courts identify substance-abusing offenders and place them under strict court monitoring and community supervision, as well as provide them with long-term treatment services.[166] According to a report issued by the National Drug Court Institute, drug courts have a wide array of benefits, with only 16.4 percent of the nation’s drug court graduates rearrested and charged with a felony within one year of completing the program (versus the 44.1% of released prisoners who end up back in prison within 1-year). Additionally, enrolling an addict in a drug court program costs much less than incarcerating one in prison.[167] According to the Bureau of Prisons, the fee to cover the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates in 2006 was $24,440.[168] The annual cost of receiving treatment in a drug court program ranges from $900 to $3,500. Drug courts in New York State alone saved $2.54 million in incarceration costs.[167]

Describing the failure of the War on Drugs, New York Times columnist Eduardo Porter noted:

Jeffrey Miron, an economist at Harvard who studies drug policy closely, has suggested that legalizing all illicit drugs would produce net benefits to the United States of some $65 billion a year, mostly by cutting public spending on enforcement as well as through reduced crime and corruption. A study by analysts at the RAND Corporation, a California research organization, suggested that if marijuana were legalized in California and the drug spilled from there to other states, Mexican drug cartels would lose about a fifth of their annual income of some $6.5 billion from illegal exports to the United States.[169]

Many believe that the War on Drugs has been costly and ineffective largely because inadequate emphasis is placed on treatment of addiction. The United States leads the world in both recreational drug usage and incarceration rates. 70% of men arrested in metropolitan areas test positive for an illicit substance,[170] and 54% of all men incarcerated will be repeat offenders.[171]

There are also programs in the United States to combat public health risks of injecting drug users such as the Needle exchange programme. The “needle exchange programme” is intended to provide injecting drug users with new needles in exchange for used needles to prevent needle sharing.

Covert activities and foreign policy

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A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

This video from hip hop legend Jay Z and acclaimed artist Molly Crabapple depicts the drug wars devastating impact on the Black community from decades of biased law enforcement.

The video traces the drug war from President Nixon to the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws to the emerging aboveground marijuana market that is poised to make legal millions for wealthy investors doing the same thing that generations of people of color have been arrested and locked up for. After you watch the video, read on to learn more about the discriminatory history of the war on drugs.

Many currently illegal drugs, such as marijuana, opium, coca, and psychedelics have been used for thousands of years for both medical and spiritual purposes. So why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It’s not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs but it has everything to do with who is associated with these drugs.

The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws in the early 1900s were directed at black men in the South. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest in the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. Today, Latino and especially black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices.

In the 1960s, as drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent, the government halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy.

In June 1971, President Nixon declared a war on drugs. He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants.

A top Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman, later admitted: You want to know what this was really all about. The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what Im saying. We knew we couldnt make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.

In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.

Between 1973 and 1977, however, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession. In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization. In October 1977, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Within just a few years, though, the tide had shifted. Proposals to decriminalize marijuana were abandoned as parents became increasingly concerned about high rates of teen marijuana use. Marijuana was ultimately caught up in a broader cultural backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the 1970s.

The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.

Public concern about illicit drug use built throughout the 1980s, largely due to media portrayals of people addicted to the smokeable form of cocaine dubbed crack. Soon after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, his wife, Nancy Reagan, began a highly-publicized anti-drug campaign, coining the slogan “Just Say No.”

This set the stage for the zero tolerance policies implemented in the mid-to-late 1980s. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that casual drug users should be taken out and shot, founded the DARE drug education program, which was quickly adopted nationwide despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. The increasingly harsh drug policies also blocked the expansion of syringe access programs and other harm reduction policies to reduce the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.

In the late 1980s, a political hysteria about drugs led to the passage of draconian penalties in Congress and state legislatures that rapidly increased the prison population. In 1985, the proportion of Americans polled who saw drug abuse as the nation’s “number one problem” was just 2-6 percent. The figure grew through the remainder of the 1980s until, in September 1989, it reached a remarkable 64 percent one of the most intense fixations by the American public on any issue in polling history. Within less than a year, however, the figure plummeted to less than 10 percent, as the media lost interest. The draconian policies enacted during the hysteria remained, however, and continued to result in escalating levels of arrests and incarceration.

Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.

He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, Health Secretary Donna Shalalas advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office, Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that “we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment” of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use “should be decriminalized.”

At the height of the drug war hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a movement emerged seeking a new approach to drug policy. In 1987, Arnold Trebach and Kevin Zeese founded the Drug Policy Foundation describing it as the loyal opposition to the war on drugs. Prominent conservatives such as William Buckley and Milton Friedman had long advocated for ending drug prohibition, as had civil libertarians such as longtime ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser. In the late 1980s they were joined by Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Federal Judge Robert Sweet, Princeton professor Ethan Nadelmann, and other activists, scholars and policymakers.

In 1994, Nadelmann founded The Lindesmith Center as the first U.S. project of George Soros Open Society Institute. In 2000, the growing Center merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the Drug Policy Alliance.

George W. Bush arrived in the White House as the drug war was running out of steam yet he allocated more money than ever to it. His drug czar, John Walters, zealously focused on marijuana and launched a major campaign to promote student drug testing. While rates of illicit drug use remained constant, overdose fatalities rose rapidly.

The era of George W. Bush also witnessed the rapid escalation of the militarization of domestic drug law enforcement. By the end of Bush’s term, there were about 40,000 paramilitary-style SWAT raids on Americans every year mostly for nonviolent drug law offenses, often misdemeanors. While federal reform mostly stalled under Bush, state-level reforms finally began to slow the growth of the drug war.

Politicians now routinely admit to having used marijuana, and even cocaine, when they were younger. When Michael Bloomberg was questioned during his 2001 mayoral campaign about whether he had ever used marijuana, he said, “You bet I did and I enjoyed it.” Barack Obama also candidly discussed his prior cocaine and marijuana use: “When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently that was the point.”

Public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of sensible reforms that expand health-based approaches while reducing the role of criminalization in drug policy.

Marijuana reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the Americas. Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Washington State, and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults. In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans legalize marijuana for adults by 2018.

In response to a worsening overdose epidemic, dozens of U.S. states passed laws to increase access to the overdose antidote, naloxone, as well as 911 Good Samaritan laws to encourage people to seek medical help in the event of an overdose.

Yet the assault on American citizens and others continues, with 700,000 people still arrested for marijuana offenses each year and almost 500,000 people still behind bars for nothing more than a drug law violation.

President Obama, despite supporting several successful policy changes such as reducing the crack/powder sentencing disparity, ending the ban on federal funding for syringe access programs, and ending federal interference with state medical marijuana laws did not shift the majority of drug policy funding to a health-based approach.

Now, the new administration is threatening to take us backward toward a 1980s style drug war. President Trump is calling for a wall to keep drugs out of the country, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear that he does not support the sovereignty of states to legalize marijuana, and believes good people dont smoke marijuana.

Progress is inevitably slow, and even with an administration hostile to reform there is still unprecedented momentum behind drug policy reform in states and localities across the country. The Drug Policy Alliance and its allies will continue to advocate for health-based reforms such as marijuana legalization, drug decriminalization, safe consumption sites, naloxone access, bail reform, and more.

We look forward to a future where drug policies are shaped by science and compassion rather than political hysteria.

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A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

Philippines War on Drugs | Human Rights Watch

Tilted election playing field in Turkey; European Court of Justice confirms rights of same-sex couples; Philippine policepromoting abusers; Vietnam’s cyber security law; Nigerian military trying to smear Amnesty International; Paris names imprisoned Bahrainrights activist Nabeel Rajaban honorary citizen; Intimidation ofjournalists in the US; Brutal US treatment of refugees; and Russia’s World Cup amid Syria slaughter.

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War on Drugs | United States history | Britannica.com

War on Drugs, the effort in the United States since the 1970s to combat illegal drug use by greatly increasing penalties, enforcement, and incarceration for drug offenders.

The War on Drugs began in June 1971 when U.S. Pres. Richard Nixon declared drug abuse to be public enemy number one and increased federal funding for drug-control agencies and drug-treatment efforts. In 1973 the Drug Enforcement Agency was created out of the merger of the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and the Office of Narcotics Intelligence to consolidate federal efforts to control drug abuse.

The War on Drugs was a relatively small component of federal law-enforcement efforts until the presidency of Ronald Reagan, which began in 1981. Reagan greatly expanded the reach of the drug war and his focus on criminal punishment over treatment led to a massive increase in incarcerations for nonviolent drug offenses, from 50,000 in 1980 to 400,000 in 1997. In 1984 his wife, Nancy, spearheaded another facet of the War on Drugs with her Just Say No campaign, which was a privately funded effort to educate schoolchildren on the dangers of drug use. The expansion of the War on Drugs was in many ways driven by increased media coverage ofand resulting public nervousness overthe crack epidemic that arose in the early 1980s. This heightened concern over illicit drug use helped drive political support for Reagans hard-line stance on drugs. The U.S. Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which allocated $1.7 billion to the War on Drugs and established a series of mandatory minimum prison sentences for various drug offenses. A notable feature of mandatory minimums was the massive gap between the amounts of crack and of powder cocaine that resulted in the same minimum sentence: possession of five grams of crack led to an automatic five-year sentence while it took the possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine to trigger that sentence. Since approximately 80% of crack users were African American, mandatory minimums led to an unequal increase of incarceration rates for nonviolent black drug offenders, as well as claims that the War on Drugs was a racist institution.

Concerns over the effectiveness of the War on Drugs and increased awareness of the racial disparity of the punishments meted out by it led to decreased public support of the most draconian aspects of the drug war during the early 21st century. Consequently, reforms were enacted during that time, such as the legalization of recreational marijuana in a number of states and the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that reduced the discrepancy of crack-to-powder possession thresholds for minimum sentences from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1. While the War on Drugs is still technically being waged, it is done at much less intense level than it was during its peak in the 1980s.

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War on Drugs | United States history | Britannica.com

The War on Drugs (band) – Wikipedia

The War on Drugs is an American indie rock band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formed in 2005. The band consists of Adam Granduciel (lyrics, vocals, guitar), David Hartley (bass), Robbie Bennett (keyboards), Charlie Hall (drums), Jon Natchez (saxophone, keyboards) and Anthony LaMarca (guitar).

Founded by close collaborators Granduciel and Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs released their debut studio album, Wagonwheel Blues, in 2008. Vile departed shortly after its release to focus on his solo career. The band’s second studio album Slave Ambient was released in 2011 to favorable reviews and extensive touring.

The band’s third album, Lost in the Dream, was released in 2014 following extensive touring and a period of loneliness and depression for primary songwriter Granduciel. The album was released to widespread critical acclaim and increased exposure. Previous collaborator Hall joined the band as its full-time drummer during the recording process, with saxophonist Natchez and additional guitarist LaMarca accompanying the band for its world tour. Signing to Atlantic Records, the six-piece band released their fourth album, A Deeper Understanding, in 2017, which won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.

In 2003, frontman Adam Granduciel moved from Oakland, California to Philadelphia, where he met Kurt Vile, who had also recently moved back to Philadelphia after living in Boston for two years.[2] The duo subsequently began writing, recording and performing music together.[3] Vile stated, “Adam was the first dude I met when I moved back to Philadelphia in 2003. We saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things. I was obsessed with Bob Dylan at the time, and we totally geeked-out on that. We started playing together in the early days and he would be in my band, The Violators. Then, eventually I played in The War On Drugs.”[4]

Granduciel and Vile began playing together as The War on Drugs in 2005. Regarding the band’s name, Granduciel noted, “My friend Julian and I came up with it a few years ago over a couple bottles of red wine and a few typewriters when we were living in Oakland. We were writing a lot back then, working on a dictionary, and it just came out and we were like “hey, good band name” so eventually when I moved to Philadelphia and got a band together I used it. It was either that or The Rigatoni Danzas. I think we made the right choice. I always felt though that it was the kind of name I could record all sorts of different music under without any sort of predictability inherent in the name”[5]

While Vile and Granduciel formed the backbone of the band, they had a number of accompanists early in the group’s career, before finally settling on a lineup that added Charlie Hall as drummer/organist, Kyle Lloyd as drummer and Dave Hartley on bass.[6] Granduciel had previously toured and recorded with The Capitol Years, and Vile has several solo albums.[7] The group gave away its Barrel of Batteries EP for free early in 2008.[8] Their debut LP for Secretly Canadian, Wagonwheel Blues, was released in 2008.[9]

Following the album’s release, and subsequent European tour, Vile departed from the band to focus on his solo career, stating, “I only went on the first European tour when their album came out, and then I basically left the band. I knew if I stuck with that, it would be all my time and my goal was to have my own musical career.”[4] Fellow Kurt Vile & the Violators bandmate Mike Zanghi joined the band at this time, with Vile noting, “Mike was my drummer first and then when The War On Drugs’ first record came out I thought I was lending Mike to Adam for the European tour but then he just played with them all the time so I kind of had to like, while they were touring a lot, figure out my own thing.”[10]

The lineup underwent several changes, and by the end of 2008, Kurt Vile, Charlie Hall, and Kyle Lloyd had all exited the group. At that time Granduciel and Hartley were joined by drummer Mike Zanghi, whom Granduciel also played with in Kurt Vile’s backing band, the Violators.

