6 Giant Leaps Forward in Space Exploration

This space will be reserved for a few of the technological advancements that have been made in the field of space exploration. From Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind to man being able to explore Mars using Space Rovers.


Two brave pioneers spring to mind when you think of spaceflight.

Russian Cosmonaut Uri Gagarin became the first man in space on 12 April 1961, orbiting it for 108 minutes in his Vostok 1 spacecraft. Previously only un-manned missions had been carried out.

The first man-made object to land on the moon had been the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 on 13 September 1959. It was not, however, until 20 July 1969 that man arrived there in person and was able to walk its surface for the first time in history. A crew from the United States achieved it with Neil Armstrong, who uttered the famous words, “One Giant Leap for Mankind,” after bravely exiting his Apollo 11 spacecraft. Armstrong had previously been a naval aviator and test pilot. He had only spent 8 days, 14 hours 12 minutes and 30 seconds in space. He was accompanied by fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and together, they spent approximately 2¼ hours on the moon’s surface collecting 21. 5kg of material to take back to Earth.


A spacesuit protects an astronaut or cosmonaut against space’s harsh environment, in relation to vacuum and temperature extremes. Three types of spacesuits were created. The intravehicular activity (IVA), the extravehicular activity (EVA), and the IEVA (Intra/extravehicular activity), allowing for space travellers to protect themselves inside and outside pressurized spacecraft. The inside suits are lighter and therefore more comfortable. Outdoor suits provide protection from extreme temperature changes and micrometeorites. For spacewalks and planet explorations, EVAs are worn.

As an advancement in spacesuit technology, the SpaceX spacesuit allows for power, water, and air connections, to pass through one panel that is situated in the middle of the right thigh section of the suit.

Space Shuttle

The space shuttle was able to take satellites and large parts into space. It helped to build the International Space Station. The first flight in NASA’s Space Shuttle Program took place on 12 April 1981 and would return on 14 April. Space Transportation System-1 (STS-1) orbited the Earth 36 times during its short mission.

Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope had not been the first space telescope but is the largest and most versatile of its kind. It has been, and still is, invaluable as a tool for astronomers to better understand the universe that is out there. To give you an idea of its power, it can spot the light from a firefly 7,000 miles away. There is no doubt that it has been responsible for revealing many previously unknown facts in relation to the cosmos.

Hubble has discovered that most of the major galaxies known to man are anchored by a black hole at their center. The famous telescope has also identified Nix and Hydra, the two moons of Pluto, and assisted in working out the rate that the universe is expanding. In addition, it has created a three-dimensional map of dark matter for scientists.

Another telescope that has been used, but since retired, is the Kepler Space Telescope, named after astronomer Johannes Kepler. It was launched by NASA on 7 March 2009 to discover the Earth-size planets that are orbiting the other stars.

International Space Station (ISS)

As a home for crews of astronauts and cosmonauts, the International Space Station was built in low Earth orbit. It is a modular space station and contains a bespoke science laboratory. It is the collaborative project of five space agencies: NASA, CSA, ESA, JAXA, and Roscosmos. The space station flies at 18,000 mph and can sometimes be observed as a bright light moving quickly across the sky. NASA officials say that it is most visible at either dawn or dusk.

Mars Exploration Rover

Space Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, were launched in 2003. In January 2004, they explored the surface and geology of Mars from separate locations on the planet’s surface. Mars is one of the rocky planets and famous for the red glow it provides astronomers. Its red colour is due to the planet’s high iron content, which has oxidized in the outdoors. Just as the l will if outside and left untreated.

In summary, there have been major developments in space exploration because of brave astronauts and cosmonauts, and the technology that has assisted them in their missions. One day, Man may even explore Mars first-hand, as Neil Armstrong did the craters of the moon.

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