History. of Lunar. Exploration. By Ian Lambert. Centuries of Exploration. For hundreds of years, the telescope was the main way to observe the moon.
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For hundreds of years, the telescope was the main way to observe the moon.
The first advancement past the telescope was in 1959 when a spacecraft from Earth flew past the moon and sent data back to Earth about the moon.
The Luna series was a series of lunar probes sent out by the former Soviet Union.
Luna 1 had the first successful flyby before going into orbit around the sun.
Luna 2 crashed into the moon.
Luna 3 orbited the moon and sent the first close up pictures of the moon’s surface and the first pictures of the far side of the moon.
Pioneer space probes
The Pioneer space probes were launched by the United States the same time the Luna space probes were in progress.
All Pioneers 1,2, and 3 were successful in their mission.
Pioneer 4 reached escape velocity from Earth and sent data back to Earth as it passed the moon.
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy made it a national goal to land an astronaut on the moon and return the astronaut safely to Earth.
The lunar probes Ranger and Surveyor were sent to search for a safe landing site on the moon. They were designed to send back pictures of the moon’s surface then crash into it.
Soviet Union Progress
The former Soviet Union had orbited a cosmonaut and also had a cosmonaut, Gherman Titov, complete a 17 orbit flight that lasted over 25 hours.
This all took place while U.S. astronauts were still preparing for their first orbital flight.
Mercury and Gemini part I
The first American spacecraft to carry astronauts was called Mercury.
Alan Shepard flew the first flight of nine flights of Mercury.
John Glenn, in Mercury 6, became the first American to orbit Earth. He orbited Earth 3 times in almost 5 hours.
The final flight of the series, mercury 9, completed 22 orbits and lasted over 34 hours.
Mercury and Gemini part II
The Gemini spacecraft was designed for two astronauts.
Ten missions were flown in Gemini from March 1965 to November 1966.
The two purposes of the missions were to find if a human could survive and work in the weightlessness of space for ten days (which is the amount of time needed to fly to the moon and back) and to train astronauts to maneuver the spacecraft.
APOLLO missions (1963-72)
The purpose of the Apollo missions was to achieved the goal of landing an astronaut on the moon and bringing them back to Earth safely.
There were 12 Apollo missions. 6 landed on the moon and returned safely. Others orbited Earth or the moon. Only one mission was unsuccessful in accomplishing either of the two.
APOLLO 1 and 7
The first Apollo mission (Apollo 1) was a disastrous mission where 3 astronauts died in a fire during a flight pretest.
The next manned mission was Apollo 7. Apollo 7 carried a lunar module pilot but no lunar module. Apollo 7 spent more time in space than all the Soviet space flights combined up to that time.
APOLLO 8,9, and 10
Apollo 8 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after traveling over 500,000 miles and orbiting the moon ten times, collecting data and photographs.
Apollo 9 was the first manned flight of Apollo hardware in Earth orbit and the first manned flight of the lunar module. This flight paved the way for Apollo 10
Apollo 10 was the first to travel to the moon with the entire Apollo configuration.
Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the moon.
On January 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to step foot on the moon. They were also the first to bring back samples from an other planetary body. This is the flight that accomplished the mission of sending an astronaut to and from the moon safely. Neil Armstrong video
Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 were all successful in landing astronauts on the moon and returning them home safely.
Apollo 13 could not complete its mission because of an explosion in one of the oxygen tanks. This forced them to orbit the moon and return to Earth without landing on the moon’s surface.
The space shuttle was designed to be reusable unlike the space crafts before it.
The space shuttle can make a trip into orbit, come back to Earth, and in a few months be ready to make another trip.
This enables scientists to have the power to observe important astronomical events, drastic weather changes, or other environmental crises.
Skylab, Salyut, and Mir
In 1971 the Soviets launched the world’s first space station – Salyut 1.
In 1973 the US launched Skylab, a larger space station hosted 3 crews and was abandoned.
In 1986 the soviets put the Mir Space Station in orbit which was the most successful space station until it was abandoned and burned up in the atmosphere in 2001. The Mir space station traveled around Earth more than 85,000 times and was home to astronauts from Russia and the US
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a large human inhabited satellite orbiting more than 250 miles above the Earth
The first 2 parts of the space station were launched in 1998. It is still under construction
Crews have been living there since 2000
The first crew consisted of one American and two Russian astronauts. It is a global partnership between 16 countries. When it is finished, up to seven astronauts will live aboard it for 3 to 6 months
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