Backyard Space Exploration
On a warm summer night, we set the alarm for 2:00 a.m. When the alarm sounded, my little sister and I went outside in our bare feet and sat on the ground to watch the meteor shower. It was an awesome sight seeing them streak across the sky, one after the other. That memory remains strong in my mind even though it was almost 40 years ago. Although, we knew what to expect, and knew what we were seeing, the show in the sky was captivating. One can only imagine the wonder in the minds of men who were seeing meteor showers long before there were answers to some of the universe’s many questions.
Telescopic Space Exploration
Throughout the 1600s and 1700s, strides were made in the development of telescopes advancing space exploration. The first telescope was created in 1609 when Hans Lipperhey, a Dutch lens grinder combined two lenses. That same year, Galileo Galilei built the first astronomical telescope. For the first time man observed craters on the Moon, satellites around Jupiter and, in 1610, witnessed the phases of Venus like those of the Moon. In 1668, Issac Newton built the first successful reflecting telescope. In 1781, William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus, using a mirror telescope he had constructed. In 1801, Guiseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres, the first know asteroid.
Unmanned Space Exploration Timeline
- 1783: The Montgolfière brothers build the first hot air balloons in France; balloons lifted by hydrogen followed.
- 1899: After climbing a cherry tree, Robert Goddard resolved to pursue his dream of space flight. Subsequently, he tests rockets with De-Laval nozzles in 1916 and then on March 16, 1926, launches his first liquid-fuel rocket.
- 1903, 17 December: First successful flight by the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
- 1911: Andre Bing (Belgium) patents multistage rocket.
- 1949, 24 February: "Bumper" 2-stage rocket reaches altitude of 393 km.
- 1957, 4 October: Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1.
- 1958, 31 January: Launch of Explorer 1.
- 1959, 2 January: Soviet Union launches Luna 1, comes within 6000 km of Moon; Luna 3 (October) takes picture of Moon's far side.
- 1970, 24 April: First launch of a Chinese satellite, by the Long March 1 rocket.
- 1988, 15 November: Soviet space shuttle "Buran" conducts its first (unmanned) flight.
- 1990, 2 April: U.S. deploys "Hubble" telescope in Earth orbit.
- 1990, 10 August: NASA's Magellan spacecraft enters orbit around Venus. For next 5 years, its radar altimeter maps most of the surface.
- 1995, 18-30 December: Long time exposure by the Hubble telescope ("Deep Field") reveals the most distant galaxies.
- 2002, 17 October: Following strong early hints of a black hole at the center of our galaxy, observations are reported on a star's orbit around it, suggesting the black hole has the mass of 3.7 million suns.
- 2005, January: Brown, Trujillo, and Rabinowitz discover a new planet is in our solar system (from images taken in 2003), at a distance of 97 AU, apparently larger than Pluto. It is given the name Eris.
Manned (or Animal) Space Exploration Timeline
- 1947, 14 October: Chuck Yaeger pilots X-1 rocket plane, breaks sound barrier.
- 1957, 3 November: U.S.S.R launches Sputnik 2, carrying a dog named Laika.
- 1961, 12 April: Uri Gagarin becomes first human to orbit Earth.
- 1961, 5 May: Allan Shepard becomes first American in space, completes 15-minute suborbital hop.
- 1961, 25 May: U.S. President J.F. Kennedy announces project to land human on Moon within decade.
- 1962, 20 February: John Glenn becomes first American in orbit.
- 1969, 20 July: Apollo 11 astronauts land on the Moon.
- 1970, 11 February: Japan launches first spacecraft, using Lambda 4S rocket.
- 1973, 14 May: U.S. launches Skylab space station. Astronauts soon follow.
- 1981, 12 April: First flight of the Space Shuttle.
- 1986, 28 January: U.S. loses Space shuttle Challenger with all its crew, exploding shortly after launch from Cape Canaveral.
- 2003, 1 February: Space shuttle Columbia disintegrates above Texas, during re-entry.
Future Space Exploration
In 2010, President Barack Obama outlined a new direction for human spaceflight, proposing several new programs to foster a sustainable human exploration enterprise.
OTHER PAGES ABOUT SPACE EXPLORATION
Pioneering Space! So, why did Dynetics decide to take a chance on pioneering space? I like to think in terms of logic and profits as opposed to robots and space travel. Scientists have estimated there is about 1 million tons of helium 3 on the moon and this is enough to power the world for thousands of years.
The Ansari X PRIZE was the first X PRIZE competition where a $10 million prize was awarded to the first non-government team to launch a manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks. Awarded to a team led by Scaled Composites, SpaceShipOne was the world’s first privately-built manned spacecraft to reach space.
Where is the Space Station? Internatonal Space Station Viewing - How can you find out when and where to look for the International Space Station? The International Space Station (ISS) quietly orbits the Earth about once every 90 minutes. At an altitude of roughly 200 miles, that works out to a mind-boggling speed of about 17,500 miles per hour!
