Space exploration is the discovery and exploration of outer space by means of space technology. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft.
While the observation of objects in space, known as astronomy, predates reliable recorded history, it was the development of large and relatively efficient rockets during the early 20th century that allowed physical space exploration to become a reality. Common rationales for exploring space include advancing scientific research, uniting different nations, ensuring the future survival of humanity and developing military and strategic advantages against other countries. Various criticisms of space exploration are sometimes made.
Space exploration has often been used as a proxy competition for geopolitical rivalries such as the Cold War. The early era of space exploration was driven by a "Space Race" between the Soviet Union and the United States, the launch of the first man-made object to orbit the Earth, the USSR's Sputnik 1, on 4 October 1957, and the first Moon landing by the American Apollo 11 craft on 20 July 1969 are often taken as the boundaries for this initial period. The Soviet space program achieved many of the first milestones, including the first living being in orbit in 1957, the first human spaceflight (Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1) in 1961, the first spacewalk (by Aleksei Leonov) in 1965, the first automatic landing on another celestial body in 1966, and the launch of the first space station (Salyut 1) in 1971.
After the first 20 years of exploration, focus shifted from one-off flights to renewable hardware, such as the Space Shuttle program, and from competition to cooperation as with the International Space Station (ISS).
With the substantial completion of the ISS following STS-133 in March 2011, plans for space exploration by the USA remain in flux. Constellation, a Bush Administration program for a return to the Moon by 2020 was judged inadequately funded and unrealistic by an expert review panel reporting in 2009. The Obama Administration proposed a revision of Constellation in 2010 to focus on the development of the capability for crewed missions beyond low earth orbit (LEO), envisioning extending the operation of the ISS beyond 2020, transferring the development of launch vehicles for human crews from NASA to the private sector, and developing technology to enable missions to beyond LEO, such as Earth/Moon L1, the Moon, Earth/Sun L2, near-earth asteroids, and Phobos or Mars orbit. As of March 2011, the US Senate and House of Representatives are still working towards a compromise NASA funding bill, which will probably terminate Constellation and fund development of a heavy lift launch vehicle (HLLV).
In the 2000s, the People's Republic of China initiated a successful manned spaceflight program, while the European Union, Japan, and India have also planned future manned space missions. China, Russia, Japan, and India have advocated manned missions to the Moon during the 21st century, while the European Union has advocated manned missions to both the Moon and Mars during the 21st century. From the 1990s onwards, private interests began promoting space tourism and then private space exploration of the Moon (see Google Lunar X Prize).
Other articles related to "space exploration, space, exploration":
... Bush announced an initiative of manned space exploration on January 14, 2004, known as the Vision for Space Exploration ... The needed funds were to be generated by diverting $11 billion from space science missions to the vision for human exploration ...
2009 to deliver the final set of solar arrays to the International Space Station ... Acaba carried a Puerto Rican Flag aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery during his flight ...
... Space colonization, also called space settlement and space humanization, would be the permanent autonomous (self-sufficient) human habitation of locations outside Earth ... To date, the longest human occupation of space is the International Space Station which has been in continuous use for 700112000000000000012 years, 700121000000000000021 days ... single spaceflight of almost 438 days aboard the Mir space station has not been surpassed ...
... as the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics or Memorial Museum of Space Exploration) is a museum in Moscow, Russia, dedicated to space exploration ... It is located within the base of the soaring Monument to the Conquerors of Space in the northeast of the city ... The museum contains a wide variety of space-related exhibits and models which explore the history of flight astronomy space exploration space technology and space in the arts ...
... McCain has sponsored legislation to support the commercial space industry and led the Senate's efforts to implement improvements to NASA after the Columbia accident ... McCain has pledged that as president he would ensure that space exploration is top priority and that the U.S ... ensure it has the resources it needs to begin a new era of human space exploration ...
Famous quotes containing the words exploration and/or space:
“The future author is one who discovers that language, the exploration and manipulation of the resources of language, will serve him in winning through to his way.”
—Thornton Wilder (18971975)
“If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing. It would take us as long to recall a space of time as it took the original time to elapse, and we should never get ahead with our thinking. All recollected times undergo, accordingly, what M. Ribot calls foreshortening; and this foreshortening is due to the omission of an enormous number of facts which filled them.”
—William James (18421910)