Intercontinental Ballistic Missile:
An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a guided ballistic missile with a minimum range of 5,500 kilometres (3,400 mi) primarily designed for nuclear weapons delivery (delivering one or more thermonuclear warheads). Similarly, conventional, chemical, and biological weapons can also be delivered with varying effectiveness, but have never been deployed on ICBMs. Most modern designs support multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), allowing a single missile to carry several warheads, each of which can strike a different target.
In the USSR, early development was focused on missiles able to attack European targets. This changed in 1953 when Sergei Korolyov was directed to start development of a true ICBM able to deliver newly developed hydrogen bombs. Given steady funding throughout, the R-7 developed with some speed. The first launch took place on 15 May 1957 and led to an unintended crash 400 km (250 mi) from the site. The first successful test followed on 21 August 1957; the R-7 flew over 6,000 km (3,700 mi) and became the world’s first ICBM. The first strategic-missile unit became operational on 9 February 1959 at Plesetsk in north-west Russia.
Sputnik 1 was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957, orbiting for three weeks. It was a 58 cm (23 in) diameter polished metal sphere, with four external radio antennas to broadcast radio pulses. Sputnik 1 was launched from Site the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The signals continued for 21 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on 26 October 1957. Sputnik burned up on 4 January 1958 while reentering Earth’s atmosphere, after three months, 1440 completed orbits of the Earth, and a distance travelled of about 70 million km (43 million mi).
Sputnik 2 was launched on November 3, 1957 by the U.S.S.R. Sputnik 2 was a 4-meter (13 foot) high cone-shaped capsule with a base diameter of 2 meters (6.6 feet) that weighed around 500 kg, though it was not designed to separate from the rocket core that brought it to orbit, bringing the total mass in orbit to 7.79 tons. It contained several compartments for radio transmitters, a telemetry system, a programming unit, a regeneration and temperature-control system for the cabin, and scientific instruments. A separate sealed cabin contained the dog Laika.
Explorer 1 was the first satellite of the United States, launched on February 1, 1958. The mission followed the first two satellites the previous year; the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 and 2, beginning the Cold War Space Race between the two nations. It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt, returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months.
Luna 1, also known as Mechta (First Lunar Rover) was the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Earth’s Moon, and the first spacecraft to be placed in heliocentric orbit. Luna 1 was launched as part of the Soviet Luna programme in 1959, however due to an incorrectly timed upper stage burn during its launch, it missed the Moon, in the process becoming the first spacecraft to leave geocentric orbit. Luna 1 was launched on January 2, 1959
Explorer 6, or S-2, was an American satellite launched on August 7, 1959. It was a small, spheroidal satellite designed to study trapped radiation of various energies, galactic cosmic rays, geomagnetism, radio propagation in the upper atmosphere, and the flux of micrometeorites. It also tested a scanning device designed for photographing the Earth’s cloud cover, and transmitted the first pictures of Earth from orbit. The satellite’s orbit decayed on July 1, 1961.
Pioneer 5 was a spin-stabilized space probe in the NASA Pioneer program used to investigate interplanetary space between the orbits of Earth and Venus. It was launched on March 11, 1960 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex with an on-orbit dry mass of 43 kg.
Mercury-Redstone 3, or Freedom 7, was the first United States human spaceflight, on May 5, 1961, piloted by astronaut Alan Shepard. It was the first manned flight of Project Mercury, the objective of which was to put an astronaut into orbit around the Earth and return him safely. Shepard’s mission was a 15-minute suborbital flight with the primary objective of demonstrating his ability to withstand the high g-forces of launch and atmospheric re-entry.
Vostok 1 was the first spaceflight of the Vostok programme and the first manned spaceflight in history. The Vostok 3KA space capsule was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 12, 1961, with Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard, making him the first human to cross into outer space. The orbital spaceflight consisted of a single orbit around Earth which skimmed the upper atmosphere at 169 kilometers (91 nautical miles) at its lowest point. The flight took 108 minutes from launch to landing. Gagarin parachuted to the ground separately from his capsule after ejecting at 7 km (23,000 ft) altitude.
