Over time, people have become very interested in the most important events in space history. NASA and ESA’s missions and discoveries in space are often very interesting to watch. But there are others that were done a few decades ago that are just as impressive.
Some of these discoveries helped to speed up the development of scientific and communication systems. Because of this, they became important events for people.
Through research and the building of ships and satellites, we now have CT scanners that are very important in the medical field. There are missions that are known today, but the first ones that marked an important event in history have been forgotten. So, it’s important to remember them. We will talk about some of these important space events that have happened throughout history.
What are the 10 most important events in space history?
It’s important to remember that most of the important things that happened in space happened during the Cold War, when the US and the USSR fought a lot. One of them was about who was the first person to go to space.
During that time, the competition between the two was very fierce. By doing the right research and making spaceships, people were able to learn everything there is to know about space. In fact, the USSR was ahead of the USA, and they were the ones who made the first big things happen in space.
NASA will take over space when the Soviet Union falls. Over the years, other organizations have joined to do more missions. The European Space Agency is one of them (ESA). Here are the 10 most important space events in history, out of all the missions:
1. Start of the satellites
At the start of the 1950s, there was no man-made satellite going around the Earth. Even its smallest possibility was only based on theory, but government agencies were still very interested in it. Maybe because using it would be helpful, especially in the field of communications.
In 1957, the USSR was able to make the theory a reality by launching Sputnik 1, the first satellite. It was 58 cm in diameter and had 4 antennas inside of which different radio devices were kept safe. The Soviet Union wanted to see if it was possible to keep things in orbit with this first launch, and they did.
The first one was made for science. It made it possible to learn interesting and useful things about how the atmospheric layer works. Most importantly, tests that figure out how electrons are spread out in the ionosphere. After Sputnik 1 was launched in 1957, the US launched its first satellite in 1958.
The name of it was SCORE. It was used to send a Christmas message from President John Eisenhower, who was in office at the time. With the help of this satellite, it was found that it was possible to send messages to everyone on Earth. At the moment, weather and communication broadcasts can’t happen without the help of satellites that circle the Earth.
2. Living beings and their arrival in space
The USSR’s next goal, after sending the first satellite, was to send living things into space. In this case, the biggest worry was how a person would react to microgravity and launch. Sputnik 2 was sent into orbit with a dog, which was the only living thing that could get there.
Even though the dog Laika didn’t make it because the ship overheated, it was proven that it was safe to send people into space. The animal made it into orbit and stayed alive for a few hours. Later, some primates that were more like us were sent into space to see how they did.
By 1961, the goal had been reached. On the Vostok 1 mission, a Soviet astronaut named Yuri Gagarin became the first person to go around the earth. Even though the trip wasn’t easy and he had some problems when he came back to Earth, this astronaut was able to get back without getting hurt. Because of this discovery, more people went into space.
After the Vostok 6 mission in 1963, the astronaut Valentina Tereshkova was in charge of the trip to space. In the USSR’s race to get to space, Svetlana Savitskaya went twice after 20 years. Instead, in 1983, the US sent the first woman into space. Her name was Sally Ride.
3. Landing on the Moon
Sending a person to the Moon was one of the space events that took a lot of work. So, before it was done, different missions were sent out to try to bring a person closer and closer to the satellite. The goal was to see if it was possible for people to make the trip and if the planet had a good place to land.
It took a long time, but it was worth it. The Soviets were the first to do it, with their Luna project. In 1959, the first people set foot on the Moon. They used a probe to find out that the magnetic fields on this planet were not as strong as those on Earth.
In this same year, the Luna 3 probe sent pictures of the part of the Moon that can’t be seen from Earth. Luna 9 was the first craft to land softly on the Moon in 1966. It made it possible to get pictures of the whole surface and measure the amount of radiation to see if it was safe for a ship to land.
After this was found, both the USSR and the USA sent more missions to orbit the moon and look for life there. This made it easier to get close to the satellite. In 1969, Apollo 11 and the first landing of a person on the Moon were successful for the US. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin worked on the project and were able to do different kinds of research on the moon.
