Why Space? Essay, Research Paper
How does space exploration and an organization likeNASA (National Aeronautical and Space Administration)benefit the United States? The formation of NASA to monitorand explore space has served the United States by supplyingus with advancements in medicine, military defense, consumerproducts and the citizens of all participating countries asense of pride in their countries. Space exploration hasevolved from being a source of bragging rights during thecold war to a tool to develop faster ways of communicationand scientific breakthroughs that are used to cure and/orprevent diseases. The United States has become a worldpower by using NASA to develop ways to defend the USA aswell as benefit the inhabitants of the world.
After the end of W.W.I the United States did not thinkmuch about space travel. But as soon as the USSR launchedSputnik I in 1958, the first artificial satellite to orbitthe earth, the USA quickly began to attempt to create asatellite of their own. Before the United States couldcreate a satellite, the Soviets announced that they made andlaunched their second satellite named Sputnik II, it was thefirst biological spacecraft. After the launching of SputnikII the US felt tremendous pressure to launch its firstsatellite. The United States quickly launched Explorer I,the first American satellite in space, Explorer was createdto measure cosmic rays and micrometeorites in earth?satmosphere. The US then launched another satellite namedVanguard I to measure the amounts of radiation inouter-space. The launching of satellites by both the US andUSSR would soon lead to manned space travel. After thelaunching of Vanguard I by the USAF, the US realized thatthey would need a federal organization to regulate spacetravel. In 1959 the US government created NASA to maintainand expand the United State?s interests in space travel.Not long after the creation of NASA, the organizationquickly experiment with space suits and space vessels toprepare for sending a man into space. The Soviets soonannounced that they launched a satellite called Luna II thatwas meant to take the first close-up pictures of the sun.It was the first rocket to leave the earth?s gravitationalfield. The US continued to work on their goal of sending aman into space by selecting and beginning to train seven menin May 1959. These first seven American astronauts werenamed the Mercury 6. While the United States was selectingastronauts to start their space program the Soviets werealready taking pictures of the moon and planning to getready to send a man to the moon.
Freedom 7 was launched on May 5, 1961 carrying aMercury 6 astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr.. The rocket climbed302 miles into the air making the ship and Shepard the firstAmerican astronaut to fly into space. The United Statesbriskly went to work, trying to sent another American intospace. John Glenn was selected as the Mercury 6 astronautthat would orbit the earth. On February 20, 1962 the US wasready to surpass the USSR in the field of human spaceexploration. John Glenn successfully was launched intoorbit around the earth, becoming the first human to do so.He completed three orbits around the earth in his Friendship7 spacecraft. The mission was extremely successful for theUS and NASA. After the mission the United States became theleading country in the field of space exploration. The USstarted to get ready for further missions into space byreaching new breakthroughs in space suit technology. Themanned orbiting laboratory suit of 1963 was an Air Forcerefinement for the Gemini spacecraft missions. The mannedorbiting laboratory was designed to carry two or moreastronauts into space at the same time for an extendedperiod of time. The suit was supposed to allow theastronauts to be able to move around the Gemini spacecraftfreely. However the suit was made obsolete when the ProjectGemini lightweight suit was developed in 1965. The spacesuit was designed to be easily removed during flight to aidto the astronauts comfort, making it easier for theastronauts to tolerate long journeys. These suits were ofgreat value to the Apollo missions. The Apollo missionswere meant to eventually land a man on the moon.While Soviet space program was faltering because thegovernment refused to allocate the needed funds to supportthe Soviet Cosmonauts, the United States was getting readyto send a man to the moon. The first ten Apollo missionswere to survey the moon and the gravity fields around it tomake planning a landing easier once these missions wereaccomplished the US prepared to execute the mission to themoon. The three astronauts chosen to go to the moon wereCommander Neil Armstrong, Pilot Edwin ?Buzz? Aldrin, andPilot Michael Collins. These three men would be solelyresponsible for ?opening up the universe to allmankind?(document). On July 16, 1969 the rocket launchedoff of the launch pad and out of earth?s atmosphere. Thelaunch was a complete success and everything went accordingto plan. Three days later the crew approached the moon andstarted to orbit around. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrindeparted from the main rocket in the lunar module and landedon the Sea of Tranquillity on the moon. The module landedand Commander Armstrong climbed down the ladder and said thewords (insert smallstep). The command module left themoon?s orbit three days later and returned to earth on July24, 1969. Several other Apollo missions to the moonfollowed the Apollo 11 mission. Apollo 13 was one of thenear disasters of the Apollo missions. Well into the flightone of the oxygen tanks in the service module ruptured anddamaged the wiring with an electrical shock. The crew hadto orbit around the moon to make it back to earth. Runningdangerously low on oxygen in the cabin the crew stayed inthe lunar module that was not damaged by the electricalshort in the circuits. The crew of the Apollo 13 missionreturned home to a hero?s welcome even thought their missionwas not completed.
