Space Programs

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    Space Exploration Timeline

  • Sputnik

    Sputnik was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957 and marked the beginning of the "Space Race" between the Soviet Union and the United States of America. Sputnik and its counterpart, Sputnik II, eventually led the United States of America's creation of NASA.
  • Sputnik II

    Sputnik II was also launched by the Soviet Union and was the main cause for the United States of America's congress to pass the National Aeronatucis and Space Act, which created NASA. Sputnik II was launched carrying a dog named Laika and was the first organic being to travel into space.
  • Mercury

    Mercury was a mission led by NASA that also helped boost the tensions in the Space Race between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. The first mercury mission put Alan Shepard into space and he became the first American in space (second human next to Russian Yugi Gagarin). The Mercury program was the first manned space program and the first and third missions succeeded, but the second did not. The third mission put John Glenn into space to become the first American in orbit and 3rd person in orbit.
  • Gemini

    Project Gemini was led by NASA and taught the U.S.A. about the effects of weghtlessness on crew members in a spacecraft. It was also made to see if a rendezvous with orbiting vehicles was possible, which Gemini proved that it was.
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    Mariner Space Program

    The Mariner Space Program consisted of 10 total vehicles, but 3 of launches, Mariner 1, 3, and 8, did not succeed in leaving Earth's atmosphere. These missions explored Mars, Venus, and Mercury and were the first vehicles sent to the aforementioned planets. Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to ever enter Mars' orbit and found riverbeds, crafters, volcanoes, canyons, and wind erosion deposition. This program taught us a lot about atmosphere and surface of Mars, Mercury, and Venus.
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    Skylab's orbit started with the Saturn V rocket with nine people living on it. These people stayed on Skylab for a total of 171 days and thirteen hours. During this time, over 300 experiments were taken on them to discover the effects of being in space on the human body. It was eventually deboritted in 1979.
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    Viking 2 Space Probe

    Even though the Viking 2 space probe was launched later than the VIking 1 Space probe, it was cancelled and turned of earlier. This mission helped many other missions, such as Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Curveyor.
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    Viking Space Program (Viking 1 + Details of Mission)

    There were two probes in the Viking Space program. NASA build and launched the probes from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Viking 1 took the first ever picture of Mars while Viking 2 took a total of 16,000 pictures. The most important thing discovered was geological forms on Mars caused by water erosion, which hints at the notion of water on Mars' surface.
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    Voyager 2 Space Probe

    The Voyager 2 space probe is also still in space collected bits of data for NASA and was actually launched before Voyager 1 was launched.
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    Voyager Space Probes (Voyager 1)

    The two voyager probes are still in space collecting data and, thus far, they have collected over 5,000,000,000,000 bits of data. These explored Neptune, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus as well as carried encrypted messages from NASA so that another nation could not hack into these probes and steal their data.
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    Cassini Mission

    The Cassini Mission is still actively taking pictures of Saturn today. The Cassini mission gave many pictures and information about Saturn, its moon Titan, Venus, Earth, its moon Moon, Masursky, and Jupiter. The spacecraft was paired with both a Saturn orbiter to study saturn and a Titan probe to study Titan.
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    Space Shuttles

    These space shuttles were launched by NASA and lasted a total of 30 years. The mission directive was to bring satellites and astronauts into space, orbit around Earth and/or other planets/moons, and return safely. The total miles of the space shuttles also achieved a new world record with 148,221,675 miles on the odometer.
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    Mir was a Russian space station, as Mir means both 'space' and 'world' in the Russian language. During it's lifespan, it had two modules added: Kvant-1 (1987) and Kvant-2 (1989). As an experiment to test visibility on Earth, Mir launched the Znamya-2 and this banner is still visible to people on Earth today. It was eventually deorbitted in 2001.
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    Magellan Spacecraft

    NASA's solar system exploration division, lead by John H. Gerpheid, launched the Magellan in 1989 to explore Earth's planetary twin: Venus. NASA used radar to do this because of Venus' dense cloud cover, so normal light could not pass through. The Magellan was the first spacecraft to land on Venus and mapped 98% of its serfuce.
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    Galileo Spacecraft/Probe

    Project Gemini was a space program launched by NASA and the U.S.A.'s government. NASA wanted to know more about the planet Jupiter and wanted to know about its moons. As a part of the Space Race, NASA also wanted to take the first images of Jupiter and be the first country to land on Jupiter. Gemini specifically targeted Jovian's atmosphere, which was what eventually destroyed the Gemini spacecraft. Galileo's probe only lasted for 58 minutes in Jovian's atmosphere.
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    Hubble Space Telescope

    The Hubble Space Telescope was put together solely by the European Space Agency, Goddard Space Flight Center, the Space Telesctope Institute, and NASA. Many different countries helped piece it together, so it was not a race between various countries. Hubble is used to take pictures of space to study and constantly orbits Earth while taking pictures to get various angles of our solar system and galaxy. Hubble is still in use today.
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    N.E.A.R. Mission

    The N.E.A.R. shoemaker was created by Andrew Cheng and was launched by NASA. This was to orbit and land on Eros to study it's surface. Eros was chosen because it is the closest asteroid to Earth and the U.S.A. wanted to learn more about asteroids so that they could be prepared if an asteroid were coming towards Earth. The shoemaker accomplished this by orbiting Eros 230 times taking many pictures all the while. This was the first mission launched by NASA that was not actually led by NASA.
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    Genesis Spacecraft

    The Genesis spacecract was led by NASA and Don Burnett. In September, it crashed in Oregon. Its goal was to learn about our solar system's origin. Genesis collected the first samples of space from beyond the Moon and took elements from the Sun. It was discovered a difference in oxygen and nitrogen from the other planets and the Sun relative to Earth.
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    Mars Exploration Rover (Spirit)

    Spirit was the first of two rover launched by NASA to land on Mars. These rovers took samples of the ground on Mars and took images of Mars to expand on the information gained from the Viking probes. Spirit eventually had to end its mission due to the loss of its front wheel so that it could no longer move.
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    Mars Exploration Rover (Opportunity)

    Opportunity was the second in a series of two rovers sent to Mars by NASA. Both rovers were powered by solar energy and were oringinally sent to space to see if there was water on Mars, as the Viking probes hinted at this possibility. Opportunity is still functioning on Mars today.
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    Tiengong 3 launch date

    Tiengong 3 is a Chinese space shuttle set to be launch in 2015, although the exact launch date is unkown, as is the deorbit date. 天宫号三 [Tiengong 3] means Heavenly Palace 3 in Chinese, as it is a "Palace" [Space Station] in the "Heavens" [Space]. The reasons for its launch and creation are, as of now, unkown.