Vostok 6 was the first human spaceflight to carry a woman, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, into space. The spacecraft was launched on June 16, 1963. While Vostok 5 had been delayed by technical problems, Vostok 6’s launch proceeded with no difficulties.
Gemini 3 was the first manned mission in NASA’s Gemini program, the second American manned space program. On March 23, 1965, astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young flew three low Earth orbits in their spacecraft, which they nicknamed Molly Brown. This was the ninth manned US spaceflight (including two X-15 flights over 100 kilometers), and the 17th world human spaceflight including eight Soviet flights. It was also the final manned flight controlled from Cape Kennedy Air Force Station in Florida, before mission control functions were shifted to a new control center located at the newly opened Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas.
Luna 9 was an unmanned space mission of the Soviet Union’s Luna programme. On 3 February 1966 the Luna 9 spacecraft became the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on the Moon. The lander had a mass of 99 kilograms (218 lb). It used a landing bag to survive the impact speed of 22 kilometres per hour (6.1 m/s; 14 mph). It was a hermetically sealed container with radio equipment, a program timing device, heat control systems, scientific apparatus, power sources, and a television system.
Apollo 8, the second manned spaceflight mission in the United States Apollo space program, was launched on December 21, 1968, and became the first manned spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit, reach the Earth’s Moon, orbit it and return safely to Earth. The three-astronaut crew — Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders — became the first humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit. The 1968 mission, the third flight of the Saturn V rocket and that rocket’s first crewed launch, was also the first human spaceflight launch from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, located adjacent to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two people on the Moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin, both American, landed the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969. Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface six hours after landing on July 21, Aldrin joined him about 20 minutes later. They spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft, and collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Michael Collins piloted the command module Columbia alone in lunar orbit while they were on the Moon’s surface. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21.5 hours on the lunar surface before rejoining Columbia in lunar orbit. Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16 and was the fifth crewed mission of NASA’s Apollo program.
Mars 3 was an unmanned space probe of the Soviet Mars program which spanned the years between 1960 and 1973. Mars 3 was launched May 28, 1971, nine days after its twin spacecraft Mars 2. The probes were identical robotic spacecraft launched by Proton-K rockets with a Blok D upper stage, each consisting of an orbiter and an attached lander. After the Mars 2 lander crashed on the martian surface, Mars 3 lander became the first spacecraft to attain soft landing on Mars on 2 December 1971. It failed shortly after landing.
Pioneer 10 is an American space probe, launched on March 2, 1972 that completed the first mission to the planet Jupiter. Thereafter, Pioneer 10 became the first of five artificial objects to achieve the escape velocity that will allow them to leave the Solar System. This space exploration project was conducted by the NASA Ames Research Center in California, and the space probe was manufactured by TRW Inc.
The mission objectives were to measure Mercury’s environment, atmosphere, surface, and body characteristics and to make similar investigations of Venus. Mariner 10 was launched on November 3, 1973
Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977. Part of the Voyager program to study the outer Solar System, Voyager 1 launched 16 days after its twin, Voyager 2. Having operated for 41 years, 1 month and 16 days as of October 21, 2018, the spacecraft still communicates with the Deep Space Network to receive routine commands and return data. At a distance of 142.31 astronomical units from the Sun as of June 4, 2018, it is the most distant man-made object from Earth.
Salyut 1 was the first space station of any kind, launched into low Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on April 19, 1971. The Salyut program followed this with five more successful launches out of seven more stations. The final module of the program, Zvezda (DOS-8) became the core of the Russian segment of the International Space Station and remains in orbit. The earlier Soviet stations were all designated “Salyut”, but among these there were two distinct types: civilian and military.
Skylab was a United States space station launched and operated by NASA, and occupied for about 24 weeks between May 1973 and February 1974 – the only space station the U.S. has operated exclusively. In 1979 it fell back to Earth amid huge worldwide media attention. Skylab was launched on May 14, 1973
Mir space station was launched on 20 February 1986. Mir was a space station that operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, operated by the Soviet Union and later by Russia. Mir was the first modular space station and was assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996. It had a greater mass than any previous spacecraft. At the time it was the largest artificial satellite in orbit, succeeded by the International Space Station (ISS) after Mir’s orbit decayed. The station served as a microgravity research laboratory in which crews conducted experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and spacecraft systems with a goal of developing technologies required for permanent occupation of space.
