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Race to space


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  • 1. Race to Space! U.S. vs. Soviet Union NSF North Mississippi GK-8
  • 2. Wernher von Braun: Father of Space Exploration
    • Along with other German scientists, developed the first rockets during and after World War II
    • Came to the U.S. after WWII, lived and worked in Huntsville, AL from 1950 – 1970
    • Work provided the basis for all early NASA missions
    • First director of NASA
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8
  • 3. Start of the “Space Race”
    • October 4 th , 1957, Russia launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik , into orbit
    • Caused a wide-spread panic in the U.S.
    • People feared the Soviet Union would dominate the world in space exploration
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8
  • 4. Formation of NASA
    • Founded 1958 after Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act
    • Formed in direct response to the launch of Sputnik
    • Purpose to provide organization and direction of U.S. space program
    • First missions focused on getting humans into space, studying effects of space on humans, and returning astronauts safely to Earth
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8
  • 5. Competitors in the Space Race
    • After the launch of Sputnik, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were in direct competition to have most advanced space program
    • Viewed as contest between communism and capitalism
    • National pride and fears for national defense played large roles in motivating space race
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 United States Soviet Union
  • 6. First Human in Space NSF North Mississippi GK-8 Yuri and his spacecraft, Vostok 1 On April 12, 1961, the Soviets succeeded in launching the first human into space, Yuri Gagarin, and returning him safely to Earth
  • 7. First American in Space
    • Alan Shepard becomes the first American astronaut to enter space, aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft, on May 5, 1961
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 Alan and his spacecraft, Freedom 7
  • 8. The Mercury Project
    • NASA’s first mission
    • Mission goals:
      • getting an astronaut into space
      • completing an orbit
      • returning astronaut to Earth safely
    • Several preliminary Mercury launches were unmanned
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 The Mercury - Atlas I spacecraft Enos the chimpanzee, crew of the Mercury – Atlas V spacecraft
  • 9. The Gemini Project
    • Involved sending two astronauts into orbit for longer periods of time
    • Paved the way and tested equipment for the Apollo missions to the moon
    • Astronaut Ed White, II performs the first spacewalk by an American during the Gemini IV mission
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 Astronaut Ed White, II The rendezvous of the Gemini VI and Gemini VII spacecraft
  • 10. President Kennedy’s Challenge
    • May 21, 1961: President Kennedy challenged the United States to land astronauts on the moon and to return them safely to Earth
    • Challenge provided a “finish line” for the space race
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 President John F. Kennedy
  • 11. The Apollo Missions
    • Apollo 11-17 involved landing men on the moon; Apollo 13 was aborted due to a malfunction
    • July 20, 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong of Apollo 11 were first men on the moon
    • Each mission consisted of three astronauts: one stayed on Command Module in lunar orbit, two descended in Lunar Module to moon’s surface
    • Total of 12 men have walked on the moon
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 Buzz Aldrin, in Apollo 11 and on the moon (above and right) The Apollo 11 launch Neil Armstrong
  • 12. When did the space race end?
    • Some historians believe the Space Race ended when Apollo 11 returned safely from the Moon
    • Others believe that the Race ended when the United States’ Apollo 18 spacecraft docked with a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 1975
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 A drawing of the Apollo – Soyuz rendezvous (Apollo 18 is on the left)
  • 13. Skylab: The First Space Station
    • Launched by the U.S. in 1973
    • Built from a modified Apollo command module
    • Occupied by 3 different teams of astronauts for a total of 171 days
    • Purposely burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere in 1979
    • Over 2,000 hours of scientific and medical experiments performed onboard
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 Two photographs of Skylab, taken by astronauts on their approach to the space station
  • 14. Space Shuttles
    • Originally spacecraft were used only once
    • In the 1980s, NASA developed reusable spacecraft, the space shuttles
    • Launched like rockets but land like modern-day airplanes
    • Considered the most complex machines ever built
    • Used to take satellites and instruments into space
    • Originally five shuttles, two of which have been destroyed ( Challenger, Columbia ), three remaining in service ( Atlantis, Endeavor, Discovery )
    • Fleet of shuttles scheduled to be retired in 2010
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  • 15. The International Space Station (ISS)
    • 15 nations participating
    • Assembly began in 1998; should be completed by 2010
    • Teams of astronauts have lived aboard the ISS since 2001
    • Provides a permanent laboratory for conducting experiments in space
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 Images of the ISS
  • 16. Unmanned Missions: Space Probes and Landers
    • Besides manned missions like Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, NASA launched a series of unmanned missions
    • Probes sent to study the outer planets and to land on planets of the inner solar system like Mercury, Venus, and Mars
    • Probes also sent to gather information about the moon before astronauts ventured there
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  • 17. Why send robotic probes instead of human?
    • Benefits:
      • Cheaper: there’s no need to send along food, air, and living space for astronauts or fuel for a round-trip
      • Safer: there’s no danger to human life
    • Drawbacks:
      • Robotic probes can only do what they’re programmed to do; they cannot grow or adapt to face unforeseen changes
      • Robotic probes often must be controlled remotely from Earth
      • Some feel that robotic missions lack the romance of discovery and experience of manned missions
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  • 18. Voyager
    • Launched in 1977, first spacecraft to visit the outer planets of our solar system and send back pictures of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune
    • Continue to function to this day
    • Now the farthest man-made objects in the solar system
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 Images of Saturn (left) and Jupiter (below) from the Voyager spacecraft
  • 19. The Hubble Telescope
    • In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was placed in orbit by the shuttle Discovery
    • Example of scientific instrument in space
    • Used to measure the age and size of the universe
    • Able to take extremely clear images that are undistorted by Earth’s atmosphere
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 From left: Images from the Hubble telescope of the Sombrero Galaxy, Orion Nebula, Messier 101 Galaxy
  • 20. The Cassini-Huygens Mission
    • First spacecraft to explore Saturn and its rings and moons from orbit
    • Has been in orbit around Saturn since January 30, 2004
    • The Huygens probe was released from the Cassini spacecraft in January 2005 to study Titan, Saturn’s largest moon
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 An image of Saturn relayed to Earth by the Cassini – Huygens spacecraft
  • 21. Mars Rovers
    • Probes launched to Mars with robotic rovers to explore surface
    • Spirit landed on Mars January 4, 2004; Opportunity landed December 12, 2004
    • Primary mission scheduled to last ~ 3 months, but mission has been active over two Earth years
    • Rovers remotely controlled by scientists on Earth
    NSF North Mississippi GK-8 Top and bottom: images of Mars from the rovers. Left: an artist’s vision of Spirit on Mars
  • 22. President Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration
    • Presented plan to NASA January 2004
    • ISS to be completed by 2010
    • Space shuttles to be retired from service by 2010
    • Develop new manned spacecraft by 2008 and complete manned mission by 2014
    • Return to the moon by 2020
    • Eventually send humans to Mars
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  • 23. Image Sources
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  • 24. Sources Continued: NSF North Mississippi GK-8