4. Probes that managed to make history
After making it to the Moon, the agencies wanted to try different things to see how far they could go. In the 1970s, NASA started looking into how to make probes that could get close to other planets. The goal was to find out more about them and learn more about them.
Jupiter and Saturn were reached by Pioneer 10 and 11. With the help of these probes, pictures of the planets were taken. These pictures were used to learn about their features and the environment where they were found. Pioneer could also find out if there were moons around Saturn and in Jupiter’s magnetosphere.
Other probes were involved in the most important space events and were able to study planets that are far from the sun. Voyager 1 and 2 were their names. Which helped find new moons orbiting Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Even with the information the probes sent back, rings were found on Uranus and volcanic activity was found on one of Jupiter’s moons. The goal of these probes was to find out more about the solar system and the planets in it. So, scientists and other researchers could find out if they could be lived on like Earth.
5. A space station in orbit around the Earth (ISS)
Several countries worked together in 1998 to build a space station. Inside, there are modules that astronauts can live in and scientific tools that they use. Over the years, this station has grown because it could only fit one person when it was first built.
Work is done on the ISS in many different fields, including science, biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and more. The goal of each task is to get information that will help prove that sending people to Mars is a good idea. Astronauts try to figure out how their bodies will react on other planets by living in space with the radiation and low gravity.
6. The study of Mars was very good
Even though there have been many important events in space history, this one became one of the most important for the research on Mars. Even though they have been going on for a long time, Opportunity Rovers is the one that stands out. This rover was sent to the planet about 14 years ago to study it.
It could stand up to any storms or other dangers that happened on Mars. Throughout the process, he told us a lot of interesting and useful things. One thing that the images and analyses showed was that the planet used to have rivers, lakes, and even oceans of water.
He also saw storms on a planetary scale that made the device go to sleep for a while. These storms covered its solar panel completely and cut off the power it needed to keep running. This rover didn’t wake up again because it didn’t have any power. In 2019, the mission was over.
7. Making space vehicles that can be used more than once
After the Apollo missions, NASA worked on making vehicles that could be used more than once. These were the space shuttles that started working in 1981. Even though they were supposed to be completely reusable at first, they turned out not to be. But it worked perfectly for what NASA needed.
In 1975, the first prototypes of this project were made, which was the first step in putting the project’s ideas into action. For the tests, they hooked up the vehicle to the Boeing plane so they could find out if it could support the flight. Also, studies were done on how the ferries could move and how they could be directed.
Only five vehicles that could be used more than once were made, but each one was used for many space events. At the moment, only three of them are still around. The others were tragically destroyed while exploring space. Two more vehicles were also made, but they are used as simulators or for training people how to land.
8. Challenger’s breakup
Before Challenger’s big failure in 1986, it was possible to use vehicles more than once. Which broke up 73 seconds after it left the earth. Seven astronauts died in this terrible accident. One of them was Christa McAuliffe, who was part of the “Masters in Space” program.
After a lot of hard work, it was found that the failure was due to problems with the rubber seals (O-ring). Its job was to completely seal the fuel tanks on the outside of the shuttle. This happened during one of the most tragic space missions in history.
9. Space telescopes
NASA sent a telescope called Hubble into space in 1990. Which is one of his greatest accomplishments because it changed the way people see the universe. This transmitter sent pictures of the Milky Way and other galaxies, as well as the solar system and its planets.
It was the first time that clear pictures of the sky and space were taken. Even though many years have passed, this artifact is still in use because it has the right materials and is well taken care of.
But as technology improves, other systems are put in place. Because of this, another telescope was made to take the place of Hubble. The name of it is Chandra. Which has a more advanced system that can send pictures that Hubble can’t show. It has very strong changes in energy that work like X-rays.
10. SpaceX’s rocket launch
After the USSR and the US did so many things in space, many companies became interested in the subject. SpaceX was one of those companies. In 2008, this company sent a rocket into space. It was called Falcon 1.
It was the first private company to reach Earth orbit in this way. And in 2012, they sent a ship called Cápsula Dragon to the ISS.
Since the beginning of space events, there is no doubt that agencies have tried to make technology that lets us see a world other than Earth. Because of this, we now have access to important technologies that we use every day. Because of this, NASA keeps looking for new information that will help people.
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