After recording much of the band’s forthcoming studio album, Slave Ambient, Zanghi departed from the band in 2010. Drummer Steven Urgo subsequently joined the band, with keyboardist Robbie Bennett also joining at around this time. Regarding Zanghi’s exit, Granduciel noted: “I loved Mike, and I loved the sound of The Violators, but then he wasn’t really the sound of my band. But you have things like friendship, and he’s down to tour and he’s a great guy, but it wasn’t the sound of what this band was.”[11]

Slave Ambient was released to favorable reviews in 2011.[citation needed]

In 2012, Patrick Berkery replaced Urgo as the band’s drummer.[12]

On December 4, 2013 the band announced the upcoming release of its third studio album, Lost in the Dream (March 18, 2014). The band streamed the album in its entirety on NPR’s First Listen site for a week before its release.[13]

Lost in the Dream was featured as the Vinyl Me, Please record of the month in August 2014. The pressing was a limited edition pressing on mint green colored vinyl.

In June 2015, The War on Drugs signed with Atlantic Records for a two-album deal.[14]

On Record Store Day, April 22, 2017, The War on Drugs released their new single “Thinking of a Place.”[15] The single was produced by frontman Granduciel and Shawn Everett.[16] April 28, 2017, The War on Drugs announced a fall 2017 tour in North America and Europe and that a new album was imminent.[17] On June 1, 2017, a new song, “Holding On”, was released, and it was announced that the album would be titled A Deeper Understanding and was released on August 25, 2017.[18]

The 2017 tour begins in September, opening in the band’s hometown, Philadelphia, and it concludes in November in Sweden.[19]

A Deeper Understanding was nominated for the International Album of the Year award at the 2018 UK Americana Awards[20].

At the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, on January 28th, 2018, A Deeper Understanding won the Grammy for Best Rock Album [21]

Granduciel and Zanghi are both former members of founding guitarist Vile’s backing band The Violators, with Granduciel noting, “There was never, despite what lazy journalists have assumed, any sort of falling out, or resentment”[22] following Vile’s departure from The War on Drugs. In 2011, Vile stated, “When my record came out, I assumed Adam would want to focus on The War On Drugs but he came with us in The Violators when we toured the States. The Violators became a unit, and although the cast does rotate, we’ve developed an even tighter unity and sound. Adam is an incredible guitar player these days and there is a certain feeling [between us] that nobody else can tap into. We don’t really have to tell each other what to play, it just happens.”

Both Hartley and Granduciel contributed to singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten’s fourth studio album, Are We There (2014). Hartley performs bass guitar on the entire album, with Granduciel contributing guitar on two tracks.

Granduciel is currently[when?] producing the new Sore Eros album. They have been recording it in Philadelphia and Los Angeles on and off for the past several years.[4]

In 2016, The War on Drugs contributed a cover of “Touch of Grey” for a Grateful Dead tribute album called Day of the Dead. The album was curated by The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner.[19]

Current members

Former members

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Space exploration – Wikipedia

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

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

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

With the substantial completion of the ISS[2] following STS-133 in March 2011, plans for space exploration by the U.S. remain in flux. Constellation, a Bush Administration program for a return to the Moon by 2020[3] was judged inadequately funded and unrealistic by an expert review panel reporting in 2009.[4] The Obama Administration proposed a revision of Constellation in 2010 to focus on the development of the capability for crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), envisioning extending the operation of the ISS beyond 2020, transferring the development of launch vehicles for human crews from NASA to the private sector, and developing technology to enable missions to beyond LEO, such as EarthMoon L1, the Moon, EarthSun L2, near-Earth asteroids, and Phobos or Mars orbit.[5]

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

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

The highest known projectiles prior to the rockets of the 1940s were the shells of the Paris Gun, a type of German long-range siege gun, which reached at least 40 kilometers altitude during World War One.[6] Steps towards putting a human-made object into space were taken by German scientists during World War II while testing the V-2 rocket, which became the first human-made object in space on 3 October 1942 with the launching of the A-4. After the war, the U.S. used German scientists and their captured rockets in programs for both military and civilian research. The first scientific exploration from space was the cosmic radiation experiment launched by the U.S. on a V-2 rocket on 10 May 1946.[7] The first images of Earth taken from space followed the same year[8][9] while the first animal experiment saw fruit flies lifted into space in 1947, both also on modified V-2s launched by Americans. Starting in 1947, the Soviets, also with the help of German teams, launched sub-orbital V-2 rockets and their own variant, the R-1, including radiation and animal experiments on some flights. These suborbital experiments only allowed a very short time in space which limited their usefulness.

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

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

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

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

The U.S. first launched a person into space within a month of Vostok 1 with Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight on Freedom 7. Orbital flight was achieved by the United States when John Glenn’s Friendship 7 orbited Earth on 20 February 1962.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The dream of stepping into the outer reaches of Earth’s atmosphere was driven by the fiction of Peter Francis Geraci[13][14][15] and H. G. Wells,[16] and rocket technology was developed to try to realize this vision. The German V-2 was the first rocket to travel into space, overcoming the problems of thrust and material failure. During the final days of World War II this technology was obtained by both the Americans and Soviets as were its designers. The initial driving force for further development of the technology was a weapons race for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to be used as long-range carriers for fast nuclear weapon delivery, but in 1961 when the Soviet Union launched the first man into space, the United States declared itself to be in a “Space Race” with the Soviets.

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

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

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

Kerim Kerimov was one of the founders of the Soviet space program and was one of the lead architects behind the first human spaceflight (Vostok 1) alongside Sergey Korolyov. After Korolyov’s death in 1966, Kerimov became the lead scientist of the Soviet space program and was responsible for the launch of the first space stations from 1971 to 1991, including the Salyut and Mir series, and their precursors in 1967, the Cosmos 186 and Cosmos 188.[17][18]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The exploration of Mars has come at a considerable financial cost with roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars failing before completing their missions, with some failing before they even began. Such a high failure rate can be attributed to the complexity and large number of variables involved in an interplanetary journey, and has led researchers to jokingly speak of The Great Galactic Ghoul[20] which subsists on a diet of Mars probes. This phenomenon is also informally known as the “Mars Curse”.[21] In contrast to overall high failure rates in the exploration of Mars, India has become the first country to achieve success of its maiden attempt. India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)[22][23][24] is one of the least expensive interplanetary missions ever undertaken with an approximate total cost of 450 Crore (US$73 million).[25][26] The first mission to Mars by any Arab country has been taken up by the United Arab Emirates. Called the Emirates Mars Mission, it is scheduled for launch in 2020. The uncrewed exploratory probe has been named “Hope Probe” and will be sent to Mars to study its atmosphere in detail.[27]

The Russian space mission Fobos-Grunt, which launched on 9 November 2011 experienced a failure leaving it stranded in low Earth orbit.[28] It was to begin exploration of the Phobos and Martian circumterrestrial orbit, and study whether the moons of Mars, or at least Phobos, could be a “trans-shipment point” for spaceships traveling to Mars.[29]

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

Reaching Jupiter from Earth requires a delta-v of 9.2km/s,[30] which is comparable to the 9.7km/s delta-v needed to reach low Earth orbit.[31] Fortunately, gravity assists through planetary flybys can be used to reduce the energy required at launch to reach Jupiter, albeit at the cost of a significantly longer flight duration.[30]

Jupiter has 69 known moons, many of which have relatively little known information about them.

Saturn has been explored only through uncrewed spacecraft launched by NASA, including one mission (CassiniHuygens) planned and executed in cooperation with other space agencies. These missions consist of flybys in 1979 by Pioneer 11, in 1980 by Voyager 1, in 1982 by Voyager 2 and an orbital mission by the Cassini spacecraft, which lasted from 2004 until 2017.

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

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

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

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

Although the extremely uniform appearance of Uranus during Voyager 2’s visit in 1986 had led to expectations that Neptune would also have few visible atmospheric phenomena, the spacecraft found that Neptune had obvious banding, visible clouds, auroras, and even a conspicuous anticyclone storm system rivaled in size only by Jupiter’s small Spot. Neptune also proved to have the fastest winds of any planet in the Solar System, measured as high as 2,100km/h.[32] Voyager 2 also examined Neptune’s ring and moon system. It discovered 900 complete rings and additional partial ring “arcs” around Neptune. In addition to examining Neptune’s three previously known moons, Voyager 2 also discovered five previously unknown moons, one of which, Proteus, proved to be the last largest moon in the system. Data from Voyager 2 supported the view that Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, is a captured Kuiper belt object.[33]

The dwarf planet Pluto presents significant challenges for spacecraft because of its great distance from Earth (requiring high velocity for reasonable trip times) and small mass (making capture into orbit very difficult at present). Voyager 1 could have visited Pluto, but controllers opted instead for a close flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan, resulting in a trajectory incompatible with a Pluto flyby. Voyager 2 never had a plausible trajectory for reaching Pluto.[34]

Pluto continues to be of great interest, despite its reclassification as the lead and nearest member of a new and growing class of distant icy bodies of intermediate size (and also the first member of the important subclass, defined by orbit and known as “plutinos”). After an intense political battle, a mission to Pluto dubbed New Horizons was granted funding from the United States government in 2003.[35] New Horizons was launched successfully on 19 January 2006. In early 2007 the craft made use of a gravity assist from Jupiter. Its closest approach to Pluto was on 14 July 2015; scientific observations of Pluto began five months prior to closest approach and continued for 16 days after the encounter.

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

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

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

Deep space exploration is the branch of astronomy, astronautics and space technology that is involved with the exploration of distant regions of outer space.[36] Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights (deep-space astronautics) and by robotic spacecraft.

Some of the best candidates for future deep space engine technologies include anti-matter, nuclear power and beamed propulsion.[37] The latter, beamed propulsion, appears to be the best candidate for deep space exploration presently available, since it uses known physics and known technology that is being developed for other purposes.[38]

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

The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 provided a re-prioritized list of objectives for the American space program, as well as funding for the first priorities. NASA proposes to move forward with the development of the Space Launch System (SLS), which will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment, and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. The SLS rocket will incorporate technological investments from the Space Shuttle program and the Constellation program in order to take advantage of proven hardware and reduce development and operations costs. The first developmental flight is targeted for the end of 2017.[39]

The idea of using high level automated systems for space missions has become a desirable goal to space agencies all around the world. Such systems are believed to yield benefits such as lower cost, less human oversight, and ability to explore deeper in space which is usually restricted by long communications with human controllers.[40]

Autonomy is defined by three requirements:[40]

Autonomous technologies would be able to perform beyond predetermined actions. They would analyze all possible states and events happening around them and come up with a safe response. In addition, such technologies can reduce launch cost and ground involvement. Performance would increase as well. Autonomy would be able to quickly respond upon encountering an unforeseen event, especially in deep space exploration where communication back to Earth would take too long.[40]

NASA began its autonomous science experiment (ASE) on Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) which is NASA’s first satellite in the new millennium program Earth-observing series launched on 21 November 2000. The autonomy of ASE is capable of on-board science analysis, replanning, robust execution, and later the addition of model-based diagnostic. Images obtained by the EO-1 are analyzed on-board and downlinked when a change or an interesting event occur. The ASE software has successfully provided over 10,000 science images.[40]

An article in science magazine Nature suggested the use of asteroids as a gateway for space exploration, with the ultimate destination being Mars.[41] In order to make such an approach viable, three requirements need to be fulfilled: first, “a thorough asteroid survey to find thousands of nearby bodies suitable for astronauts to visit”; second, “extending flight duration and distance capability to ever-increasing ranges out to Mars”; and finally, “developing better robotic vehicles and tools to enable astronauts to explore an asteroid regardless of its size, shape or spin.”[41] Furthermore, using asteroids would provide astronauts with protection from galactic cosmic rays, with mission crews being able to land on them in times of greater risk to radiation exposure.[42]

The research that is conducted by national space exploration agencies, such as NASA and Roscosmos, is one of the reasons supporters cite to justify government expenses. Economic analyses of the NASA programs often showed ongoing economic benefits (such as NASA spin-offs), generating many times the revenue of the cost of the program.[43] It is also argued that space exploration would lead to the extraction of resources on other planets and especially asteroids, which contain billions of dollars worth of minerals and metals. Such expeditions could generate a lot of revenue.[44] As well, it has been argued that space exploration programs help inspire youth to study in science and engineering.[45]

Another claim is that space exploration is a necessity to mankind and that staying on Earth will lead to extinction. Some of the reasons are lack of natural resources, comets, nuclear war, and worldwide epidemic. Stephen Hawking, renowned British theoretical physicist, said that “I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”[46]

NASA has produced a series of public service announcement videos supporting the concept of space exploration.[47]

Overall, the public remains largely supportive of both crewed and uncrewed space exploration. According to an Associated Press Poll conducted in July 2003, 71% of U.S. citizens agreed with the statement that the space program is “a good investment”, compared to 21% who did not.[48]

Arthur C. Clarke (1950) presented a summary of motivations for the human exploration of space in his non-fiction semi-technical monograph Interplanetary Flight.[49] He argued that humanity’s choice is essentially between expansion off Earth into space, versus cultural (and eventually biological) stagnation and death.