Black holes in space are concentrated areas of mass whose gravitational pull is so intense that even light cannot escape it. We know black holes exist not because we can see them, but because of the impact they have on the space around them. A black hole’s mass is concentrated at a single point at its center called its singularity. Our solar system’s galaxy, the Milky Way, may contain millions of black holes.
South Pole Telescope: Now, to the casual observer, snowy and stormy Antarctica would seem to be the last place you would want to set up such a telescope. But, it is actually ideal.
Comets in Space – Where Else Would They Be? Comets are small,irregularly shaped,composed nonvolatile grains and frozen gases, diameters usually range from 2,460 feet or less to about 12 miles. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and Comet Hale-Bopp and Jupiter was first collision in our Solar System recorded by Hubble Space Telescope
Great Space Quotes that motivate the Rocket City Space Pioneers! Quotes by Dr. Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 Astronaut; US physicist and pioneer rocket engineer, Robert H. Goddard; Wernher von Braun; former NASA Administrator, Dr. Michael Griffin; Dr. Paul Spudis, Senior Staff Scientist, Lunar and Planetary Institute; Tim Pickens, Rocket City Space Pioneers Team Leader
The Chandra X-ray Observatory has returned a treasure trove of X-ray images of star clusters, supernova remnants, galactic eruptions, and collisions between galaxy clusters. Chandra has been one of NASA's most successful space science missions.
The Compton Telescope / Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO), the second of NASA's four Great Observatories, was launched in 1991 to study gamma rays, which is the most powerful form of radiation in the Universe. The other Great Observatories include the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Galileo Telescope: In the fall of 1609, Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope at the night sky for the first time and gazed upon the supposedly polished face of the moon. He was astonished by what he discovered: the surface was not smooth like glass but rather "uneven, rough, full of cavities and prominences."
James Webb Space Telescope: When NASA's $8 billion James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) lifts off aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana in 2018, it will be the culmination of 22 years of effort by scientists and engineers in 17 nations.
Before Hubble was launched in 1990, astronomers estimated the Universe was 10 to 20 billion years old. By using Hubble to measure the brightness of stars and their distance from Earth, astronomers now believe the Universe is 13.7 billion years old, plus or minus a few hundred million years.
Hubble Telescope Overview: The Hubble Space Telescope was one of the most anticipated space science missions in history when it was launched on April 25, 1990. The largest telescope ever put into orbit, Hubble would revolutionize our understanding of the Universe using its large mirror.
NASA's Great Observatories program, which launched four powerful telescopes into space, include the Hubble Space Telescope, Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space Telescope which made it possible for astronomers to observe distant stars more clearly.
NASA's Swift telescope detected a massive gamma ray burst (GRB) in the constellation Andromeda. The unusually long emission lasted at least 28 minutes. Its length and source left scientists puzzled. Astronomers quickly developed two very different theories to explain what was quickly dubbed the "Christmas burst."
A space elevator would enable us to literally climb into Earth orbit instead of blasting off aboard fiery rockets that unfortunately have a tendency to explode. Space elevators could significantly reduce the cost of getting materials and people into space. That sounds like science fiction, doesn't it?
How to buy a Telescope for Kids: Do you have a child who is really interested in space? Most manufacturers make small, high-quality telescopes for kids. These telescopes have helped generations of children to explore the Universe from their backyards.
You will see thousands of stars in space if you go outside on a clear, moonless night and look up into the sky. Depending upon the season, you will see the Little Dipper, Big Dipper, Canis Major, Cetus, Eridanus, Gemini, Orion, Perseus, and Taurus.
SpaceShipOne (aka Space Ship One, Spaceship One, Spaceship 1) was the creation of legendary designer Burt Rutan. Rutan became famous for building the Voyager aircraft that completed the first circumnavigation of the globe without refueling in 1986.
"5...4....3...2...1...release!" You feel a jolt as Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo drops from its WhiteKnightTwo mothership at 50,000 feet over New Mexico. Sunlight floods the cabin as you watch WhiteKnightTwo disappear through the overhead window.
The Spitzer Space Telescope was the last – but certainly not the least – of NASA's four Great Observatories. The telescope is named after the late Lyman Spitzer, a Princeton University astrophysics professor who proposed sending a large telescope into space in 1946.
The presence of helium in the sun is crucial to life on Earth. A nuclear fusion reaction at the sun's core transforms hydrogen into helium to provide power. The reaction takes place under intense pressures and at a temperature of 27 million degrees Fahrenheit.
Helium Balloons for Near-Space Tourism: Imagine floating 22 miles (36 km) above the Earth in a cabin suspended under an enormous helium balloon. You eat a gourmet meal and sip wine as the planet drifts by far below. The curvature of the Earth stretches out to the horizon, providing a spectacular backdrop for your three-hour trip.