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.
was the third mission of the US/Russian Shuttle-Mir Program
and the first Space Shuttle
docking to Russian space station Mir
. It started on June 27, 1995 with the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis
from launch pad 39A
at the Kennedy Space Center
As part of the mission, Atlantis engaged in the Shuttle program's first space station crew transfer. The shuttle delivered the Mir Expedition 19 crew of Anatoly Solovyev and Nikolai Budarin; and returned the Expedition 18 crew of cosmonauts Gennadi Strekalov and Vladimir Dezhurov, and astronaut Norman Thagard. It was the first of seven straight missions to Mir flown by Atlantis.
For the five days the shuttle was docked to Mir they were the largest spacecraft in orbit at the time. In addition to the crew transfer, STS-71 marked the first docking of a space shuttle to a space station, and the 100th manned space launch by the United States. The mission carried Spacelab, and included a logistical resupply of Mir. Together the shuttle and station crews conducted various on-orbit joint US/Russian life science investigations with Spacelab along with the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment-II (SAREX-II) experiment.
Atlantis returned to Earth on July 7, becoming the first mission to land with a crew of eight since STS-61-A in 1985.
Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin (9 March 1934 – 27 March 1968) was a Soviet cosmonaut and the first human to orbit the earth. Yuri Gagarin joined the Soviet Air Force in 1955 and graduated with honors from the Soviet Air Force Academy in 1957. Soon afterward, he became a military fighter pilot. By 1959, he had been selected for cosmonaut training as part of the first group of USSR cosmonauts. Yuri Gagarin flew only one space mission. On April 12, 1961 he became the first human to orbit Earth. Gagarin's spacecraft, Vostok 1, circled Earth at a speed of 27,400 kilometers per hour. The flight lasted 108 minutes. At its highest point, Gagarin was about 200 miles (327 kilometers) above Earth. Once in orbit, Yuri Gagarin had no control over his spacecraft. Vostok's reentry was controlled by a computer program sending radio commands to the space capsule. Although the controls were locked, a key had been placed in a sealed envelope in case an emergency situation made it necessary for Gagarin to take control. As was planned, Cosmonaut Gagarin ejected after reentry into Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of 20,000 feet and landed by parachute. As pilot of the spaceship Vostok 1, he proved that man could endure the rigors of lift-off, re-entry, and weightlessness. As a result of his historic flight he became an international hero and legend. Colonel Gagarin died on March 27, 1968 when the MiG-15 airplane he was piloting crashed near Moscow. He was given a hero's funeral, his ashes interred in the Kremlin Wall. He is popularly known as “The Columbus of the Cosmos”.
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On This Day
Did you know...
...that engineers claim the Ares I rocket (pictured) would be more aerodynamically stable if flying backwards than in the normal direction?