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
Next scheduled launch
Chris Austin Hadfield
(born 29 August 1959) is a retired Canadian astronaut
who was the first Canadian
to walk in space. An engineer
and former Royal Canadian Air Force
fighter pilot, Hadfield has flown two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station
Hadfield, who was raised on a farm in southern Ontario, was inspired as a child when he watched the Apollo 11 Moon landing on TV. He attended high school in Oakville and Milton and earned his glider pilot licence as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces and earned an engineering degree at Royal Military College. While in the military he learned to fly various types of aircraft and eventually became a test pilot and flew several experimental planes. As part of an exchange program with the United States Navy and United States Air Force, he obtained a master's degree in aviation systems at the University of Tennessee Space Institute.
In 1992, he was accepted into the Canadian astronaut program by the Canadian Space Agency. He first flew in space aboard STS-74 in November 1995 as a mission specialist. During the mission he visited the Russian space station Mir. In April 2001 he flew again on STS-100 and visited the International Space Station (ISS), where he walked in space and helped to install the Canadarm2. In December 2012 he flew for a third time aboard Soyuz TMA-07M and joined Expedition 34 on the ISS. He was a member of this expedition until March 2013 when he became the commander of the ISS as part of Expedition 35. He was responsible for a crew of five astronauts and helped to run dozens of scientific experiments dealing with the impact of low gravity on human biology. During the mission he also gained popularity by chronicling life aboard the space station and taking pictures of the Earth and posting them through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr to a large following of people around the world. He was a guest on television news and talk shows and gained popularity by playing the International Space Station's guitar in space. His mission ended in May 2013 when he returned to Earth. Shortly after returning, he announced his retirement, capping a 35-year career as a military pilot and an astronaut.
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.
On This Day
Did you know...
…that to date, Britain has launched only one satellite, Prospero X-3? It was launched in 1971, using a Black Arrow rocket (pictured).
- …that Luna 1 became the first man-made object to enter a heliocentric orbit after a guidance failure led to it missing its planned lunar impact?
- …that the backup crew of Apollo 11 consisted of Jim Lovell, Bill Anders and Fred Haise, although after Anders announced his intention to retire, Ken Mattingly was also assigned in case the mission was delayed until after Anders had left? The backup crew, with Mattingly replacing Anders, was later assigned to Apollo 13.