International Space Station:
The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, and the last pressurised module was fitted in 2011. The station is expected to operate until at least 2028. Development and assembly of the station continues, with components scheduled for launch in 2018 and 2019. The ISS is the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth. The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays, and other components. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets, and American Space Shuttles.
China’s first space laboratory, Tiangong-1 was launched in September 2011. The uncrewed Shenzhou 8 then successfully performed an automatic rendezvous and docking in November 2011. The crewed Shenzhou 9 then docked with Tiangong-1 in June 2012, the crewed Shenzhou 10 in 2013. Tiangong-2 was launched in September 2016; a planned Tiangong-3 was merged with Tiangong-2 and therefore not ordered.
Hubble Space Telescope:
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in April 24, 1990 and remains in operation. Although not the first space telescope, Hubble is one of the largest and most versatile and is well known as both a vital research tool and a public relations boon for astronomy. The HST is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble and is one of NASA’s Great Observatories, along with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Space Shuttle Discovery:
Space Shuttle Discovery is one of the orbiters from NASA’s Space Shuttle program and the third of five fully operational orbiters to be built. Its first mission, STS-41-D, flew from August 30 to September 5, 1984. Over 27 years of service it launched and landed 39 times, gathering more spaceflights than any other spacecraft to date. Discovery became the third operational orbiter to enter service, preceded by Columbia and Challenger. Its last flight was on February 24, 2011 to March 9, 2011
Space Shuttle Atlantis:
Space Shuttle Atlantis (First flight: 3–7 October 1985 & Last flight: 8–21 July 2011) is a Space Shuttle orbiter vehicle belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the spaceflight and space exploration agency of the United States. Constructed by the Rockwell International company in Southern California and delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in Eastern Florida in April 1985, Atlantis is the fourth operational and the second-to-last Space Shuttle built. Its maiden flight was STS-51-J from 3 to 7 October 1985.
Space Shuttle Endeavour:
Space Shuttle Endeavour (First flight: May 7, 1992 – May 16, 1992& Last flight: May 16, 2011 – June 1, 2011) is a retired orbiter from NASA’s Space Shuttle program and the fifth and final operational shuttle built. Atlantis became the last shuttle to fly. The United States Congress approved the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in 1986.
Space Shuttle Columbia:
Space Shuttle Columbia (First flight: April 12, 1981 – April 14, 1981 & Last flight: January 16, 2003 – February 1, 2003) was the first space-rated orbiter in NASA’s Space Shuttle fleet. It launched for the first time on mission STS-1 on April 12, 1981, the first flight of the Space Shuttle program. Over 22 years of service, it completed 27 missions before disintegrating during re-entry near the end of its 28th mission, STS-107 on February 1, 2003, resulting in the deaths of all seven crew members.
Space Shuttle Challenger:
Space Shuttle Challenger (First flight: April 4–9, 1983 & Last flight: January 28, 1986) was the second orbiter of NASA’s space shuttle program to be put into service, after Columbia. Challenger was built by Rockwell International’s Space Transportation Systems Division, in Downey, California. Its maiden flight, STS-6, began on April 4, 1983.
Space Shuttle Columbia disaster:
On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. The disaster was the second fatal accident in the Space Shuttle program after Space Shuttle Challenger, which broke apart and killed the seven-member crew 73 seconds after liftoff in 1986.
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster:
On January 28, 1986, the NASA shuttle orbiter mission STS-51-L and the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-99) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members, which consisted of five NASA astronauts and two payload specialists. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Mars Pathfinder is an American robotic spacecraft that landed a base station with a roving probe on Mars in 1997. It consisted of a lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, and a lightweight wheeled robotic Mars rover named Sojourner, which became the first rover to operate outside the Earth–Moon system. Launched on December 4, 1996 by NASA aboard a Delta II booster a month after the Mars Global Surveyor was launched, it landed on July 4, 1997 on Mars’s Ares Vallis, in a region called Chryse Planitia in the Oxia Palus quadrangle.
