Space Exploration

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Lori Mares
03/07/13
Exploration in Space
Space exploration has been around for a long time ever since the first rocket went into space. That was the work of the Germans after world war II. The competition to be the first in space began in 1945 and would last 30 years. The Space Race pitted the United States and Soviet Union against each other in a contest that extended from the Earth to the surface of the moon and beyond. Humans have dreamt of exploring space for a very long time. Centuries ago the Chinese used rockets for ceremonial and military purposes, but only half of the 20th century rockets were being developed that were powerful enough to overcome the force of gravity so they could reach orbital velocities that could allow humans to explore space freely. After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union created their own missile programs. On October 4, 1957, the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into space. Four years later on April 12, 1961, Russian Lt. Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth in Vostok 1. His flight lasted 108 minutes, and Gagarin reached an altitude of 327 kilometers (about 202 miles). Explorer 1, the first American satellite went into orbit on January 31, 1958. In 1961 Alan Shepard became the first American to fly into space. On February 20, 1962, John Glenn made history when he was the first American to orbit the Earth. “Landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth within a decade” was a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. On July 20, 1969, As Astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon he described it as, “a giant step for mankind.” After that six Apollo missions were made to explore the moon between 1969 and 1972. Unmanned spacecraft photographed and probed the moon before astronauts ever landed during the 1960s. By the early 1970s orbiting communications and navigation satellites were in everyday use, and the Mariner spacecraft was orbiting...
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