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

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

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

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

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

Private spaceflight companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, and commercial space stations such as the Axiom Space and the Bigelow Commercial Space Station have dramatically changed the landscape of space exploration, and will continue to do so in the near future.

Astrobiology is the interdisciplinary study of life in the universe, combining aspects of astronomy, biology and geology.[50] It is focused primarily on the study of the origin, distribution and evolution of life. It is also known as exobiology (from Greek: , exo, “outside”).[51][52][53] The term “Xenobiology” has been used as well, but this is technically incorrect because its terminology means “biology of the foreigners”.[54] Astrobiologists must also consider the possibility of life that is chemically entirely distinct from any life found on Earth.[55] In the Solar System some of the prime locations for current or past astrobiology are on Enceladus, Europa, Mars, and Titan.

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

To date, the longest human occupation of space is the International Space Station which has been in continuous use for 17years, 218days. Valeri Polyakov’s record single spaceflight of almost 438 days aboard the Mir space station has not been surpassed. Long-term stays in space reveal issues with bone and muscle loss in low gravity, immune system suppression, and radiation exposure.

Many past and current concepts for the continued exploration and colonization of space focus on a return to the Moon as a “stepping stone” to the other planets, especially Mars. At the end of 2006 NASA announced they were planning to build a permanent Moon base with continual presence by 2024.[57]

Beyond the technical factors that could make living in space more widespread, it has been suggested that the lack of private property, the inability or difficulty in establishing property rights in space, has been an impediment to the development of space for human habitation. Since the advent of space technology in the latter half of the twentieth century, the ownership of property in space has been murky, with strong arguments both for and against. In particular, the making of national territorial claims in outer space and on celestial bodies has been specifically proscribed by the Outer Space Treaty, which had been, as of 2012[update], ratified by all spacefaring nations.[58]

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Space exploration – Wikipedia

Zero Gravity Flight – Space Adventures

Aboard a specially modified Boeing 727-200, G-FORCE ONE, weightlessness is achieved by doing aerobatic maneuvers known as parabolas. Specially trained pilots perform these aerobatic maneuvers which are not simulated in any way. ZERO-G passengers experience true weightlessness.

Before starting a parabola, G-FORCE ONEflies level to the horizon at an altitude of 24,000 feet. The pilots then begins to pull up, gradually increasing the angle of the aircraft to about 45 to the horizon reaching an altitude of 34,000 feet. During this pull-up, passengers will feel the pull of 1.8 Gs. Next the plane is pushed over to create the zero gravity segment of the parabola. For the next 20-30 seconds everything in the plane is weightless. Next a gentle pull-out is started which allows the flyers to stabilize on the aircraft floor. This maneuver is repeated 12-15 times, each taking about ten miles of airspace to perform.

In addition to achieving zero gravity, G-FORCE ONEalso flies a parabola designed to offer Lunar gravity (one sixth your weight)and Martian gravity (one third your weight). This is created by flying a larger arc over the top of the parabola.

G-FORCE ONEflies in a FAA designated airspace that is approximately 100 miles long and ten miles wide. Usually three to five parabolas are flown consecutively with short periods of level flight between each set.

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Zero Gravity Flight – Space Adventures

Spaceflight Now The leading source for online space news

Speeding through the outer reaches of the solar system nearly 3.8 billion miles from Earth, NASAs New Horizons spacecraft has awakened from a five-and-a-half month slumber, ready for a second act after its 2015 flyby of Pluto with a New Years Day encounter with a primordial world set to become the most distant object ever explored.

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Spaceflight Now The leading source for online space news

Space flight simulation game – Wikipedia

A space flight simulation game is a genre of flight simulator video games that lets players experience space flight to varying degrees of realism. Many games feature space combat, and some games feature commerce and trading in addition to combat.

Some games in the genre aim to recreate a realistic portrayal of space flight, involving the calculation of orbits within a more complete physics simulation than pseudo space flight simulators. Others focus on gameplay rather than simulating space flight in all its facets. The realism of the latter games is limited to what the game designer deems to be appropriate for the gameplay, instead of focusing on the realism of moving the spacecraft in space. Some “flight models” use a physics system based on Newtonian physics, but these are usually limited to maneuvering the craft in its direct environment, and do not take into consideration the orbital calculations that would make such a game a simulator. Many of the pseudo simulators feature faster than light travel.

Examples of true simulators which aim at piloting a space craft in a manner that conforms with the laws of nature include Orbiter, Kerbal Space Program and Microsoft Space Simulator. Examples of more fantastical video games that bend the rules of physics in favor of streamlining and entertainment, include Wing Commander, Star Wars: X-Wing and Freelancer.

The modern space flight game genre emerged at the point when home computers became sufficiently powerful to draw basic wireframe graphics in real-time.[1] The game Elite is widely considered to be the breakthrough game of the genre,[1][2][3] and as having successfully melded the “space trading” and flight sim genres.[4] Elite was highly influential upon later games of its type, although it did have some precursors. Games similar to Elite are sometimes called “Elite-clones”.[5][6][7][8]

Space flight games and simulators, at one time popular, had for much of the new millennium been considered a “dead” genre.[9][10][11][12][13] However, open-source and enthusiast communities managed to produce some working, modern titles (e.g. Orbiter Spaceflight Simulator); and 2011’s commercially released Kerbal Space Program was notably well-received, even by the aerospace community.[14] Some more recent games, most notably Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, and No Mans Sky, have brought new attention to the space trading and combat game subgenre.

Realistic space simulators seek to represent a vessel’s behaviour under the influence of the laws of physics. As such, the player normally concentrates on following checklists or planning tasks. Piloting is generally limited to dockings, landings or orbital maneuvers. The reward for the player is on mastering real or realistic spacecraft, celestial mechanics and astronautics.

Classical games with this approach include Space Shuttle: A Journey into Space (1982), Rendezvous: A Space Shuttle Simulation (1982),[4] The Halley Project (1985), Shuttle (1992) and Microsoft Space Simulator (1994).

If the definition is expanded to include decision making and planning, then Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space (1992) is also notable for historical accuracy and detail. On this game the player takes the role of Administrator of NASA or Head of the Soviet Space Program with the ultimate goal of being the first side to conduct a successful manned moon landing.

Most recently Orbiter and Space Shuttle Mission 2007 provide more elaborate simulations, with realistic 3D virtual cockpits and external views.

Kerbal Space Program[15] can be considered a space simulator, even though it portrays an imaginary universe with tweaked physics, masses and distances to enhance gameplay. Nevertheless, the physics and rocket design principles are much more realistic than in the space combat or trading subgenres.

The game Lunar Flight (2012) simulates flying around the lunar surface in a craft resembling the Apollo Lunar Module.

Most games in the space combat[16] genre feature futuristic scenarios involving space flight and extra planetary combat. Such games generally place the player into the controls of a small starfighter or smaller starship in a military force of similar and larger spaceships and do not take into account the physics of space flight, usually often citing some technological advancement to explain the lack thereof. The prominent Wing Commander, X-Wing and Freespace series all use this approach. Exceptions include the first Independence War and the Star Trek: Bridge Commander series, which model craft at a larger scale and/or in a more strategic fashion. It should be noted that I-War also features Newtonian style physics for the behaviour of the spacecraft, but not orbital mechanics.

Space combat games tend to be mission-based, as opposed to the more open-ended nature of space trading and combat games.

The general formula for the space trading and combat game,[17][18][19][20] which has changed little since its genesis, is for the player to begin in a relatively small, outdated ship with little money or status and for the player to work his or her way up, gaining in status and power through trading, exploration, combat or a mix of different methods.[21][22][1] The ship the player controls is generally larger than that in pure space combat simulator. Notable examples of the genre include Elite, Wing Commander: Privateer, and Freelancer.

In some instances, plot plays only a limited role and only a loose narrative framework tends to be provided. In certain titles of the X series, for instance, players may ignore the plot for as long as they wish and are even given the option to disable the plot completely and instead play in sandbox mode.[21] Many games of this genre place a strong emphasis on factional conflict, leading to many small mission-driven subplots that unravel the tensions of the galaxy.

Games of this type often allow the player to choose among multiple roles to play and multiple paths to victory. This aspect of the genre is very popular, but some people have complained that, in some titles, the leeway given to the player too often is only superficial, and that, in reality, the roles offered to players are very similar, and open-ended play too frequently restricted by scripted sequences.[21] As an example, Freelancer has been criticised for being too rigid in its narrative structure,[22][23] being in one case compared negatively with Grand Theft Auto,[23] another series praised for its open-ended play.[24]

All space trading and combat games feature the core gameplay elements of directly controlling the flight of some sort of space vessel, generally armed, and of navigating from one area to another for a variety of reasons. As technology has improved it has been possible to implement a number of extensions to gameplay, such as dynamic economies and cooperative online play. Overall, however, the core gameplay mechanics of the genre have changed little over the years.

Some recent games, such as 2003’s EVE Online, have expanded the scope of the experience by including thousands of simultaneous online players in what is sometimes referred to as a “living universe”[21][25][26]a dream some have held since the genre’s early beginnings.[27] Star Citizen, a title currently in open, crowd-funded development by Chris Roberts and others involved in Freelancer and Wing Commander, aims to bridge the gap between the EVE-like living universe game and the fast action of other games in the genre.[28]

An additional sub-class of space trading games eliminate combat entirely, focusing instead entirely on trading and economic manipulation in order to achieve success.[citation needed]

Most modern space flight games on the personal computer allow a player to utilise a combination of the WASD keys of the keyboard and mouse as a means of controlling the game (games such as Microsoft’s Freelancer use this control system exclusively[23]). By far the most popular control system among genre enthusiasts, however, is the joystick.[12] Most fans prefer to use this input method whenever possible,[23] but expense and practicality mean that many are forced to use the keyboard and mouse combination (or gamepad if such is the case). The lack of uptake among the majority of modern gamers has also made joysticks a sort of an anachronism, though some new controller designs[12] and simplification of controls offer the promise that space sims may be playable in their full capacity on gaming consoles at some time in the future.[12] In fact, X3: Reunion, sometimes considered one of the more cumbersome and difficult series to master within the trading and combat genre,[29][30] was initially planned for the Xbox but later cancelled.[31] Another example of space simulators is an arcade space flight simulation action game called Star Conflict, where the players can fight in both PvE and PvP modes.

Realistic simulators feature spacecraft systems and instrument simulation, using a combination of extensive keyboard shortcuts and mouse clicks on virtual instrument panels. Most of the maneuvers and operations consist of setting certain systems into the desired configuration, or in setting autopilots. Real time hands on piloting can happen, depending on the simulated spacecraft. For example, it is common to use a joystick analog control to land a space shuttle (or any other spaceplane) or the LEM (or similar landers). Dockings can be performed more precisely using the numerical keypad. Overall, the simulations have more complex control systems than game, with the limit being the physical reproduction of the actual simulated spacecraft (see Simulation cockpit).

Early attempts at 3D space simulation date back as far as 1974’s Spasim, an online multi-player space simulator in which players attempt to destroy each other’s ships.