The Cassini–Huygens mission, commonly called Cassini, was a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to send a probe to study the planet Saturn and its system, including its rings and natural satellites. Launched aboard a Titan IVB/Centaur on October 15, 1997, Cassini was active in space for nearly 20 years, with 13 years spent orbiting Saturn, studying the planet and its system after entering orbit on July 1, 2004.
A major component of the Space Shuttle Program was Spacelab, primarily contributed by a consortium of European countries, and operated in conjunction with the United States and international partners. Over 29 missions flew on subjects ranging from astronomy, microgravity, radar, and life sciences, to name a few. Spacelab hardware also supported missions such as Hubble (HST) servicing and space station resupply. The first full mission was Spacelab-1 (STS-9) launched on November 28, 1983.
Spacelab formally began in 1973, after a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, by European heads of state. Within the decade, Spacelab went into orbit and provided Europe and the United States with an orbital workshop and hardware system. International cooperation, science, and exploration were realized on Spacelab.
Kepler is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. Named after astronomer Johannes Kepler, the spacecraft was launched on March 7, 2009, into an Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit. The principal investigator was William J. Borucki. Designed to survey a portion of our region of the Milky Way to discover Earth-size exoplanets in or near habitable zones and estimate how many of the billions of stars in the Milky Way have such planets, Kepler’s sole scientific instrument is a photometer that continually monitors the brightness of approx 150,000 main sequence stars in a fixed field of view. These data are transmitted to Earth, then analyzed to detect periodic dimming caused by exoplanets that cross in front of their host star.
Messenger was Launched on August 3, 2004. Messenger was a NASA robotic spacecraft that orbited the planet Mercury between 2011 and 2015. The spacecraft was launched aboard a Delta II rocket in August 2004 to study Mercury’s chemical composition, geology, and magnetic field.
The instruments carried by MESSENGER were used on a complex series of flybys – the spacecraft flew by Earth once, Venus twice, and Mercury itself three times, allowing it to decelerate relative to Mercury using minimal fuel. It successfully completed its primary mission in 2012.
New Horizons is an interplanetary space probe that was launched as a part of NASA’s New Frontiers program. Engineered by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), with a team led by S. Alan Stern. On January 19, 2006, New Horizons was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station by an Atlas V rocket directly into an Earth-and-solar escape trajectory with a speed of about 16.26 kilometers per second.
Falcon 9 first-stage landing tests:
The first stage of Falcon 9 flight 20 successfully landed for the first time on a ground pad at Landing Zone 1, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, after propelling 11 Orbcomm OG2 satellites to orbit. The Falcon 9 first-stage landing tests were a series of controlled-descent flight tests conducted by SpaceX between 2013 and 2016. Since 2017, the first stage of Falcon 9 missions has been routinely landed if the rocket performance allowed it, and if SpaceX chose to recover the stage.
Schiaparelli EDM lander:
Schiaparelli EDM lander was the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM) of the ExoMars programme—a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian space agency Roscosmos. It was built in Italy and was intended to test technology for future soft landings on the surface of Mars. It also had a limited but focused science payload that would have measured atmospheric electricity on Mars and local meteorological conditions. Launched together with the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter on 14 March 2016, Schiaparelli attempted a landing on 19 October 2016.
Syncom started as a 1961 NASA program for active geosynchronous communication satellites, all of which were developed and manufactured by Hughes Space and Communications. Syncom 2, launched in 1963, was the world’s first geosynchronous communications satellite. Syncom 3, launched in 1964, was the world’s first geostationary satellite. In the 1980s, the series was continued as Syncom IV with some much larger satellites, also manufactured by Hughes. They were leased to the United States military under the Leasat program.
Vanguard 2 or Vanguard II is an Earth-orbiting satellite launched February 17, 1959, aboard a Vanguard SLV 4 rocket as part of the United States Navy’s Project Vanguard. The success of this launch was an important part of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Vanguard 2 was the first weather satellite. The satellite was designed to measure cloud-cover distribution over the daylight portion of its orbit, for a period of 19 days, and to provide information on the density of the atmosphere for the lifetime of its orbit (about 300 years).
