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Key Missions in Space Exploration

Some details and interesting videos about space exploration to date
by

Barry Heffernan

on 6 October 2013

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Transcript of Key Missions in Space Exploration

6 August 2012 - Nuclear-powered NASA rover successfully lands on Mars to seek out life clues

18 March 2011 - First orbit of Mercury



13 June 2010 - First sample return from asteroid (25143 Itokawa)


6 March 2009 - Kepler Mission is launched, first space telescope designated to search for Earth-like exoplanets[5


September 30, 2004--SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately built craft to reach outer space.
January 2004--Spirit and Opportunity arrive on the Martian surface. They continue to explore the Red Planet today.
June 10 and July 7, 2003--Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity launch
November 20, 1998--First piece of the International Space Station is launched.
December 4, 1996--Launch of Mars Pathfinder
February 3-11, 1994--Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev becomes the first Russian to fly aboard a U.S. space shuttle.
February 19, 1986--Mir space station launches.
August 30, 1983--Guion S. Bluford, Jr., becomes first black man in space with launch of shuttle mission STS-8 aboard the space shuttle Challenger

June 18, 1983--Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space with launch of shuttle mission STS-7 aboard the space shuttle Challenger
May 20, 1978--Launch of the first of two spacecraft called Pioneer Venus, which would study the Venusian atmosphere.
September 5, 1977--Launch of Voyager 1
July 15, 1975--Apollo-Soyuz Test Project is the first international manned space flight to test out cooperated space rescue and docking.


July 20, 1969--Astronauts Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Neil Armstrong become the first men to walk on the moon.
July 16, 1969--Launch of Apollo 11
October 1, 1958--NASA is formed after Congress passes the National Aeronautics and Space Act.
January 31, 1958--United States launches Explorer I from Cape Canaveral in Florida

November 3, 1957--Sputnik II launches, with ill-fated Laika the dog on board.
October 4, 1957--Soviet Union launches Sputnik I.
August 4, 2007--Phoenix lander launches on its way to explore the northern pole of Mars.
The accident was later attributed to damage sustained to foam insulation and has led NASA to understand how to safely repair similar damage on later missions.
February 1, 2003--Crew of seven astronauts, including the first Israeli astronaut, is lost after a 16-day mission when the Columbia space shuttle explodes on re-entry.
They are the first people to take up residence at the ISS, staying there for several months
November 2, 2000--The crew of Expedition One, astronaut Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, dock at the International Space Station.

July 4, 1997--Pathfinder lands on Mars. The rover Sojourner would go on to explore the Martian surface for more than 80 days.
March 14, 1995--Astronaut Norman Thagard launched with Cosmonauts Vladimir Dezhurov and Gennady Strekalov aboard a Russian Soyuz to spend 115 days on Mir.
It took Galileo six years to reach Jupiter, and it finally disintegrated in Jupiter's atmosphere in September of 2003, 14 years after it began its collision course toward the giant planet.
October 18, 1989--Space shuttle Atlantis launches Galileo to study Jupiter and its moons.
January 28, 1986--First major catastrophe for NASA, when space shuttle Challenger (mission STS-51L) explodes 73 seconds after takeoff with seven crew members aboard
April 12, 1981--Aboard the space shuttle Columbia, Robert L. Crippen and John W. Young make the first mission in NASA's space shuttle program.
Viking 2 would launch a few weeks later. Both landed safely on Mars and for six years sent back the first set of images and data from the Martian surface.
August 20, 1975--Launch of Viking 1, the first orbiter and lander sent to Mars.
May 14, 1973--United States launches its first experimental space station, the Skylab.
Earth's first space probe to an outer planet, the first spacecraft to travel through the asteroid belt, the first spacecraft to make direct observations and obtain close-up images of Jupiter, and the first man-made object to leave the solar system. Pioneer 10 sent its last communication back to Earth on January 22, 2003, while 7.6 billion miles from home.
March 2, 1972--Launch of unmanned Pioneer 10:

November 9, 1967--First test flight of the Saturn V rocket, which would carry dozens of spacecraft into space in the years to come
Virgil Grissom, who had participated in Mercury and Gemini flights; Edward White, who conducted NASA's first extravehicular activity; and new astronaut Roger Chaffee. The mission, one of NASA's first major setbacks, was later renamed Apollo 1.
January 27, 1967--Mission AS-204 is struck by tragedy when a flash fire breaks out during a launch pad test, killing three astronauts:
Total flight time was just shy of five hours.
February 20, 1962--Launch of Friendship 7 (also part of the Mercury Project) makes astronaut John Glenn the first American to go into orbit.
May 25, 1961--U.S. President John F. Kennedy announces the goal of sending astronauts to the moon before the end of the decade.
The suborbital flight, which was part of the Mercury Project, lasted 15 minutes, 28 seconds.
May 5, 1961--With the launch of Freedom 7, Alan Shepard becomes the first American man in space.
April 12, 1961--Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to enter space and return safely.
Key Missions in Space Exploration

Despite the landing, scientists still managed to recover and study the samples.
September 8, 2004--After capturing particles from the sun, Genesis makes a dramatic crash landing in Utah when its parachute fails to deploy.

Genesis would be the first attempt to return samples to Earth since the Apollo moon mission in 1972.
August 8, 2001--Launch of Genesis, which would collect samples of atoms from solar wind.
Voyagers 1 and 2 continue to send back pictures and data today, 30 years later from nearly 10 billion miles away.
August 20, 1977--Launch of Voyager 2, one of a pair of spacecraft sent by NASA on what was supposed to be a five-year mission to study Jupiter and Saturn.
As well as study how humans could handle long-term exposure to a space environment.
Gemini would be the critical link between the early Mercury Project and the Apollo missions.
August 21, 1965--Launch of Gemini 5, carrying astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad on an eight-day mission to test rendezvous guidance and navigation systems
16 June 1963 First woman in space - Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (pilot) in Vostok 6
In order to join the Cosmonaut Corps, Tereshkova was only honorarily inducted into the Soviet Air Force
She also became the first civilian to fly in space.
During her three-day mission, she performed various tests on herself to collect data on the female body's reaction to spaceflight.
Apollo 17 was the final mission of the United States' Apollo lunar landing program, and was the sixth landing of humans on the Moon.
It had a three-member crew consisting of Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt.
Apollo 17 remains the most recent manned Moon landing and the most recent crewed flight beyond low Earth orbit
Apollo 17 Last Moon Mission - Launched December 7, 1972.
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