Vostok 1 and the first man in space.

Strapped to a Vostok 8K72K launch vehicle, spacecraft Vostok 1 made history as it launched the first man, Yuri Gagarin, into space.

It was a clear day on 12 April 1961 as soon-to-be cosmonaut, Soviet pilot Yuri Gagarin stepped out to board the vessel that would make him the first person to not just pass the boundaries of our atmosphere into space but to also the first to orbit the Earth. The spacecraft that would make this a reality? Vostok 1 — a 4,725kg spacecraft that would mark the beginning of the Vostok programme; a fleet of six manned spacecraft

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The history of space suits.

These miniature spacecraft have allowed us to operate in space for over half a century

When the United States and the USSR first decided to venture into the cosmos in the mid-20th Century, it was readily apparent that they would need something to protect their explorers from the harshness of space. While pressure suits had been used before on high-altitude jets, no one was quite sure how the human body would cope with weightlessness, and particularly with the vacuum of space, if a spacewalk was to be attempted.

One thing that was known for certain, however, was that exposure to

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Missions to mine asteroids


In NASA’s 2013 budget it announced a proposal to capture an asteroid and drag it into a stable lunar orbit to be visited by future astronauts. It might sound far-fetched, but the technology behind it is relatively simple.

The plan is to launch a spacecraft powered by ion thrusters, which will then make its way to an asteroid beyond the Moon. Once reaching its target, the spacecraft would capture the asteroid in a large bag and, over a number of years, move it into a stable orbit around the Moon. This could then be visited and studied by astronauts

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Ion drives

Ion drives are the most cost-effective propulsion systems currently available and can send deep space probes faster and further than any other type of rocket technology.

Unlike conventional chemical rockets that burn at a fast rate over a short period of time to generate huge thrust, ion drives run at a steady rate over a long period to generate a high velocity.

The ions travel at 31.5 kilometres per second (19.6 miles per second) and produce 0.5 Newtons (0.1 pounds) of thrust. This force is equivalent to the weight of a few coins dropped into your hand, whereas chemical rockets

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In the future, would it be possible to cross a planets orbit to reach it quicker?

Richard Badger

Planning spacecraft flight paths takes a lot of refinement. Due to the expense of spaceflight, the trick is to find the most efficient flight path. This reduces the fuel needed and therefore the cost to launch the mission.

We know the shortest and quickest way from one point to another is a straight line. Sadly, this process breaks down in space. This is because the two points are often moving and the transfer vehicle already has a motion based on the orbital speed of the planet or object it leaves from. To counter this, when planning orbital manoeuvres

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Exploring asteroids with The Dawn spacecraft.

Asteroids are like time machines. So as the Dawn spacecraft visits Vesta and Ceres, scientists are reeling back the years to our Solar System’s beginnings.

Launched in 2007, Dawn’s goal is to bring back photographs and information from two of the asteroid belt’s largest residents: Ceres and Vesta.

Dawn used a ‘gravity assist’ from Mars to get to its first science stop, Vesta, whipping past the Red Planet in February 2009 to pick up speed and soar to its destination.

The spacecraft has an engine on board to kick up additional speed, if needed. Powered by solar panels, it alters

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Decade of the Dragon

On 8 October 2012, SpaceX’s

Dragon capsule lifted off on its first scheduled cargo mission to the

International Space Station. In fact, it was the first such mission to ever be performed by a private space company, and it means that SpaceX is currently the only commercial enterprise capable of resupplying the ISS. If some people doubted the company’s ambitions before, they definitely don’t now.

This wasn’t the first flight of

Dragon, though. This spacecraft has been a huge success story not only for SpaceX but also for NASA, who has invested a considerable sum of money in Dragon. In

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5 AMAZING FACTS ABOUT The Apollo spacecraft

The Apollo programme cost $200 billion

The initial estimated cost of the Apollo programme was around $7 billion (£4.6 billion), before it was revised to $20 billion (£13.2 billion) by the first NASA administrator, James Webb. By the end of the programme, the 17 missions had cost the US government $23.9 billion (£15.8 billion), around $200 billion (£132 billion) in today’s money.

Apollo 1 met a tragic end

The first manned Apollo mission was scheduled to launch on 21 February 1967 but never made it. During a launch pad test on 27 January, a cabin fire broke out destroying the

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The crew of spacecraft Soyuz TMA-22 landed successfully.

The lander spacecraft "Soyuz TMA-22" with Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerovym and Anatoly Ivanishin and U.S. astronaut Daniel Burbank made a successful landing.

There is a landing

"There is a landing," — to highlight the inscription on the big screen in the hall of the Mission Control Center. After that MCC workers, management space industry, to monitor the landing of the control room, as well as foreign and local guests broke into applause.

The spacecraft "Soyuz TMA-22" was separated from the International Space Station (ISS) at 12:18 Moscow time on April 27. After separation from the station, the ship was

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The crew of Soyuz TMA-02M returned safely to Earth

 Photo source:astronaut.ru

The crew of spacecraft "Soyuz TMA-02M" Left to right: Michael Fossum, Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa

Today at 06.25 MSK after long-duration mission to the International Space Station returned to Earth the crew of cosmonauts Sergei Volkov (Roscosmos) and astronaut Satoshi Furukawa (JAXA) and Michael Fossum (NASA). The lander manned spacecraft "Soyuz TMA-02M" with three crew landed in Kazakhstan near Arkalyk. Planting took place in a normal mode.

 Photo source:federalspace.ru

This was the second flight of the spacecraft digital. The new control system, upgraded filling once again managed the task.

 Photo source:federalspace.ru

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