Apollo 15 was the first of the longer, expedition moonlandings. The astronauts could cover more territory on themoon because of a new invention created by NASA scientists,the lunar rover. The astronauts brought back one of theprize artifacts of the Apollo missions, a piece of ancientcrust called ?Genesis Rock?. Apollo 17 was the last of theApollo missions to the moon. This mission was the firstthat took along a scientist, Harrison Schmitt. On May 14NASA launched SpaceLab 1, which was the first purelyscientific space mission. The mission was to experimentwith medicines and other experimental drugs in zero gravity.The mission led to many breakthroughs in medical technology.A year after SpaceLab 1 was launched the US prepared tolaunch SpaceLab 2. SpaceLab 2 suffered from many technicalflaws in the design. After intense repairs byextravehicular activity the Lab was repaired and the US hadanother medical lab in space. In late 1977 NASA launched 2Voyager rockets. Voyager had larger and more powerfultitan/centaur rockets that boosted it away from thegravitational pull of earth. Voyager was propelled from 25to 30,000 miles per hour on its way to Jupiter to takepictures of the mysterious planet.(document)
1981-1990 In 1981, the US launched the first prototype of the newSTS(Space Transportation System) series Space Shuttle. Thistype of shuttle was of better use to NASA because they werereusable. Another advantage of the new reusable shuttles isthat they could carry three more passengers. On November1983 the space shuttle Columbia (STS-9) launched fromKennedy Space Center carrying astronauts John W. Young andBrewster Shaw along with 70 experiments in 5 different areasof scientific research. On June 18, 1983 Sally Ride becamethe first woman in space by being one of three missionspecialists on the space shuttle Challenger (STS-7). OnJanuary 28, 1986 the greatest tragedy in NASA historyoccurred when the space shuttle Challenger exploded inmidair one minute and thirteen seconds into flight. Theexplosion was caused by the failure of a booster to ignitecaused the ship to breakup. This disaster had such atremendous affect on the nation that President Reaganchanged his State of the Union address to a remembrancestatement. reagan.webteamone.com/speeches/challenger.htmlThe Challenger disaster resulted in the grounding of theAmerican space program for the next two years. Later in thedecade President Reagan suggested the use of militarysatellites to destroy atomic missiles that had beenpreviously launched. The mission was labeled ?Star Wars?.The creation of this program would give whoever created itan important advantage if a nuclear war would take place.Satellites were also beginning to be used for relaying radioand television signals around the world saving stationsmillions of dollars and giving radio and television accessto areas in the world were it was not possible to getsignals. In early 1990 the Shuttle Discovery crew deployedthe Hubble Space Telescope which is used to look for otherplanets and galaxies. Immediately after the deployment ofHubble NASA found many errors in the telescope. NASAinstantly went to work to fix the abnormalities in thetelescope. After the errors in the telescope were madepublic NASA received mail that expressed discouragingfeelings toward the agency for producing such an expensivetelescope does not work properly. The critics soon weresilenced when the telescope was fixed and started to makediscoveries in deep space including the sighting of apotentially massive black hole in galaxy M87.
NASA?s main focus in the 90?s is to explore Mars. OnNovember 7, 1996 the US launched a Mars Surveyor. Thesurveyor was sent to photograph images of the surface of theplanet Mars. It will measure magnetic fields in theatmosphere of Mars and be able to describe what the surfaceof the planet is composed of, along with what the weather onthe planet is like. The Mars Rover was sent to the planeton July 6, 1996. The rover has sent back detailed picturesof the surface of Mars.http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/database/www-nmc?MESURPR Thisinformation will be used on plans for future landing sites.NASA plans to use Mars for further scientific research andpossible colonization. NASA also sent John Glenn, the firstAmerican astronaut to orbit Earth, back into space in 1998.This mission was done to experiment on the effects of spaceon the elderly. This journey made Glenn the first Americanin space and the oldest man in space.
Space exploration has been a means of giving Americanspride in their country as well as breakthroughs in thefields of science and military defense. NASA continues tolead the way in scientific research in space. Many goodsproduced today are products of NASA research and technology(digital phones and satellite television). NASA has made iteasier for people to communicate with friends and family viathe Internet. All the goods and services that usesatellites and space technology would not be present intoday?s society without the existence of an agency like NASAand the Space Exploration done by the United States.
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