Project SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) was the world’s first communications satellite. Launched aboard an American Atlas rocket on December 18, 1958 by USA, SCORE provided a first test of a communications relay system in space, as well as the first successful use of the Atlas as a launch vehicle.
Parker Solar Probe:
Parker Solar Probe is a NASA robotic spacecraft en route to probe the outer corona of the Sun. It will approach to within 9.86 solar radii (6.9 million kilometers or 4.3 million miles) from the center of the Sun and will travel, at closest approach, as fast as 690,000 km/h (430,000 mph). Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory designed and built the spacecraft, which was launched on August 12, 2018. It became the first NASA spacecraft named after a living person, honoring physicist Eugene Parker, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago.
Chang’e 5 is a robotic Chinese lunar exploration mission currently under development, forecast for a Moon landing in 2019 after being postponed due to the failure of the Long March 5 launch vehicle in 2017. Chang’e 5 will be China’s first sample return mission, aiming to return at least 2 kilograms of lunar soil and rock samples back to the Earth. Like its predecessors, the spacecraft is named after the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e. This will be the first Lunar sample-return mission since Luna 24 in 1976.
Chang’e 4 is a planned Chinese lunar exploration mission, to be launched in December 2018, that will incorporate an orbiter, a robotic lander and rover. Chang’e 4 will be China’s second lunar lander and rover. It was built as a backup to Chang’e 3, as Chang’e 2 was to Chang’e 1. Following the successful landing of the Chang’e 3 mission, the configuration of Chang’e 4 will be adjusted to meet new scientific objectives. Like its predecessors, the spacecraft is named after Chang’e, the Chinese Moon goddess.
Mars 2020 is a Mars rover mission by NASA’s Mars Exploration Program with a planned launch in July 2020. It will investigate an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars, investigate its surface geological processes and history, including the assessment of its past habitability, the possibility of past life on Mars, and the potential for preservation of biosignatures within accessible geological materials.
Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov is a retired Soviet/Russian cosmonaut, Air Force Major general, writer and artist. On 18 March 1965, he became the first human to conduct extravehicular activity (EVA), exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for a 12-minute spacewalk. Alexei Arkhipovich was the first person to step out of a spacecraft and walk in space.
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He became the first human to journey into outer space when his Vostok spacecraft completed one orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, his nation’s highest honour.
Rear Admiral Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. was an American astronaut, naval aviator, test pilot, and businessman. In 1961 he became the first American to travel into space, and in 1971 he walked on the Moon.
Neil Alden Armstrong (born August 5, 1930 – died August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut and aeronautical engineer who was the first person to walk on the Moon. He was also a naval aviator, test pilot, and university professor.
Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in the second group, which was selected in 1962. He made his first spaceflight as commander of Gemini 8 in March 1966, becoming NASA’s first civilian astronaut to fly in space. In July 1969, Armstrong and Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin performed the first manned Moon landing, and spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the Command/Service Module.
Michael Collins (astronaut):
Michael Collins is an American former astronaut and test pilot. Selected as part of the third group of fourteen astronauts in 1963, he flew into space twice. His first spaceflight was on Gemini 10, in which he and Command Pilot John Young performed two rendezvous with different spacecraft and undertook two extra-vehicular activities (EVAs, also known as spacewalks). His second spaceflight was as the Command Module Pilot for Apollo 11. While he stayed in orbit around the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left in the Lunar Module to make the first manned landing on its surface. He is one of 24 people to have flown to the Moon.
Buzz Aldrin is an American engineer, former astronaut, and Command Pilot in the United States Air Force. As Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 11 mission, he and mission commander Neil Armstrong were the first two humans to land on the Moon, while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the Command/Service Module.
Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission:
The Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) is an executive and bureaucratic space agency of the Government of Pakistan, responsible for the nation’s public and civil space programme and for aeronautics and aerospace research. Established in its modern form on 16 September 1961 by an executive order of President of Pakistan, it is headquartered in Karachi, Sindh Province of Pakistan.