Space research is scientific studies carried out using scientific
equipment in outer space. It includes the use of space
technology for a broad spectrum of research disciplines,
including Earth science, materials science, biology, medicine,
and physics. The term includes scientific payloads
everywhere from deep space to low earth orbit, and is
frequently defined to include research in the upper
atmosphere using sounding rockets and high-altitude
balloons. Space science and space exploration involve the
study of outer space itself, which is only part of the broader
field of space research.
For centuries, the Chinese had been using rockets for ceremonial and military purposes. But it
wasn’t until the latter-half of the 20th Century where rockets were developed to
overcome Earths’ gravity. Such advances were made simultaneously in three countries by three
scientists. In Russia, Konstantin Tsiolkovski, in the United States was Robert Goddard, and in
Germany wasHermann Oberth.
After the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union created their own missile
programs and space research emerged as a field of scientific investigation based on the
advancing rocket technology. In 1948-1949 detectors on V-2 rocket flights detected x-rays from
the sun. Sounding rockets proved useful for studies of the structure of the upper atmosphere.
As higher altitudes were reached, the field of space physics emerged with studies of aurorae,
the ionosphere and the magnetosphere. Notable as the start of satellite-based space research is
the detection of the Van Allen radiation belt by Explorer 1 in 1958, four months after the launch
of the first satellite, Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. In the following year
space planetology emerged with a series of lunar probes, e.g. the first photographs of the far
side of the moon by Luna 3 in 1959.
The early space researchers obtained an important international forum with the establishment
of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) in 1958, which achieved an exchange of
scientific information between east and west during the cold war, despite the military origin of
the rocket technology underlying the research field.
On April 12, 1961, Russian Lieutenant Yuri Gagarin was the first human to orbit Earth
in Vostok 1. In 1961, US astronaut Alan Shepard was the first American in space. And on July
20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first human on the Moon. On April 19, 1971, the
Soviet Union launched the Salyut 1, which was the first space station of any kind. On May 14,
1973, Skylab, the first American space station was launched using a modified Saturn V rocket.
History Of Space
Space research includes the following fields of science:
Earth observations, using remote sensing techniques to
interpret optical and radar data from Earth observation satellites
Geodesy, using gravitational perturbations of satellite orbits
Atmospheric sciences, aeronomy using satellites, sounding
rockets and high-altitude balloons
Space physics, the in situ study of space plasmas, e.g. aurorae,
the ionosphere, the magnetosphere and space weather
Planetology, using space probes to study objects in the planetary system
Astronomy, using space telescopes and detectors that are not limited by
looking through the atmosphere
Materials sciences, taking advantage of the micro-g environment on orbital
Life sciences, including human physiology, using the space
radiation environment and weightlessness
Physics, using space as a laboratory for studies in fundamental physics.
Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite was a NASA-led mission launched on September 12, 1991. The
5,900 lb. satellite was deployed from the Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-48mission on 15 September
1991. It was the first multi-instrumented satellite to study various aspects of the Earths’ atmosphere and have
a better understanding of photochemistry. After 14 years of service, the UARS finished its scientific career in
International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory
The INTEGRAL is an operational space satellite launched by the European Space Agency in 2002.
INTEGRAL provides insight into the most energetic forms of in space, such as black holes, neutron stars, and
supernovas. INTEGRAL also plays an important role in researching one of the most exotic and energetic
phenomena that occurs in space, gamma-rays.
Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990 and it sped humanity to one of its greatest advances to
understand the universe. The discoveries made by the HTS have changed the way scientists look at the
universe. It winded the amount of space theories as it sparked new ones. Among its many discoveries, the
HTS played a key role in conjunction with other space agencies in the discovery of dark energy, a mysterious
force that causes the expansion of the universe to accelerate. More than 10,000 articles have been published
by Hubble data, and it has surpassed its expected lifetime.
Gravity and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer
The launch of the NASA-led GEMS mission is scheduled for November 2014. The spacecraft will use an X-
Ray telescope to measure the polarization of x-rays coming from black holes and neutron stars. It will also
conduct research on remnants of supernovae stars that have exploded. Few experiments have been
conducted in X-Ray polarization since the 1970s, and scientists expect GEMS will break new ground.
Through GEMS, scientists will be able to improve their knowledge in black holes, in particular whether
matter around a black hole is confined to a flat-disk, a puffed disk, or a squirting jet.
Space Research by
Salyut 1 was the first space station ever built. It was launched in April 19, 1971
by the Soviet Union. The first crew failed entry into the space station. The
second crew was able to spend twenty-three days in the space station, but this
achievement was quickly overshadowed since they crew died on reentry to
Earth. Salyut 1 was intentionally deorbited six months into orbit since it
prematurely ran out of fuel.
Skylab was the first American space station. It was launched in May 19, 1973. It
rotated through three crews of three during its operational time. Skylab’s
experiments confirmed coronal holes and were able to photograph eight solar
International Space Station
The International Space Station has played a key role in advances in space
research. The station has been continuously occupied 12 years and 171 days,
having exceeded the record of almost ten years, previously set by the Russian
station Mir. The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research
laboratory in which crewmembers conduct tests in biology, physics, astronomy
and many other fields.
Space Research by Space
For quite a long time dreams of interstellar travel and exploring the final
frontier have run rampant in the minds of children and adult scientists
alike, and with some of the latest breakthroughs in technology and
research NASA scientists have laid out goals to achieve manned flight to the
edge of our solar system in 50 years. In 1994 Miguel Alcubierre put forward
a report detailing a method of achieving interstellar travel. What he
proposed was unlike anything that anyone had seen before and branched
away from the standard means of propulsion. His “Alcubierre Metric”
actually did not have any physical motion as we know it of the space ship.
The metric would have a warp drive use negative energy to actually bend
space around the vessel to create a warp bubble. The warp bubble would
then expand and contract space around the ship, which would move the
warp bubble at speeds several time the speed of light. However there are
some hiccups in the theory, one being that massive amounts of energy
would be required to power such a device that would be able to create a
“warp bubble”; and two, it is currently unknown how to create a “warp
bubble” where one does not already exist and how to survive the entry and
exit of said “warp bubble”.
Many people have discounted Alcubierre’s calculations and finding,
but NASA’s Eagleworks Advanced Propulsion Laboratory’s Harold Sonny
White recently wrote a paper (published directly by NASA and also in the
journal General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology) entitled, “Warp Field
Mechanics 101”, which lays out ambitious goals to explore the far reaches of
our solar system within fifty years. Although there is nothing physical to
achieve just yet, scientists are close to reaching a “’’’Chicago Pile’’’” moment
when it comes to the finding the negative energy required to create and
manipulate warp bubbles. In his paper, White demonstrates how the Alcubierre
Method steps outside the bounds of General Relativity and is not bound by
some of Einstein’s laws. This is a landmark in the history of Space Exploration
and Space Research, but there is still much more to come. In his paper, Dr.
White lays out the plans for the first physical experiments in the field, including
a warp field interferometer which will help find the subatomic particles that
would allow for the control of negative energy or dark matter. Currently
scientists are using the warp field interferometer, a sensor that can detect the
creation of warp fields, to examine the sub-atomic composition of a “warp
bubble” and apply it on a massive scale. The next step would be to find a source
of energy large enough to sustain “warp bubble” creation indefinitely.