Space Exploration Essay

Submitted By mgeyer23
Words: 1761
Pages: 8

Space Exploration When Galileo trained his telescope on the skies in 1609, a thin veil was lifted. What had appeared to the human eye for centuries as a decorative dome became a vast universe of real worlds to explore. Gradually, Engineers and scientists became convinced that the barriers to space flight could be overcome. (Neal: 13) Who would build the machines that could ascend beyond our atmosphere and into space? Early in the twentieth century several brilliant theorists made parallel progress around the world and, in 1926, Robert Goddard launched the first liquid-propellant rocket. The forty one-foot flight from a cabbage patch for-shadowed the 1967 launch of Wernher von Braun’s giant Saturn V developed to lift astronauts to the moon. This mission was a mission many wanted to achieve and it now became a race to see who could achieve this historic moment first. (Neal: 35) Our everyday lives now are affected by our space program and the events that happened leading up to landing men on the moon and the events that followed. In 1957, when American faced the shattering realization that the soviets had successfully launched Sputnik, Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy approved von Braun’s preparation of a satellite and rocket for launch by March 1958. On January 31, 1958, telemetry signals from the first U.S satellite, Explorer 1, confirmed that the Juno 1 launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida had indeed achieved Earth Orbit. The first U.S satellite, Explorer 1, was launched by the U.S army’s Jupiter C rocket on January 31, 1958 almost four months after the launch of sputnik. (Baker: 53) Explorer was a bullet shaped satellite, developed by a University of Iowa team led by Professor James Van Allen. It was only eighty inches long and weighed about thirty-one pounds. Explorer 1 remained in space until 1967. Fifty five satellites with the name explorer were launched between 1958 and 1975. Between 1977 and 1984, ten more members of the explorer family were launched, each named for the specific purpose of its scientific mission. Each explorer had a specific mission and accomplishments for example Explorer 6 gave the world the first television view of earth. (Baker: 49) The armed services sent proposals to the Defense Department for satellite programs named the Vanguard project. The Defense Department decided to proceed with Vanguard because it could be shown to the world as a nonmilitary vehicle designed for peaceful purposes. President Eisenhower’s policy was that Americans should demonstrate that rockets could contribute to humankind’s welfare, as well as wage war. In 1957 and 1958, two attempts failed; the vanguard rockets exploded in clear view of the world press, shortly after liftoff. Vanguard’s missions were successful in allowing Earth stations to track its flights. The transmitters all enabled to obtain data on Earth’s shape and variations in its gravitational field. (Braun: 81) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an agency of the United States government, established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. The functions of the organization were conceived to plan, direct and conduct all U.S. aeronautical and space activities, except those that are primary military. One year later in 1959, NASA ordered its first piloted space craft, with the objective of placing astronauts in space, testing their reactions, and returning them safely to Earth. A total of over twenty-five missions were launched in the Mercury program. (John: 10) Our very own John H. Glenn from Ohio was one of the original Mercury astronauts and was a part of an elite group pf seven U.S. pilots. Each capsule, named by the astronaut that flew it, bore the number 7 in honor of the team. The first piloted Mercury flight (Freedom 7) lifted off on May 5, 1961. Alan Shephard was launched to a speed of 5,146 miles per hour into suborbital flight, and he became the first U.S. man in space. This