The earliest known space trader dates to 1974’s Star Trader, a game where the entire interface was text-only and included a star map with multiple ports buying and selling 6 commodities. It was written in BASIC.

Elite has made a lasting impression on developers, worldwide, extending even into different genres. In interviews, senior producers of CCP Games cited Elite as one of the inspirations for their acclaimed MMORPG, EVE Online.[3][33][34] rlfur Beck, CCP’s co-founder, credits Elite as the game that impacted him most on the Commodore 64.[3] Developers of Jumpgate Evolution, Battlecruiser 3000AD, Infinity: The Quest for Earth, Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars and Flatspace likewise all claim Elite as a source of inspiration.[2][35][36][37][38]

Elite was named one of the sixteen most influential games in history at Telespiele, a German technology and games trade show,[39] and is being exhibited at such places as the London Science Museum in the “Game On” exhibition organized and toured by the Barbican Art Gallery.[40] Elite was also named #12 on IGN’s 2000 “Top 25 PC Games of All Time” list,[41] the #3 most influential video game ever by the Times Online in 2007,[42] and “best game ever” for the BBC Micro by Beebug Magazine in 1984.[43] Elite’s sequel, Frontier: Elite II, was named #77 on PC Zone’s “101 Best PC Games Ever” list in 2007.[44] Similar praise has been bestowed elsewhere in the media from time to time.[45][46][47][48][49]

Elite is one of the most popularly requested games to be remade,[30] and some argue that it is still the best example of the genre to date, with more recent titlesincluding its sequelnot rising up to its level.[22][1] It has been credited as opening the door for future online persistent worlds, such as Second Life and World of Warcraft,[42] and as being the first truly open-ended game.[24][50] It is to this day one of the most ambitious games ever made, residing in only 22 kilobytes of memory and on a single floppy disk.[25] The latest incarnation of the franchise, titled Elite: Dangerous, was released on 16 December 2014, following a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Though not as well known as Elite, Trade Wars is noteworthy as the first multiplayer space trader. A BBS door, Trade Wars was released in 1984[51] as an entirely different branch of the space trader tree, having been inspired by Hunt the Wumpus, the board game Risk, and the original space trader, Star Trader. As a pure space trader, Trade Wars lacked any space flight simulator elements, instead featuring abstract open world trading and combat set in an outer space populated by both human and NPC opponents.[citation needed] In 2009, it was named the #10 best PC game by PC World Magazine.[52]

Elite was not the first game to take flight game mechanics into outer space. Other notable earlier examples include Star Raiders (1979), Space Shuttle: A Journey into Space (1982), Rendezvous: A Space Shuttle Simulation (1982),[4] and Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator (1982),[53] which featured five different controls to learn, six different enemies, and 40 different simulation levels of play, making it one of the most elaborate vector games ever released.[54] Other early examples include Nasir Gebelli’s 1982 Apple II computer games Horizon V which featured an early radar mechanic and Zenith which allowed the player ship to rotate,[55][56] and Ginga Hyoryu Vifam, which allowed first-person open space exploration with a radar displaying the destination and player/enemy positions as well as an early physics engine where approaching a planet’s gravitational field pulls the player towards it.[57] Following Elite were games such as The Halley Project (1985), Echelon (1987) and Microsoft Space Simulator (1994). Star Luster, released for the NES console and arcades in 1985, featured a cockpit view, a radar displaying enemy and base locations, the ability to warp anywhere, and a date system keeping track of the current date.[58][59][60]

Some tabletop and board games, such as Traveller or Merchant of Venus, also feature themes of space combat and trade. Traveller influenced the development of Elite (the main character in Traveller is named “Jamison”; the main character in Elite is named “Jameson”) and Jumpgate Evolution.[2][61]

The Wing Commander (19902007) series from Origin Systems, Inc. was a marked departure from the standard formula up to that point, bringing space combat to a level approaching the Star Wars films. Set beginning in the year 2654, and characterized by designer Chris Roberts as “World War II in space”, it features a multinational cast of pilots from the “Terran Confederation” flying missions against the predatory, aggressive Kilrathi, a feline warrior race (heavily inspired by the Kzinti of Larry Niven’s Known Space universe).[citation needed] Wing Commander (1990) was a best seller and caused the development of competing space combat games, such as LucasArts’ X-Wing.[62] Wing Commander eventually became a media franchise consisting of space combat simulation video games, an animated television series, a feature film, a collectible card game, a series of novels, and action figures.

Game designer Chris Crawford said in an interview that Wing Commander “raised the bar for the whole industry”, as the game was five times more expensive to create than most of its contemporaries. Because the game was highly successful, other publishers had to match its production value in order to compete. This forced a large portion of the video game industry to become more conservative, as big-budget games need to be an assured hit for it to be profitable in any way. Crawford opined that Wing Commander in particular affected the marketing and economics of computer games and reestablished the “action game” as the most lucrative type of computer game.[63]

The seeming decline of the space flight simulators and games in the late 1990s also coincided with the rise of the RTS, FPS and RPG game genres, with such examples as Warcraft, Doom and Diablo.[12] The very things that made these games classics, such as their open-endedness, complex control systems and attention to detail, have been cited as reasons for their decline.[12][13] It was believed that no major new space sim series would be produced as long as the genre relied on complex control systems such as the keyboard and joystick.[12] There were outliers, however, such as the X series (19992016)[12] and Eve Online.

Crowdfunding has been a good source for space sims in recent years, however. In November 2012 Star Citizen set a new record, managing to raise more than $114 million as of May 2016,[64] and is still under development. Elite: Dangerous was also successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter in November and December 2012. The game was completed and released in 2014, and expansions are being released in stages, or “seasons”. Born Ready Games also closed a successful Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2012, having raised nearly $180,000 to assist with the completion of Strike Suit Zero.[65] The game was completed and released in January 2013. Lastly, the non-linear roguelike-like space shooter Everspace garnered almost $250,000 dollars on Kickstarter, and is currently in Early Access.[66]

No Man’s Sky (2016) is another self-published, open-ended space sim (though this one was not crowdfunded). According to the developers, through procedural generation the game is able to produce more than 18 quintillion (7016180000000000000181015 or 18,000,000,000,000,000) planets for players to explore.[67] However, several critics found that the nature of the game can become repetitive and monotonous, with the survival gameplay elements being lackluster and tedious. As summarized by Jake Swearingen in New York, “You can procedurally generate 18.6 quintillion unique planets, but you can’t procedurally generate 18.6 quintillion unique things to do.”[68] Further, there was considerable disappointment upon its release among players, as players did not feel it lived up to its perceived hype.[69] Players felt that promotional materials were misleading, and the game was not like what was promised during development.[69] In November 2016, the game’s developer released the Foundation Update, which added some of the missing features players had initially hoped for.[70] A second update featuring working multiplayer may be forthcoming.[71]

Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous and No Man’s Sky are three ambitious games that many players hoped would fulfill the long-held dream of an open, persistent universe that they can explore, share, and fight each other in.[72] All three succeed and fail at fulfilling this promise in different ways. In a Polygon opinion article, Charlie Hall compared the three games, praising Elite: Dangerous for its look and feel, as well as its combat, but criticizing it for not allowing players to step outside of their ships. He praises Star Citizen’s combat module, Arena Commander, but says the persistent universe module is currently unfinished and unstable. He praises No Man’s Sky for the letting the player explore and walk on a planet’s surface while encountering alien life forms, but says it is least like the others, having poor combat and a smaller scope overall. (The game does not yet have working multiplayer, for instance.[71]) He concludes by writing that players disappointed with any one of the three should be satisfied to try all of them, since each fills its own niche and brings something new and unique to the table.[72]

PC Gamer writer Luke Winkie also compared Star Citizen to No Man’s Sky, describing Star Citizen as “the other super ambitious, controversial space sim on the horizon”, and indicating that fans of the genre, disappointed in No Man’s Sky, were turning to the as-yet-unfinished Star Citizen, while sometimes expressing concerns should the latter fail to deliver.[73] Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer gave the initial release of Elite: Dangerous a score of 8/10 and considered it to be “probably the most immersive and compelling recreation of deep space ever seen in gaming”, while finding some of the gameplay repetitive.[74] Other sandbox space sims include the Evochron series (20052015), and the as-of-yet unfinished Infinity.[75]

On March 10, 2013, the space flight simulator Kerbal Space Program reached the top 5 best selling games after its release on Steam.[76]

The open source community has also been active, with projects such as FS2 Open and Vega Strike serving as platforms for non-professional efforts.[13] Unofficial remakes of Elite[citation needed] and Privateer[77] are being developed using the Vega Strike engine, and the latter has reached the stage where it is offered as a working title to the public. In 2013 a hobbyist space flight simulator project was realized under usage of the open source Pioneer software.[78]

Originally posted here:

Space flight simulation game – Wikipedia

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SpaceX is preparing for the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket with a previously-flown first stage booster carrying the SES 12 communications satellite, an all-electric, multi-band video and data relay platform to serve the Asia-Pacific region. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral is set for Monday at 12:29 a.m. EDT (0429 GMT), and the first stage will not be recovered.

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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 spacecraftboth when unpropelled and when under propulsionis covered by the area of study called astrodynamics. Some spacecraft remain in space indefinitely, some disintegrate during atmospheric reentry, and others reach a planetary or lunar surface for landing or impact.

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 another way 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.

Unmanned spaceflight is all spaceflight activity without a necessary human presence in space. This includes all space probes, satellites and robotic spacecraft and missions. Unmanned spaceflight is the opposite of manned spaceflight, which is usually called human spaceflight. Subcategories of unmanned spaceflight are robotic spacecraft (objects) and robotic space missions (activities). A robotic spacecraft is an unmanned 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.

Unmanned space missions use remote-controlled spacecraft. The first unmanned 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 unmanned 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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Spaceflight – Wikipedia

List of human spaceflights – Wikipedia

These chronological lists include all crewed spaceflights that reached an altitude of at least 100km (the FAIdefinition of spaceflight, see Krmn line), or were launched with that intention but failed. The USA has adopted a slightly different definition of spaceflight, requiring an altitude of only 50 miles (80km). During the 1960s, 13 flights of the US X-15 rocket planemet the US criteria, but only two met the FAI’s. These lists include only the latter two flights; see the list of highest X-15 flightsfor all 13. As of the launch of Soyuz MS-08 on March 21st 2018, there have been 319 crewed spaceflights that reached 100km or more in altitude (321 attempted crewed flights with two failed attempts), 8 of which were sub-orbital spaceflights.

To date, there have been four fatal missions in which 18 astronauts died.

*Includes the two failed launches of STS-51-L and Soyuz T-10-1.

The Salyut series, Skylab, Mir, ISS, and Tiangong series space stations, with which various of these flights docked in orbit, are not listed separately here. See the detailed lists (links above) for information.

Missions which were intended to reach space but which failed to do are listed in italics, and fatal missions are marked with asterisk.

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List of human spaceflights – Wikipedia

Air Mobility Command > Home > AMC Travel Site

Title 10 USC 2641b: Space-Available Travel on Department of Defense Aircraft

Space-available travel on Department of Defense aircraft:

Program Authorized and Eligible recipients:

(a) AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH PROGRAM.

(1) The Secretary of Defense may establish a program (in this section referred to as the “travel program”) to provide transportation on Department of Defense aircraft on a space-available basis to the categories of individuals eligible under subsection (c)

(2) If the Secretary makes a determination to establish the travel program, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations for the operation of the travel program not later than one year after the date on which the determination was made. The regulations shall take effect on that date or such earlier date as the Secretary shall specify in the regulations.

(3) Not later than 30 days after making the determination to establish the travel program, the Secretary shall submit to the congressional defense committees an initial implementation report describing

(A) the basis for the determination;

(B) any additional categories of individuals to be eligible for the travel program under subsection (c)(S);

(C) how the Secretary will ensure that the travel program is established and operated in compliancewith the conditions specified in subsection (b); and

(D) the metrics by which the Secretary will monitor the travel program to determine the efficient and effective execution of the travel program.

(b) CONDITIONS ON ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION.

(1) The Secretary of Defense shall operate the travel program in a budget-neutral manner.

(2) No additional funds may be used, or flight hours performed, for the purpose of providing transportation under the travel program.

(c) ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS. Subject to subsection (d), the Secretary of Defense shall provide transportation under the travel program (if established) to the following categories of individuals:

(1) Members of the armed forces on active duty.

(2) Members of the Selected Reserve who hold a valid Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card

(3) Retired members of a regular or reserve component of the armed forces, including retired members of reserve components who, but for being under the eligibility age applicable under section 12731 of this title, would be eligible for retired pay under chapter 1223 of this title.

