Modern Space Exploration

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Modern Space Exploration

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Modern Space Exploration

Integrated Science



For the next few decades, the launch of Sputnik into space started a chain of events which lead us to modern space exploration.

Competition between the United States and the Soviet Union for astronomic dominance advanced technology at a pace not seen before.


After the Sputnik

Just barely one month after the launch of the 184 pound Sputnik, the Soviets launch Sputnik 2, carrying a much heavier payload that includes a dog named Laika, on November 3rd. Unfortunately Laika did not survive.

One year later the United States launch its 1st satellite, the diminutive Explorer 1, weighing in at 31 pounds. This year also marks the formation of NASA (National Aeronotics and Space Administration)



Space Launches in the 50’s and 60’s

1959 - Russian probe, Luna 3, takes 1st pictures of the far side of the moon.

1960- Sputnik 5 launches dogs Strelka and Belka into space. They became the 1st living things to survive a trip into space

April 1961- Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, flying the Volstok 1, becomes 1st human in space

May 1961- American Astronaut Alan Shepard, in the Freedom 7, becomes the 2nd human in space



Space Launches in the 50’s and 60’s

February 1962- John Glenn becomes the 1st American to orbit the Earth

June 1962- Cosmonaut Valentina Nikolayeva Tereshkova becomes 1st woman in space

March 1965- Cosmonaut Alexi Leonev performs first ever space walk

June 1965- Ed White becomes 1st American to walk in space

July 1965- American Craft, Mariner 4, takes 1st pictures of Mars



Space Launches in the 50’s and 60’s

1966- Russian and American Vessels land on the moon, Russians get there 1st

1967- Soviet probe Venera 4, collects data on Venus’ atmosphere. Is destroyed shortly.

1969- Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become 1st men on the moon



Important moments of the 70’s

1st long term space research stations launched. Most would remain operational through the mid 1980’s.

Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt become last men to walk on the moon (1972)

Frozen water discovered on Mars by American Probe Viking 2

American probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 launch to Jupiter and Saturn.

American space program establishes dominance over Soviets


1st Russian Space Station

Voyager 1


Important moments of the 80’s

The Voyagers rack up a long list of achievements:

Discover 22 new moons in total (3 by Jupiter, 3 at Saturn, 10 at Uranus, and 6 at Neptune)

Discover Jupiter's rings

Discover Volcanic activity on Jupiter’s moon Io (only place with active volcanos other than Earth.)

Transition into Space Shuttle program (reusable spacecraft)

Sally Ride becomes 1st American woman in space

Guion Bluford becomes first African-American in Space.

Space Shuttle Challenger destroyed during launch



Important moments of the 90’s

The Magellan begins mapping the surface of Venus

The Hubble Telescope launched

Mae Jemison becomes 1st African-American woman in space

Pathfinder lands on Mars and begins to transmit surface images to Earth

Eileen Collins becomes 1st female Shuttle Commander



Important moments of the 2000’s

American Dennis Tito becomes 1st tourist in space after paying Russian space program $20,000,000

International Space Station launched, still in service today

Space Shuttle Columbia destroyed upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere

Opportunity rover lands on Mars

Stardust from a comet returned to Earth for the 1st time

Ice confirmed on Moon

Spacecraft Kepler launched to find planets outside our Solar System



Important moments of the 2010’s

Space Shuttle program ends.

Private space programs Virgin Galactic and SpaceX open, until now space programs were funded by major countries

SpaceX becomes first non-government organization to launch a craft into orbit and to return it to earth.

Voyager 1 probe exits our solar system and enters interstellar space

Curiosity rover lands on Mars

ESO’s (European Space Agency) Philae lander lands on a comet

New Horizon’s Spacecraft arrives on Mars after 9 year journey


Virgin Galactic:“SpaceShipTwo”

SpaceX: “Falcon 9”


Front Left: Pathfinder (1997) Back Right: Curiosity (2012)

Back Left: Opportunity (2004)


Philae Lander

New Horizons Spacecraft



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