For a long time now, space exploration has been touted as being the next frontier. While this is true, it’s worth noting the expenses involved lie somewhere in the expensive trajectory.
That said, some of the rewards from space exploration are enough to suggest that we should be making forays into the field as often as we can.
Thanks to space exploration, we have accurate GPS systems, precise weather forecasts, solar cells and UV filters for photography and sunglasses.
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935), is regarded as the pioneer of space exploration. He’s credited as being the first to propose that a rocket was capable of getting propulsion in the near-vacuum region of space. He mentioned that rocket construction was possible in parts to facilitate fuels dumps whenever depletion happened.
The very first liquid propelled rocket happened in 1926 under the watchful eye of Robert H. Goddard. Not much later in 1930, German Johannes Winkler established a Society for Space Travel which explored different techniques for rocket construction. During World War II, another German Wernher von Braun came up with a rocket which was used as a weapon as they fought the British. The rocket was capable of flying about 100 km above the earth’s surface.
The Russians were the very first to launch an artificial satellite. The Sputnik I made its way into space on October 4, 1957. A dog named Laika was sent into space as the first living creature in a satellite on November 3, 1957.
The very first space probe, called Luna I was launched in January 1959 by the Russians. The probe made it about 5,000 miles from the moon. They came up with another space probe called the Luna 2 which crashed into the moon in 1959. It was only until a third space probe, the Luna 3 which managed to take the very first pictures of the dark side of the moon.
Americans got into the scene later on in January 1958 when they deployed their first satellite aptly named the Explorer 1.
Yuri Gagarin was the very first man in Space. The Russian was launched into space on April 12, 1961 and successfully managed to orbit the Earth once before landing on the same day.
It wasn’t until May 5, 1961 that the American Alan Shepard got into space. On February 20, 1962, John Glenn achieved a milestone as the first American to orbit the Earth.
President John F. Kennedy was ambitious enough that he set landing on the moon and a safe return back to earth as one a national goal in 1961.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong made his poetic declaration “one giant leap for mankind” while on the moon’s surface. Between the years 1969 and 1962, there were six Apollo missions.
All through the 1960s, there were numerous unmanned spacecraft which photographed and probed the moon long before astronauts set foot there. This same kind of exploration is still being done today in faraway planet and views of the Earth from space are frequently shared.
During the early 1970s, navigation satellites became common in society. The Mariner spacecraft also made frequent trips around Mars and captured its surface. Before the close of the 1970s, the Voyager spacecraft had sent back to earth numerous detail pictures of Saturn and its rings, and Jupiter complete with the different associated moons.
The space shuttle gets plenty of plaudits for being the very first reusable spacecraft to transport people into orbit and conduct cutting edge research. It is through the space shuttle that we were able to build the International Space Station.
In April 1981, the launch of the Columbia space shuttle brought with it good tidings. Between 1981 and 1986, there were 24 successful shuttle launches before that fateful day on January 28, 1986 when the Challenger space shuttle about 73 seconds after liftoff.
During that mishap, 73 crewmembers passed on, including Christa McAuliffe a school teacher with origins in New Hampshire. Had the mission been successful, she would have been the very first civilian to go to space.
The second shuttle disaster happened on Feb 1, 2003 when the Columbia shuttle disintegrated as it made its way back to earth.
Ever since space exploration began, only 3 space shuttles have been retired. The first to do so was Discovery on March 9, 2011. The second was the Endeavor space shuttle on June 1, 2011. The Atlantis space shuttle became the third to retire on July 21, 2011.
During the Gulf War, satellites gave armies an edge over other warring factions. Allied forces were able to utilize their high ground advantage to make impactful decisions. Through these satellites, armies were able to monitor opposing troops and provide intel on troop formation and movement, plus give warnings in case of missile attacks.
It is through satellites that coalition countries successfully managed to halt the war and thereby save many lives. In contemporary times, space exploration has played a key role in homeland defense, navigation systems, communication, weather surveillance, and remote sensing.
Thanks to technology, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your couch to check out the cosmos. With augmented reality, you can have a feel of what lies in the great beyond. At AstroReality, we’ve become adept at this and have continually developed technology that enables us to be more than just stargazers. You can have a look at our planet collection for some motivation, as well as diving into the grand history of human space exploration with our all-new NASA AR Notebook.