(4) Such categories of dependents of individuals described in paragraphs (1) through (3) as the Secretary shall specify in the regulations under subsection (a), under such conditions and circumstances as the Secretary shall specify in such regulations.

(5) Such other categories of individuals as the Secretary, in the discretion of the Secretary, considers appropriate.

(d) PRIORITIES AND RESTRICTIONSIn operating the travel program, the Secretary of Defense shall-

(1) in the sole discretion of the Secretary, establish an order of priority for transportation under the travel program for categories of eligible individuals that is based on considerations of military necessity, humanitarian concerns, and enhancement of morale;

(2) give priority in consideration of transportation under the travel program to the demands of members of the armed forces in the regular components and in the reserve components on active duty and to the need to provide such members, and their dependents, a means of respite from such demands; and

(3) implement policies aimed at ensuring cost control (as required by subsection (b)) and the safety, security, and efficient processing of travelers, including limiting the benefit under the travel program to one or more categories of otherwise eligible individuals if considered necessary by the Secretary.

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Air Mobility Command > Home > AMC Travel Site

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.

May 31: Falcon 9/SES 12 delayedMay 28: Falcon 9/SES 12 delayedMay 25: Adding date and time for Electron/Its Business TimeMay 18: Antares/OA-9 delayedMay 16: Falcon 9/Iridium Next 51-55 & GRACE-Follow-On delayed; Adding time for Long March 4C/Change 4 Relay; Falcon 9/SES 12 delayed; Adding month for Falcon 9/Iridium Next 56-65; Adding date for Falcon Heavy/STP-2; Falcon 9/GPS 3-01 delayed; Atlas 5/AEHF 4 moved forward; Adding H-2A/GOSAT 2 & KhalifaSat; Delta 4/WGS 10 delayedMay 14: Falcon 9/Iridium Next 51-55 & GRACE Follow-On delayedMay 7: Adding date for Falcon 9/Bangabandhu 1May 4: Adding date and time for Long March 4C/Gaofen 5; Falcon 9/Bangabandhu 1 delayed

June 4Falcon 9 SES 12

Launch window: 0429-0829 GMT (12:29-4:29 a.m. EDT)Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SES 12 communications satellite for SES of Luxembourg. The SES 12 satellite will provide direct-to-home broadcast and other high-throughput communications services in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, including rapidly growing markets such as India and Indonesia. The satellite was built by Airbus Defense and Space. The Falcon 9 rocket will launch with a previously-flown first stage. Delayed from February, April 30, May 24, May 31 and June 1. [May 31]

June 6Soyuz ISS 55S

Launch time: 1111 GMT (7:11 a.m. EDT)Launch 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 27. Delayed from April 25. [April 24]

JuneLong March 3A Fengyun 2H

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Xichang, China

A Chinese Long March 3A rocket will launch the Fengyun 2H geostationary weather satellite. [April 8]

June 11H-2A IGS Radar 6

Launch window: 0400-0600 GMT (12:00-2:00 a.m. EDT)Launch site: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan

A Japanese H-2A rocket will launch an Information Gathering Satellite with a radar reconnaissance payload for the Japanese government. [April 20]

JuneLong March 2C PRSS 1

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Taiyuan, China

A Chinese Long March 2C rocket will launch the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite, or PRSS 1, for SUPARCO, Pakistans national space agency. The PakTES 1A remote sensing satellite, developed in partnership by Pakistan and South Africa, will also launch on this mission. [April 8]

June 14Pegasus XL ICON

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: L-1011, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands

An air-launched Orbital ATK 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. Delayed from June 15, Nov. 14 and Dec. 8. [March 19]

June 22/23Electron Its Business Time

Launch window: 0030-0430 GMT on 23rd (8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. EDT on 22nd/23rd)Launch site: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its third flight, which Rocket Lab calls Its Business Time, from a facility on the Mahia Peninsula on New Zealands North Island. Two commercial CubeSats for Spire Globals weather and ship tracking constellation, and one small satellite for GeoOptics commercial remote sensing network will be aboard the rocket. A Curie upper stage will place the satellites into the proper orbit. Delayed from April 20. [May 25]

JuneFalcon 9 Telstar 19V

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Telstar 19V communications satellite for Telesat of Canada. The Telstar 19 Vantage satellite will provide high-throughput Ku-band and Ka-band communications services, supporting broadband applications over South America, the Caribbean, the North Atlantic and Canada. The satellite was built SSL. [April 8]

June 28Falcon 9 SpaceX CRS 15

Launch time: 1003 GMT (6:03 a.m. EDT)Launch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 17th Dragon spacecraft mission on its 15th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Delayed from June 6 and June 9. [April 25]

Mid-2018GSLV Mk.3 GSAT 29

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

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 3 (GSLV Mk.3), designated GSLV Mk.3-D2, will launch the GSAT 29 communications satellite carrying Ka-band, Ku-band and optical communications payloads. [April 8]

JulyFalcon 9 Iridium Next 56-65

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

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet. [May 16]

July 10Soyuz Progress 70P

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 70th Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Delayed from April 15. Moved up from June 27. Delayed from June 13. [Jan. 15]

Mid-2018Falcon 9 Telkom 4

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Telkom 4 communications satellite for Telkom Indonesia. Telkom 4 will provide C-band telecommunications services over Indonesia and India, replacing the aging Telkom 1 communications craft. The Telkom 4 satellite was built by Space Systems/Loral. [March 5]

July 25Ariane 5 Galileo 23-26

Launch time: 1124:48 GMT (7:24:48 a.m. EDT)Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana

Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ES rocket, designated VA244, to launch four Galileo full operational capability satellites for Europes Galileo navigation constellation. [April 25]

JulyFalcon 9 Spaceflight SSO-A

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

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch with Spaceflights SSO-A rideshare mission, a stack of satellites heading into sun-synchronous polar orbit. Numerous small payloads will be launched on this mission for nearly 50 government and commercial organizations from 16 countries, including the United States, Australia, Finland, Germany, Singapore and Thailand. [April 8]

July 31Delta 4-Heavy Parker Solar Probe

Launch window: 0815-1015 GMT (4:15-6:15 a.m. EDT)Launch site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket will launch NASAs Parker Solar Probe. The largest of the Delta 4 family, the Heavy version features three Common Booster Cores mounted together to form a triple-body rocket. The Parker Solar Probe will be the first-ever mission to touch the sun. The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, will travel directly into the suns atmosphere about 4 million miles from our stars surface. [April 9]

TBDAriane 5 GSAT 11 & Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38

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

Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA243, to launch the Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38 and GSAT 11 communications satellites. The Indian Space Research Organizations GSAT 11 mission is an advanced communication satellite with multi-spot beam coverage over the Indian mainland and nearby islands. Built by Space Systems/Loral, the Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38 spacecraft will be the second satellite owned by Azercosmos, the national satellite operator of Azerbaijan, which will use the new platform to support growing demands in the region for direct-to-home television, government and network services. For Intelsat, the satellite will replace the Intelsat 12 spacecraft offering direct-to-home television and network services over Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia. Delayed from April and May 18. Delayed from May 25 to conduct additional checks on the GSAT 11 spacecraft. [April 24]

AugustFalcon 9 Iridium Next 66-75

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

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet. [April 8]

AugustFalcon 9 Crew Dragon Demo 1

Launch window: 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 and April 2018. [Jan. 15]

Aug. 16H-2B HTV 7

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan

A Japanese H-2B rocket will launch the seventh H-2 Transfer Vehicle. The HTV serves as an unmanned cargo vehicle to deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. [April 8]

Aug. 21Vega Aeolus

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

An Arianespace Vega rocket, designated VV12, will launch with the Aeolus satellite for the European Space Agency. ADM-Aeolus will be the first ever satellite to deliver wind profiles on a global scale and on a daily basis. Delayed from November, Jan. 20 and mid-2018. [April 20]

Aug. 27Atlas 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. [Jan. 15]

SeptemberLong March 2C CFOSAT

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Jiuquan, China

A Chinese Long March 2C rocket will launch the China-France Oceanography Satellite, or CFOSAT. CFOSAT will study ocean surface winds and waves. These data will enable more reliable sea-state forecasts and yield new insights into ocean-atmosphere interactions. [April 8]

Sept. 12Delta 2 ICESat 2

Launch window: 1246-1520 GMT (8:46-11:20 a.m. EDT; 5:46-8:20 a.m. PDT)Launch site: SLC-2W, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket will launch NASA ICESat 2 satellite to continue the important observations of ice-sheet elevation change, sea-ice freeboard, and vegetation canopy height begun by ICESat in 2003. The rocket will fly in the 7420 configuration with four solid rocket boosters and no third stage. This will be the final launch of a Delta 2 rocket. [Feb. 14]

Sept. 14Soyuz ISS 56S

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. Delayed from Sept. 7. [Jan. 15]

Sept. 18/19Soyuz MetOp C

Launch time: 0046:57 GMT on 19th (8:46:57 p.m. EDT on 18th)Launch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket, designated VS19, will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry the MetOp C polar-orbiting weather satellite for the European Space Agency and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, or Eumetsat. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. [April 9]

Sept. 26Delta 4-Heavy NROL-71

Launch time: TBDLaunch 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. [Jan. 22]

OctoberFalcon 9 GPS 3-01

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, 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 third GPS 3-series satellite will now launch on a Delta 4. Delayed from September. [May 16]

OctoberGSLV Mk.2 Chandrayaan 2

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

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 (GSLV Mk.2) will launch the Chandrayaan 2 mission, Indias second mission to the moon. Chandrayaan 2 will consist of an orbiter, 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. Delayed from March and April. [March 23]

Oct. 5Ariane 5 BepiColombo

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

Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket to launch the BepiColombo mission for the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. BepiColombo will begin a seven-year journey to Mercury, where two spacecraft built in Europe and Japan will survey the solar systems innermost planets geology, evolution and magnetic field. BepiColombo will be the third space mission to visit Mercury, and the first led by Europe. [Jan. 22]

Oct. 5Atlas 5 AEHF 4

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

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-073, will launch the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite. Built by Lockheed Martin, this U.S. military spacecraft will provide highly-secure communications. The rocket will fly in the 531 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, three solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from Dec. 15, 2016. Delayed from Jan. 26, May 4, June 22, June 29 and Oct. 11, 2017. Delayed from July 2018. Moved up from Oct. 18. [May 16]

Oct. 11Soyuz Progress 71P

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 71st Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. [Nov. 27]

OctoberH-2A GOSAT 2 & KhalifaSat

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Launch Schedule Spaceflight Now

Space exploration – Wikipedia

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

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

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

With the substantial completion of the ISS[2] following STS-133 in March 2011, plans for space exploration by the U.S. remain in flux. Constellation, a Bush Administration program for a return to the Moon by 2020[3] was judged inadequately funded and unrealistic by an expert review panel reporting in 2009.[4] The Obama Administration proposed a revision of Constellation in 2010 to focus on the development of the capability for crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), envisioning extending the operation of the ISS beyond 2020, transferring the development of launch vehicles for human crews from NASA to the private sector, and developing technology to enable missions to beyond LEO, such as EarthMoon L1, the Moon, EarthSun L2, near-Earth asteroids, and Phobos or Mars orbit.[5]

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

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

The highest known projectiles prior to the rockets of the 1940s were the shells of the Paris Gun, a type of German long-range siege gun, which reached at least 40 kilometers altitude during World War One.[6] Steps towards putting a human-made object into space were taken by German scientists during World War II while testing the V-2 rocket, which became the first human-made object in space on 3 October 1942 with the launching of the A-4. After the war, the U.S. used German scientists and their captured rockets in programs for both military and civilian research. The first scientific exploration from space was the cosmic radiation experiment launched by the U.S. on a V-2 rocket on 10 May 1946.[7] The first images of Earth taken from space followed the same year[8][9] while the first animal experiment saw fruit flies lifted into space in 1947, both also on modified V-2s launched by Americans. Starting in 1947, the Soviets, also with the help of German teams, launched sub-orbital V-2 rockets and their own variant, the R-1, including radiation and animal experiments on some flights. These suborbital experiments only allowed a very short time in space which limited their usefulness.

