Spaceflight is the movement of spacecraft into and through outer space, primarily using rocket technology for propulsion. Spaceflight is used in space exploration, the endeavour to reach, explore, and exploit the space outside the Earth's atmosphere, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications. It is generally based on the use of rockets to transport machines, animals, and humans to, and subsequently through, space. Additional non-commercial uses of spaceflight include space observatories, reconnaissance satellites and other earth observation satellites. Objects launched into space may follow a sub-orbital trajectory and return to Earth immediately, stay in orbit around Earth, travel in the space between the planets, or aim to leave the space dominated by the Sun completely.
(X0) was the first privately funded human spaceflight
. It took place on June 21, 2004. It was the fourth powered test flight of the Tier One
program, the previous three test flights having reached much lower altitudes. The flight carried only its pilot
, Mike Melvill
, who thus became the first non-governmental astronaut
This flight was a full-altitude test. SpaceShipOne was dropped from its carrier aircraft, White Knight, at 14:50 UTC (7:50am PDT), at an altitude of 47,000 feet (14,000 m), and fired its on-board rocket for 76 seconds. It reached a peak altitude of 328,491 feet (100,124 m), becoming the first commercial manned spacecraft to cross the Kármán line. It landed safely at Mojave Air and Space Port, California, 15:14 UTC (8:14am PDT).
Flight 15P was a test flight to prepare Scaled Composites to compete for the Ansari X Prize, the prize for the first non-governmental reusable manned spacecraft. Scaled Composites would win the Ansari X Prize in October 2004 after two more successful flights.
Joseph Francis Shea
(September 5, 1925 – February 14, 1999) was an American aerospace engineer
manager. Born in the New York City borough
of the Bronx
, he was educated at the University of Michigan
, receiving a Ph.D.
in Engineering Mechanics
in 1955. After working for Bell Labs
on the radio inertial guidance system
of the Titan I intercontinental ballistic missile
, he was hired by NASA in 1961. As Deputy Director of NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight, and later as head of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, Shea played a key role in shaping the course of the Apollo program
, helping to lead NASA to the decision in favor of lunar orbit rendezvous
and supporting "all up" testing of the Saturn V
rocket. While sometimes causing controversy within the agency, Shea was remembered by his former colleague George Mueller
as "one of the greatest systems engineers
of our time".
Deeply involved in the investigation of the 1967 Apollo 1 fire, Shea suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the stress that he suffered. He was removed from his position and left NASA shortly afterwards. From 1968 until 1990 he worked as a senior manager at Raytheon in Lexington, Massachusetts, and thereafter became an adjunct professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. While Shea served as a consultant for NASA on the redesign of the International Space Station in 1993, he was forced to resign from the position due to health issues.
Next scheduled launch
On This Day
Did you know...
…that the South Korean launch system Naro-1, which made its first flight on 25 August 2009, is based on the Russian Angara (pictured)?
- …that the Vostok 4 mission was shortened because cosmonaut Pavel Romanovich Popovich accidentally told flight controllers that he was "observing thunderstorms". This was a coded signal requesting an abort because the cosmonaut was feeling ill, however Popovich was actually trying to inform ground controllers that he could see thunderstorms from space.
- …that the first words from the surface of the Moon were "Contact light, okay, engine stop", spoken by Buzz Aldrin?