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Advances in Astronomy Print Page

Space Exploration

  • Apollo Project: Topic Page
    US space project to land a person on the Moon, achieved on 20 July 1969, when Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot there.
  • Challenger
    From Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
    The name of the US space shuttle that on 28 January 1986 exploded 73 seconds after blast-off from Cape Canaveral, instantly killing all seven astronauts, including a high-school teacher, Christa McAuliffe, the first private citizen to take part in the US shuttle programme.
  • Gemini project
    From Collins Dictionary of Astronomy
    A series of US space missions that extended the knowledge gained from the Mercury project and preceded the Apollo program. The project demonstrated that humans could function effectively over long periods of weightlessness, both inside and outside a spacecraft.
  • International Space Station: Topic Page
    430-tonne orbiting space station being constructed by the USA, Russia, Japan, Canada, Brazil, and the 17 member nations of the European Space Agency.
  • Mir Space Station: Topic Page
    Russian space station, the core of which was launched on 20 February 1986.
  • NASA: Topic Page
    US government agency for space flight and aeronautical research.
  • Skylab
    From Astronomy Encyclopedia
    First US SPACE STATION . Skylab was developed from the third stage of the SATURN V rocket. The 75-tonne station was launched into a near circular orbit 433 km (270 mi) above the Earth's surface on 1973 May 14.
  • Soyuz program
    From Collins Dictionary of Astronomy
    A series of Soviet crewed spacecraft, the first of which – Soyuz 1 – was launched Apr. 23 1967. The flight of Soyuz 1 ended tragically when its parachute became entangled during reentry and it crashed in Kazakhstan, killing its cosmonaut pilot Vladimir Komarov, the first person to die during a space mission.
  • Space Shuttle: Topic Page
    A reusable manned vehicle that takes off like a rocket but lands on a runway like an aircraft and which is designed to travel into space.
  • Space Station: Topic Page
    A large orbiting artificial satellite, where crews of astronauts can live and carry out scientific and technological research in space over periods of weeks or months.
  • Sputnik
    From Collins Dictionary of Astronomy
    Any of a series of Soviet artificial satellites, the first of which – Sputnik 1 – was the first spacecraft to be placed in orbit. This 58-cm diameter sphere, weighing 84 kg, was launched on Oct. 4 1957; it burnt up in the Earth's atmosphere 92 days later.


  • Buzz Aldrin (1930 - )
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    (Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr.), American astronaut, b. Montclair, N.J. After graduating from West Point (1951), Aldrin joined the U.S. air force and flew 66 combat missions during the Korean War.
  • Neil Armstrong (1930 - ): Topic Page
    American astronaut, born in Wapakoneta, Ohio. A U.S. Navy fighter pilot during the Korean War, Armstrong became a test pilot for what was then the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics in 1955.
  • Yuri Gagarin (1934 - 1968)
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    Russian astronaut (cosmonaut), b. near Gzhatsk, RSFSR. He was the first in history to be rocketed into orbital space flight. His flight on Apr. 12, 1961, lasted 1 hr. 48 min. and circled the earth once.
  • John Glenn (1921 - 2016 )
    born , July 18, 1921, Cambridge, Ohio, U.S.—died Dec. 8, 2016, Columbus, Ohio) U.S. astronaut and senator. He flew 59 missions as a Marine Corps pilot in World War II and 90 during the Korean War. The oldest of the seven astronauts selected in 1959 for the Mercury project’s spaceflight training, he was a backup pilot for Alan B. Shepard and Virgil I. Grissom (1926–67), who made the first two U.S. suborbital flights into space. Glenn was selected for the orbital flight, and in February 1962 his space capsule, Friendship 7, was launched and made three orbits. He retired from the space program in 1964 and pursued his interest in politics, serving as a U.S. senator from Ohio (1975–99). In 1998, at age 77, he made his second spaceflight (as part of the crew of the space shuttle Discovery), becoming the oldest person to go into space.
  • Judith Resnik (1949 - 1986)
    US astronaut. She flew on the Discovery space shuttle mission in August–September 1984 during which three satellites were deployed. She was killed along with six fellow crew members on the Challenger space shuttle when it exploded soon after its launch on 28 January 1986. Resnik was a NASA support engineer working on the sounding rocket and telemetry system programmes before her selection as an astronaut in 1978.
  • Sally Ride (1951 - )
    From The Penguin Biographical Dictionary of Women
    In 1983 Sally Ride became the first American woman in space – a distinction she earned on account of her scientific record, good team work, and talent for calm problem solving.
  • Alan Shepard (1923 - 1998)
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    American astronaut. He served on a destroyer during World War II and later had extensive experience as a test pilot. On May 5, 1961, under the U.S. space program Project Mercury, he became the first American to be launched into space.
  • Valentina Tereshkova (1937 - )
    From The Penguin Biographical Dictionary of Women
    Valentina Tereshkova made history in 1963 when she became the first woman ever to fly in space. Born near Yaroslavl, the daughter of a farmer, she worked in a cotton mill and was an avid amateur parachutist with 126 jumps to her credit.
  • Wernher von Braun (1912 - 1977): Topic Page
    U.S. rocket engineer, born in Germany, where he designed the V-2 missile used in World War II. In the U.S. he worked on the Apollo project.

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