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

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

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

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

The U.S. first launched a person into space within a month of Vostok 1 with Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight on Freedom 7. Orbital flight was achieved by the United States when John Glenn’s Friendship 7 orbited Earth on 20 February 1962.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The dream of stepping into the outer reaches of Earth’s atmosphere was driven by the fiction of Peter Francis Geraci[13][14][15] and H. G. Wells,[16] and rocket technology was developed to try to realize this vision. The German V-2 was the first rocket to travel into space, overcoming the problems of thrust and material failure. During the final days of World War II this technology was obtained by both the Americans and Soviets as were its designers. The initial driving force for further development of the technology was a weapons race for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to be used as long-range carriers for fast nuclear weapon delivery, but in 1961 when the Soviet Union launched the first man into space, the United States declared itself to be in a “Space Race” with the Soviets.

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

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

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

Kerim Kerimov was one of the founders of the Soviet space program and was one of the lead architects behind the first human spaceflight (Vostok 1) alongside Sergey Korolyov. After Korolyov’s death in 1966, Kerimov became the lead scientist of the Soviet space program and was responsible for the launch of the first space stations from 1971 to 1991, including the Salyut and Mir series, and their precursors in 1967, the Cosmos 186 and Cosmos 188.[17][18]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The exploration of Mars has come at a considerable financial cost with roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars failing before completing their missions, with some failing before they even began. Such a high failure rate can be attributed to the complexity and large number of variables involved in an interplanetary journey, and has led researchers to jokingly speak of The Great Galactic Ghoul[20] which subsists on a diet of Mars probes. This phenomenon is also informally known as the “Mars Curse”.[21] In contrast to overall high failure rates in the exploration of Mars, India has become the first country to achieve success of its maiden attempt. India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)[22][23][24] is one of the least expensive interplanetary missions ever undertaken with an approximate total cost of 450 Crore (US$73 million).[25][26] The first mission to Mars by any Arab country has been taken up by the United Arab Emirates. Called the Emirates Mars Mission, it is scheduled for launch in 2020. The uncrewed exploratory probe has been named “Hope Probe” and will be sent to Mars to study its atmosphere in detail.[27]

The Russian space mission Fobos-Grunt, which launched on 9 November 2011 experienced a failure leaving it stranded in low Earth orbit.[28] It was to begin exploration of the Phobos and Martian circumterrestrial orbit, and study whether the moons of Mars, or at least Phobos, could be a “trans-shipment point” for spaceships traveling to Mars.[29]

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

Reaching Jupiter from Earth requires a delta-v of 9.2km/s,[30] which is comparable to the 9.7km/s delta-v needed to reach low Earth orbit.[31] Fortunately, gravity assists through planetary flybys can be used to reduce the energy required at launch to reach Jupiter, albeit at the cost of a significantly longer flight duration.[30]

Jupiter has 69 known moons, many of which have relatively little known information about them.

Saturn has been explored only through uncrewed spacecraft launched by NASA, including one mission (CassiniHuygens) planned and executed in cooperation with other space agencies. These missions consist of flybys in 1979 by Pioneer 11, in 1980 by Voyager 1, in 1982 by Voyager 2 and an orbital mission by the Cassini spacecraft, which lasted from 2004 until 2017.

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

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

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

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

Although the extremely uniform appearance of Uranus during Voyager 2’s visit in 1986 had led to expectations that Neptune would also have few visible atmospheric phenomena, the spacecraft found that Neptune had obvious banding, visible clouds, auroras, and even a conspicuous anticyclone storm system rivaled in size only by Jupiter’s small Spot. Neptune also proved to have the fastest winds of any planet in the Solar System, measured as high as 2,100km/h.[32] Voyager 2 also examined Neptune’s ring and moon system. It discovered 900 complete rings and additional partial ring “arcs” around Neptune. In addition to examining Neptune’s three previously known moons, Voyager 2 also discovered five previously unknown moons, one of which, Proteus, proved to be the last largest moon in the system. Data from Voyager 2 supported the view that Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, is a captured Kuiper belt object.[33]

The dwarf planet Pluto presents significant challenges for spacecraft because of its great distance from Earth (requiring high velocity for reasonable trip times) and small mass (making capture into orbit very difficult at present). Voyager 1 could have visited Pluto, but controllers opted instead for a close flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan, resulting in a trajectory incompatible with a Pluto flyby. Voyager 2 never had a plausible trajectory for reaching Pluto.[34]

Pluto continues to be of great interest, despite its reclassification as the lead and nearest member of a new and growing class of distant icy bodies of intermediate size (and also the first member of the important subclass, defined by orbit and known as “plutinos”). After an intense political battle, a mission to Pluto dubbed New Horizons was granted funding from the United States government in 2003.[35] New Horizons was launched successfully on 19 January 2006. In early 2007 the craft made use of a gravity assist from Jupiter. Its closest approach to Pluto was on 14 July 2015; scientific observations of Pluto began five months prior to closest approach and continued for 16 days after the encounter.

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

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

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

Deep space exploration is the branch of astronomy, astronautics and space technology that is involved with the exploration of distant regions of outer space.[36] Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights (deep-space astronautics) and by robotic spacecraft.

Some of the best candidates for future deep space engine technologies include anti-matter, nuclear power and beamed propulsion.[37] The latter, beamed propulsion, appears to be the best candidate for deep space exploration presently available, since it uses known physics and known technology that is being developed for other purposes.[38]

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

The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 provided a re-prioritized list of objectives for the American space program, as well as funding for the first priorities. NASA proposes to move forward with the development of the Space Launch System (SLS), which will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment, and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. The SLS rocket will incorporate technological investments from the Space Shuttle program and the Constellation program in order to take advantage of proven hardware and reduce development and operations costs. The first developmental flight is targeted for the end of 2017.[39]

The idea of using high level automated systems for space missions has become a desirable goal to space agencies all around the world. Such systems are believed to yield benefits such as lower cost, less human oversight, and ability to explore deeper in space which is usually restricted by long communications with human controllers.[40]

Autonomy is defined by three requirements:[40]

Autonomous technologies would be able to perform beyond predetermined actions. They would analyze all possible states and events happening around them and come up with a safe response. In addition, such technologies can reduce launch cost and ground involvement. Performance would increase as well. Autonomy would be able to quickly respond upon encountering an unforeseen event, especially in deep space exploration where communication back to Earth would take too long.[40]

NASA began its autonomous science experiment (ASE) on Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) which is NASA’s first satellite in the new millennium program Earth-observing series launched on 21 November 2000. The autonomy of ASE is capable of on-board science analysis, replanning, robust execution, and later the addition of model-based diagnostic. Images obtained by the EO-1 are analyzed on-board and downlinked when a change or an interesting event occur. The ASE software has successfully provided over 10,000 science images.[40]

An article in science magazine Nature suggested the use of asteroids as a gateway for space exploration, with the ultimate destination being Mars.[41] In order to make such an approach viable, three requirements need to be fulfilled: first, “a thorough asteroid survey to find thousands of nearby bodies suitable for astronauts to visit”; second, “extending flight duration and distance capability to ever-increasing ranges out to Mars”; and finally, “developing better robotic vehicles and tools to enable astronauts to explore an asteroid regardless of its size, shape or spin.”[41] Furthermore, using asteroids would provide astronauts with protection from galactic cosmic rays, with mission crews being able to land on them in times of greater risk to radiation exposure.[42]

The research that is conducted by national space exploration agencies, such as NASA and Roscosmos, is one of the reasons supporters cite to justify government expenses. Economic analyses of the NASA programs often showed ongoing economic benefits (such as NASA spin-offs), generating many times the revenue of the cost of the program.[43] It is also argued that space exploration would lead to the extraction of resources on other planets and especially asteroids, which contain billions of dollars worth of minerals and metals. Such expeditions could generate a lot of revenue.[44] As well, it has been argued that space exploration programs help inspire youth to study in science and engineering.[45]

Another claim is that space exploration is a necessity to mankind and that staying on Earth will lead to extinction. Some of the reasons are lack of natural resources, comets, nuclear war, and worldwide epidemic. Stephen Hawking, renowned British theoretical physicist, said that “I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”[46]

NASA has produced a series of public service announcement videos supporting the concept of space exploration.[47]

Overall, the public remains largely supportive of both crewed and uncrewed space exploration. According to an Associated Press Poll conducted in July 2003, 71% of U.S. citizens agreed with the statement that the space program is “a good investment”, compared to 21% who did not.[48]

Arthur C. Clarke (1950) presented a summary of motivations for the human exploration of space in his non-fiction semi-technical monograph Interplanetary Flight.[49] He argued that humanity’s choice is essentially between expansion off Earth into space, versus cultural (and eventually biological) stagnation and death.

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

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

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

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

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

Private spaceflight companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, and commercial space stations such as the Axiom Space and the Bigelow Commercial Space Station have dramatically changed the landscape of space exploration, and will continue to do so in the near future.

Astrobiology is the interdisciplinary study of life in the universe, combining aspects of astronomy, biology and geology.[50] It is focused primarily on the study of the origin, distribution and evolution of life. It is also known as exobiology (from Greek: , exo, “outside”).[51][52][53] The term “Xenobiology” has been used as well, but this is technically incorrect because its terminology means “biology of the foreigners”.[54] Astrobiologists must also consider the possibility of life that is chemically entirely distinct from any life found on Earth.[55] In the Solar System some of the prime locations for current or past astrobiology are on Enceladus, Europa, Mars, and Titan.

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

To date, the longest human occupation of space is the International Space Station which has been in continuous use for 17years, 212days. Valeri Polyakov’s record single spaceflight of almost 438 days aboard the Mir space station has not been surpassed. Long-term stays in space reveal issues with bone and muscle loss in low gravity, immune system suppression, and radiation exposure.

Many past and current concepts for the continued exploration and colonization of space focus on a return to the Moon as a “stepping stone” to the other planets, especially Mars. At the end of 2006 NASA announced they were planning to build a permanent Moon base with continual presence by 2024.[57]

Beyond the technical factors that could make living in space more widespread, it has been suggested that the lack of private property, the inability or difficulty in establishing property rights in space, has been an impediment to the development of space for human habitation. Since the advent of space technology in the latter half of the twentieth century, the ownership of property in space has been murky, with strong arguments both for and against. In particular, the making of national territorial claims in outer space and on celestial bodies has been specifically proscribed by the Outer Space Treaty, which had been, as of 2012[update], ratified by all spacefaring nations.[58]

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Space exploration – Wikipedia

Space flight simulation game – Wikipedia

A space flight simulation game is a genre of flight simulator video games that lets players experience space flight to varying degrees of realism. Many games feature space combat, and some games feature commerce and trading in addition to combat.

Some games in the genre aim to recreate a realistic portrayal of space flight, involving the calculation of orbits within a more complete physics simulation than pseudo space flight simulators. Others focus on gameplay rather than simulating space flight in all its facets. The realism of the latter games is limited to what the game designer deems to be appropriate for the gameplay, instead of focusing on the realism of moving the spacecraft in space. Some “flight models” use a physics system based on Newtonian physics, but these are usually limited to maneuvering the craft in its direct environment, and do not take into consideration the orbital calculations that would make such a game a simulator. Many of the pseudo simulators feature faster than light travel.

Examples of true simulators which aim at piloting a space craft in a manner that conforms with the laws of nature include Orbiter, Kerbal Space Program and Microsoft Space Simulator. Examples of more fantastical video games that bend the rules of physics in favor of streamlining and entertainment, include Wing Commander, Star Wars: X-Wing and Freelancer.

The modern space flight game genre emerged at the point when home computers became sufficiently powerful to draw basic wireframe graphics in real-time.[1] The game Elite is widely considered to be the breakthrough game of the genre,[1][2][3] and as having successfully melded the “space trading” and flight sim genres.[4] Elite was highly influential upon later games of its type, although it did have some precursors. Games similar to Elite are sometimes called “Elite-clones”.[5][6][7][8]

Space flight games and simulators, at one time popular, had for much of the new millennium been considered a “dead” genre.[9][10][11][12][13] However, open-source and enthusiast communities managed to produce some working, modern titles (e.g. Orbiter Spaceflight Simulator); and 2011’s commercially released Kerbal Space Program was notably well-received, even by the aerospace community.[14] Some more recent games, most notably Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, and No Mans Sky, have brought new attention to the space trading and combat game subgenre.

Realistic space simulators seek to represent a vessel’s behaviour under the influence of the laws of physics. As such, the player normally concentrates on following checklists or planning tasks. Piloting is generally limited to dockings, landings or orbital maneuvers. The reward for the player is on mastering real or realistic spacecraft, celestial mechanics and astronautics.

Classical games with this approach include Space Shuttle: A Journey into Space (1982), Rendezvous: A Space Shuttle Simulation (1982),[4] The Halley Project (1985), Shuttle (1992) and Microsoft Space Simulator (1994).

If the definition is expanded to include decision making and planning, then Buzz Aldrin’s Race Into Space (1992) is also notable for historical accuracy and detail. On this game the player takes the role of Administrator of NASA or Head of the Soviet Space Program with the ultimate goal of being the first side to conduct a successful manned moon landing.

Most recently Orbiter and Space Shuttle Mission 2007 provide more elaborate simulations, with realistic 3D virtual cockpits and external views.

Kerbal Space Program[15] can be considered a space simulator, even though it portrays an imaginary universe with tweaked physics, masses and distances to enhance gameplay. Nevertheless, the physics and rocket design principles are much more realistic than in the space combat or trading subgenres.

The game Lunar Flight (2012) simulates flying around the lunar surface in a craft resembling the Apollo Lunar Module.

Most games in the space combat[16] genre feature futuristic scenarios involving space flight and extra planetary combat. Such games generally place the player into the controls of a small starfighter or smaller starship in a military force of similar and larger spaceships and do not take into account the physics of space flight, usually often citing some technological advancement to explain the lack thereof. The prominent Wing Commander, X-Wing and Freespace series all use this approach. Exceptions include the first Independence War and the Star Trek: Bridge Commander series, which model craft at a larger scale and/or in a more strategic fashion. It should be noted that I-War also features Newtonian style physics for the behaviour of the spacecraft, but not orbital mechanics.

Space combat games tend to be mission-based, as opposed to the more open-ended nature of space trading and combat games.

The general formula for the space trading and combat game,[17][18][19][20] which has changed little since its genesis, is for the player to begin in a relatively small, outdated ship with little money or status and for the player to work his or her way up, gaining in status and power through trading, exploration, combat or a mix of different methods.[21][22][1] The ship the player controls is generally larger than that in pure space combat simulator. Notable examples of the genre include Elite, Wing Commander: Privateer, and Freelancer.

In some instances, plot plays only a limited role and only a loose narrative framework tends to be provided. In certain titles of the X series, for instance, players may ignore the plot for as long as they wish and are even given the option to disable the plot completely and instead play in sandbox mode.[21] Many games of this genre place a strong emphasis on factional conflict, leading to many small mission-driven subplots that unravel the tensions of the galaxy.

Games of this type often allow the player to choose among multiple roles to play and multiple paths to victory. This aspect of the genre is very popular, but some people have complained that, in some titles, the leeway given to the player too often is only superficial, and that, in reality, the roles offered to players are very similar, and open-ended play too frequently restricted by scripted sequences.[21] As an example, Freelancer has been criticised for being too rigid in its narrative structure,[22][23] being in one case compared negatively with Grand Theft Auto,[23] another series praised for its open-ended play.[24]

All space trading and combat games feature the core gameplay elements of directly controlling the flight of some sort of space vessel, generally armed, and of navigating from one area to another for a variety of reasons. As technology has improved it has been possible to implement a number of extensions to gameplay, such as dynamic economies and cooperative online play. Overall, however, the core gameplay mechanics of the genre have changed little over the years.

Some recent games, such as 2003’s EVE Online, have expanded the scope of the experience by including thousands of simultaneous online players in what is sometimes referred to as a “living universe”[21][25][26]a dream some have held since the genre’s early beginnings.[27] Star Citizen, a title currently in open, crowd-funded development by Chris Roberts and others involved in Freelancer and Wing Commander, aims to bridge the gap between the EVE-like living universe game and the fast action of other games in the genre.[28]

An additional sub-class of space trading games eliminate combat entirely, focusing instead entirely on trading and economic manipulation in order to achieve success.[citation needed]

Most modern space flight games on the personal computer allow a player to utilise a combination of the WASD keys of the keyboard and mouse as a means of controlling the game (games such as Microsoft’s Freelancer use this control system exclusively[23]). By far the most popular control system among genre enthusiasts, however, is the joystick.[12] Most fans prefer to use this input method whenever possible,[23] but expense and practicality mean that many are forced to use the keyboard and mouse combination (or gamepad if such is the case). The lack of uptake among the majority of modern gamers has also made joysticks a sort of an anachronism, though some new controller designs[12] and simplification of controls offer the promise that space sims may be playable in their full capacity on gaming consoles at some time in the future.[12] In fact, X3: Reunion, sometimes considered one of the more cumbersome and difficult series to master within the trading and combat genre,[29][30] was initially planned for the Xbox but later cancelled.[31] Another example of space simulators is an arcade space flight simulation action game called Star Conflict, where the players can fight in both PvE and PvP modes.

Realistic simulators feature spacecraft systems and instrument simulation, using a combination of extensive keyboard shortcuts and mouse clicks on virtual instrument panels. Most of the maneuvers and operations consist of setting certain systems into the desired configuration, or in setting autopilots. Real time hands on piloting can happen, depending on the simulated spacecraft. For example, it is common to use a joystick analog control to land a space shuttle (or any other spaceplane) or the LEM (or similar landers). Dockings can be performed more precisely using the numerical keypad. Overall, the simulations have more complex control systems than game, with the limit being the physical reproduction of the actual simulated spacecraft (see Simulation cockpit).

Early attempts at 3D space simulation date back as far as 1974’s Spasim, an online multi-player space simulator in which players attempt to destroy each other’s ships.

The earliest known space trader dates to 1974’s Star Trader, a game where the entire interface was text-only and included a star map with multiple ports buying and selling 6 commodities. It was written in BASIC.

Elite has made a lasting impression on developers, worldwide, extending even into different genres. In interviews, senior producers of CCP Games cited Elite as one of the inspirations for their acclaimed MMORPG, EVE Online.[3][33][34] rlfur Beck, CCP’s co-founder, credits Elite as the game that impacted him most on the Commodore 64.[3] Developers of Jumpgate Evolution, Battlecruiser 3000AD, Infinity: The Quest for Earth, Hard Truck: Apocalyptic Wars and Flatspace likewise all claim Elite as a source of inspiration.[2][35][36][37][38]

Elite was named one of the sixteen most influential games in history at Telespiele, a German technology and games trade show,[39] and is being exhibited at such places as the London Science Museum in the “Game On” exhibition organized and toured by the Barbican Art Gallery.[40] Elite was also named #12 on IGN’s 2000 “Top 25 PC Games of All Time” list,[41] the #3 most influential video game ever by the Times Online in 2007,[42] and “best game ever” for the BBC Micro by Beebug Magazine in 1984.[43] Elite’s sequel, Frontier: Elite II, was named #77 on PC Zone’s “101 Best PC Games Ever” list in 2007.[44] Similar praise has been bestowed elsewhere in the media from time to time.[45][46][47][48][49]

Elite is one of the most popularly requested games to be remade,[30] and some argue that it is still the best example of the genre to date, with more recent titlesincluding its sequelnot rising up to its level.[22][1] It has been credited as opening the door for future online persistent worlds, such as Second Life and World of Warcraft,[42] and as being the first truly open-ended game.[24][50] It is to this day one of the most ambitious games ever made, residing in only 22 kilobytes of memory and on a single floppy disk.[25] The latest incarnation of the franchise, titled Elite: Dangerous, was released on 16 December 2014, following a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Though not as well known as Elite, Trade Wars is noteworthy as the first multiplayer space trader. A BBS door, Trade Wars was released in 1984[51] as an entirely different branch of the space trader tree, having been inspired by Hunt the Wumpus, the board game Risk, and the original space trader, Star Trader. As a pure space trader, Trade Wars lacked any space flight simulator elements, instead featuring abstract open world trading and combat set in an outer space populated by both human and NPC opponents.[citation needed] In 2009, it was named the #10 best PC game by PC World Magazine.[52]

Elite was not the first game to take flight game mechanics into outer space. Other notable earlier examples include Star Raiders (1979), Space Shuttle: A Journey into Space (1982), Rendezvous: A Space Shuttle Simulation (1982),[4] and Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator (1982),[53] which featured five different controls to learn, six different enemies, and 40 different simulation levels of play, making it one of the most elaborate vector games ever released.[54] Other early examples include Nasir Gebelli’s 1982 Apple II computer games Horizon V which featured an early radar mechanic and Zenith which allowed the player ship to rotate,[55][56] and Ginga Hyoryu Vifam, which allowed first-person open space exploration with a radar displaying the destination and player/enemy positions as well as an early physics engine where approaching a planet’s gravitational field pulls the player towards it.[57] Following Elite were games such as The Halley Project (1985), Echelon (1987) and Microsoft Space Simulator (1994). Star Luster, released for the NES console and arcades in 1985, featured a cockpit view, a radar displaying enemy and base locations, the ability to warp anywhere, and a date system keeping track of the current date.[58][59][60]

Some tabletop and board games, such as Traveller or Merchant of Venus, also feature themes of space combat and trade. Traveller influenced the development of Elite (the main character in Traveller is named “Jamison”; the main character in Elite is named “Jameson”) and Jumpgate Evolution.[2][61]

The Wing Commander (19902007) series from Origin Systems, Inc. was a marked departure from the standard formula up to that point, bringing space combat to a level approaching the Star Wars films. Set beginning in the year 2654, and characterized by designer Chris Roberts as “World War II in space”, it features a multinational cast of pilots from the “Terran Confederation” flying missions against the predatory, aggressive Kilrathi, a feline warrior race (heavily inspired by the Kzinti of Larry Niven’s Known Space universe).[citation needed] Wing Commander (1990) was a best seller and caused the development of competing space combat games, such as LucasArts’ X-Wing.[62] Wing Commander eventually became a media franchise consisting of space combat simulation video games, an animated television series, a feature film, a collectible card game, a series of novels, and action figures.

Game designer Chris Crawford said in an interview that Wing Commander “raised the bar for the whole industry”, as the game was five times more expensive to create than most of its contemporaries. Because the game was highly successful, other publishers had to match its production value in order to compete. This forced a large portion of the video game industry to become more conservative, as big-budget games need to be an assured hit for it to be profitable in any way. Crawford opined that Wing Commander in particular affected the marketing and economics of computer games and reestablished the “action game” as the most lucrative type of computer game.[63]

The seeming decline of the space flight simulators and games in the late 1990s also coincided with the rise of the RTS, FPS and RPG game genres, with such examples as Warcraft, Doom and Diablo.[12] The very things that made these games classics, such as their open-endedness, complex control systems and attention to detail, have been cited as reasons for their decline.[12][13] It was believed that no major new space sim series would be produced as long as the genre relied on complex control systems such as the keyboard and joystick.[12] There were outliers, however, such as the X series (19992016)[12] and Eve Online.

Crowdfunding has been a good source for space sims in recent years, however. In November 2012 Star Citizen set a new record, managing to raise more than $114 million as of May 2016,[64] and is still under development. Elite: Dangerous was also successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter in November and December 2012. The game was completed and released in 2014, and expansions are being released in stages, or “seasons”. Born Ready Games also closed a successful Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2012, having raised nearly $180,000 to assist with the completion of Strike Suit Zero.[65] The game was completed and released in January 2013. Lastly, the non-linear roguelike-like space shooter Everspace garnered almost $250,000 dollars on Kickstarter, and is currently in Early Access.[66]

No Man’s Sky (2016) is another self-published, open-ended space sim (though this one was not crowdfunded). According to the developers, through procedural generation the game is able to produce more than 18 quintillion (7016180000000000000181015 or 18,000,000,000,000,000) planets for players to explore.[67] However, several critics found that the nature of the game can become repetitive and monotonous, with the survival gameplay elements being lackluster and tedious. As summarized by Jake Swearingen in New York, “You can procedurally generate 18.6 quintillion unique planets, but you can’t procedurally generate 18.6 quintillion unique things to do.”[68] Further, there was considerable disappointment upon its release among players, as players did not feel it lived up to its perceived hype.[69] Players felt that promotional materials were misleading, and the game was not like what was promised during development.[69] In November 2016, the game’s developer released the Foundation Update, which added some of the missing features players had initially hoped for.[70] A second update featuring working multiplayer may be forthcoming.[71]

Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous and No Man’s Sky are three ambitious games that many players hoped would fulfill the long-held dream of an open, persistent universe that they can explore, share, and fight each other in.[72] All three succeed and fail at fulfilling this promise in different ways. In a Polygon opinion article, Charlie Hall compared the three games, praising Elite: Dangerous for its look and feel, as well as its combat, but criticizing it for not allowing players to step outside of their ships. He praises Star Citizen’s combat module, Arena Commander, but says the persistent universe module is currently unfinished and unstable. He praises No Man’s Sky for the letting the player explore and walk on a planet’s surface while encountering alien life forms, but says it is least like the others, having poor combat and a smaller scope overall. (The game does not yet have working multiplayer, for instance.[71]) He concludes by writing that players disappointed with any one of the three should be satisfied to try all of them, since each fills its own niche and brings something new and unique to the table.[72]

PC Gamer writer Luke Winkie also compared Star Citizen to No Man’s Sky, describing Star Citizen as “the other super ambitious, controversial space sim on the horizon”, and indicating that fans of the genre, disappointed in No Man’s Sky, were turning to the as-yet-unfinished Star Citizen, while sometimes expressing concerns should the latter fail to deliver.[73] Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer gave the initial release of Elite: Dangerous a score of 8/10 and considered it to be “probably the most immersive and compelling recreation of deep space ever seen in gaming”, while finding some of the gameplay repetitive.[74] Other sandbox space sims include the Evochron series (20052015), and the as-of-yet unfinished Infinity.[75]

On March 10, 2013, the space flight simulator Kerbal Space Program reached the top 5 best selling games after its release on Steam.[76]

The open source community has also been active, with projects such as FS2 Open and Vega Strike serving as platforms for non-professional efforts.[13] Unofficial remakes of Elite[citation needed] and Privateer[77] are being developed using the Vega Strike engine, and the latter has reached the stage where it is offered as a working title to the public. In 2013 a hobbyist space flight simulator project was realized under usage of the open source Pioneer software.[78]

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Space flight simulation game – Wikipedia

Zero Gravity Flight – Space Adventures

Aboard a specially modified Boeing 727-200, G-FORCE ONE, weightlessness is achieved by doing aerobatic maneuvers known as parabolas. Specially trained pilots perform these aerobatic maneuvers which are not simulated in any way. ZERO-G passengers experience true weightlessness.

Before starting a parabola, G-FORCE ONEflies level to the horizon at an altitude of 24,000 feet. The pilots then begins to pull up, gradually increasing the angle of the aircraft to about 45 to the horizon reaching an altitude of 34,000 feet. During this pull-up, passengers will feel the pull of 1.8 Gs. Next the plane is pushed over to create the zero gravity segment of the parabola. For the next 20-30 seconds everything in the plane is weightless. Next a gentle pull-out is started which allows the flyers to stabilize on the aircraft floor. This maneuver is repeated 12-15 times, each taking about ten miles of airspace to perform.

In addition to achieving zero gravity, G-FORCE ONEalso flies a parabola designed to offer Lunar gravity (one sixth your weight)and Martian gravity (one third your weight). This is created by flying a larger arc over the top of the parabola.

G-FORCE ONEflies in a FAA designated airspace that is approximately 100 miles long and ten miles wide. Usually three to five parabolas are flown consecutively with short periods of level flight between each set.

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Zero Gravity Flight – Space Adventures

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.

May 28: Falcon 9/SES 12 delayedMay 25: Adding date and time for Electron/Its Business TimeMay 18: Antares/OA-9 delayedMay 16: Falcon 9/Iridium Next 51-55 & GRACE-Follow-On delayed; Adding time for Long March 4C/Change 4 Relay; Falcon 9/SES 12 delayed; Adding month for Falcon 9/Iridium Next 56-65; Adding date for Falcon Heavy/STP-2; Falcon 9/GPS 3-01 delayed; Atlas 5/AEHF 4 moved forward; Adding H-2A/GOSAT 2 & KhalifaSat; Delta 4/WGS 10 delayedMay 14: Falcon 9/Iridium Next 51-55 & GRACE Follow-On delayedMay 7: Adding date for Falcon 9/Bangabandhu 1May 4: Adding date and time for Long March 4C/Gaofen 5; Falcon 9/Bangabandhu 1 delayed

June 1Falcon 9 SES 12

Launch window: 0429-0657 GMT (12:29-2:57 a.m. EDT)Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SES 12 communications satellite for SES of Luxembourg. The SES 12 satellite will provide direct-to-home broadcast and other high-throughput communications services in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, including rapidly growing markets such as India and Indonesia. The satellite was built by Airbus Defense and Space. The Falcon 9 rocket will launch with a previously-flown first stage. Delayed from February, April 30, May 24 and May 31. [May 28]

June 6Soyuz ISS 55S

Launch time: 1111 GMT (7:11 a.m. EDT)Launch 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 27. Delayed from April 25. [April 24]

JuneLong March 3A Fengyun 2H

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Xichang, China

A Chinese Long March 3A rocket will launch the Fengyun 2H geostationary weather satellite. [April 8]

June 11H-2A IGS Radar 6

Launch window: 0400-0600 GMT (12:00-2:00 a.m. EDT)Launch site: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan

A Japanese H-2A rocket will launch an Information Gathering Satellite with a radar reconnaissance payload for the Japanese government. [April 20]

JuneLong March 2C PRSS 1

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Taiyuan, China

A Chinese Long March 2C rocket will launch the Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite, or PRSS 1, for SUPARCO, Pakistans national space agency. The PakTES 1A remote sensing satellite, developed in partnership by Pakistan and South Africa, will also launch on this mission. [April 8]

June 14Pegasus XL ICON

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: L-1011, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands

An air-launched Orbital ATK 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. Delayed from June 15, Nov. 14 and Dec. 8. [March 19]

June 22/23Electron Its Business Time

Launch window: 0030-0430 GMT on 23rd (8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. EDT on 22nd/23rd)Launch site: Launch Complex 1, Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket will launch on its third flight, which Rocket Lab calls Its Business Time, from a facility on the Mahia Peninsula on New Zealands North Island. Two commercial CubeSats for Spire Globals weather and ship tracking constellation, and one small satellite for GeoOptics commercial remote sensing network will be aboard the rocket. A Curie upper stage will place the satellites into the proper orbit. Delayed from April 20. [May 25]

JuneFalcon 9 Telstar 19V

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Telstar 19V communications satellite for Telesat of Canada. The Telstar 19 Vantage satellite will provide high-throughput Ku-band and Ka-band communications services, supporting broadband applications over South America, the Caribbean, the North Atlantic and Canada. The satellite was built SSL. [April 8]

June 28Falcon 9 SpaceX CRS 15

Launch time: 1003 GMT (6:03 a.m. EDT)Launch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 17th Dragon spacecraft mission on its 15th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Delayed from June 6 and June 9. [April 25]

Mid-2018GSLV Mk.3 GSAT 29

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

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 3 (GSLV Mk.3), designated GSLV Mk.3-D2, will launch the GSAT 29 communications satellite carrying Ka-band, Ku-band and optical communications payloads. [April 8]

JulyFalcon 9 Iridium Next 56-65

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

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet. [May 16]

July 10Soyuz Progress 70P

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 70th Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Delayed from April 15. Moved up from June 27. Delayed from June 13. [Jan. 15]

Mid-2018Falcon 9 Telkom 4

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Telkom 4 communications satellite for Telkom Indonesia. Telkom 4 will provide C-band telecommunications services over Indonesia and India, replacing the aging Telkom 1 communications craft. The Telkom 4 satellite was built by Space Systems/Loral. [March 5]

July 25Ariane 5 Galileo 23-26

Launch time: 1124:48 GMT (7:24:48 a.m. EDT)Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana

Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ES rocket, designated VA244, to launch four Galileo full operational capability satellites for Europes Galileo navigation constellation. [April 25]

JulyFalcon 9 Spaceflight SSO-A

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

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch with Spaceflights SSO-A rideshare mission, a stack of satellites heading into sun-synchronous polar orbit. Numerous small payloads will be launched on this mission for nearly 50 government and commercial organizations from 16 countries, including the United States, Australia, Finland, Germany, Singapore and Thailand. [April 8]

July 31Delta 4-Heavy Parker Solar Probe

Launch window: 0815-1015 GMT (4:15-6:15 a.m. EDT)Launch site: SLC-37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

A United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket will launch NASAs Parker Solar Probe. The largest of the Delta 4 family, the Heavy version features three Common Booster Cores mounted together to form a triple-body rocket. The Parker Solar Probe will be the first-ever mission to touch the sun. The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, will travel directly into the suns atmosphere about 4 million miles from our stars surface. [April 9]

TBDAriane 5 GSAT 11 & Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38

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

Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA243, to launch the Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38 and GSAT 11 communications satellites. The Indian Space Research Organizations GSAT 11 mission is an advanced communication satellite with multi-spot beam coverage over the Indian mainland and nearby islands. Built by Space Systems/Loral, the Azerspace 2/Intelsat 38 spacecraft will be the second satellite owned by Azercosmos, the national satellite operator of Azerbaijan, which will use the new platform to support growing demands in the region for direct-to-home television, government and network services. For Intelsat, the satellite will replace the Intelsat 12 spacecraft offering direct-to-home television and network services over Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia. Delayed from April and May 18. Delayed from May 25 to conduct additional checks on the GSAT 11 spacecraft. [April 24]

AugustFalcon 9 Iridium Next 66-75

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

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch 10 satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet. [April 8]

AugustFalcon 9 Crew Dragon Demo 1

Launch window: 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 and April 2018. [Jan. 15]

Aug. 16H-2B HTV 7

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan

A Japanese H-2B rocket will launch the seventh H-2 Transfer Vehicle. The HTV serves as an unmanned cargo vehicle to deliver equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. [April 8]

Aug. 21Vega Aeolus

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

An Arianespace Vega rocket, designated VV12, will launch with the Aeolus satellite for the European Space Agency. ADM-Aeolus will be the first ever satellite to deliver wind profiles on a global scale and on a daily basis. Delayed from November, Jan. 20 and mid-2018. [April 20]

Aug. 27Atlas 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. [Jan. 15]

SeptemberLong March 2C CFOSAT

Launch time: TBDLaunch site: Jiuquan, China

A Chinese Long March 2C rocket will launch the China-France Oceanography Satellite, or CFOSAT. CFOSAT will study ocean surface winds and waves. These data will enable more reliable sea-state forecasts and yield new insights into ocean-atmosphere interactions. [April 8]

Sept. 12Delta 2 ICESat 2

Launch window: 1246-1520 GMT (8:46-11:20 a.m. EDT; 5:46-8:20 a.m. PDT)Launch site: SLC-2W, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

A United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket will launch NASA ICESat 2 satellite to continue the important observations of ice-sheet elevation change, sea-ice freeboard, and vegetation canopy height begun by ICESat in 2003. The rocket will fly in the 7420 configuration with four solid rocket boosters and no third stage. This will be the final launch of a Delta 2 rocket. [Feb. 14]

Sept. 14Soyuz ISS 56S

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. Delayed from Sept. 7. [Jan. 15]

Sept. 18/19Soyuz MetOp C

Launch time: 0046:57 GMT on 19th (8:46:57 p.m. EDT on 18th)Launch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket, designated VS19, will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry the MetOp C polar-orbiting weather satellite for the European Space Agency and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, or Eumetsat. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat upper stage. [April 9]

Sept. 26Delta 4-Heavy NROL-71

Launch time: TBDLaunch 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. [Jan. 22]

OctoberFalcon 9 GPS 3-01

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Cape Canaveral, 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 third GPS 3-series satellite will now launch on a Delta 4. Delayed from September. [May 16]

OctoberGSLV Mk.2 Chandrayaan 2

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

Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk. 2 (GSLV Mk.2) will launch the Chandrayaan 2 mission, Indias second mission to the moon. Chandrayaan 2 will consist of an orbiter, 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. Delayed from March and April. [March 23]

Oct. 5Ariane 5 BepiColombo

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

Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket to launch the BepiColombo mission for the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. BepiColombo will begin a seven-year journey to Mercury, where two spacecraft built in Europe and Japan will survey the solar systems innermost planets geology, evolution and magnetic field. BepiColombo will be the third space mission to visit Mercury, and the first led by Europe. [Jan. 22]

Oct. 5Atlas 5 AEHF 4

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

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-073, will launch the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite. Built by Lockheed Martin, this U.S. military spacecraft will provide highly-secure communications. The rocket will fly in the 531 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, three solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from Dec. 15, 2016. Delayed from Jan. 26, May 4, June 22, June 29 and Oct. 11, 2017. Delayed from July 2018. Moved up from Oct. 18. [May 16]

Oct. 11Soyuz Progress 71P

Launch window: TBDLaunch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 71st Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. [Nov. 27]

OctoberH-2A GOSAT 2 & KhalifaSat

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Launch Schedule Spaceflight Now