Spaceflight is the movement of spacecraft into and through outer space, primarily using rocket technology for propulsion. Spaceflight is used in space exploration, the endeavour to reach, explore, and exploit the space outside the Earth's atmosphere, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications. It is generally based on the use of rockets to transport machines, animals, and humans to, and subsequently through, space. Additional non-commercial uses of spaceflight include space observatories, reconnaissance satellites and other earth observation satellites. Objects launched into space may follow a sub-orbital trajectory and return to Earth immediately, stay in orbit around Earth, travel in the space between the planets, or aim to leave the space dominated by the Sun completely.
A transit of Earth by the Moon, as photographed by the Deep Space Climate Observatory from the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrangian point. This animation was compiled from a set of 60 frames—20 distinct images, each compiled from monochrome images taken in red, green and blue filters—taken over the course of five hours on July 16, 2015. Each monochrome frame was taken every 30 seconds. Due to the speed of the Moon's motion, this results in a slight green shift in some frames of the animation.
is an interplanetary space probe
that was launched as a part of NASA
's New Frontiers program
. Engineered by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
(APL) and the Southwest Research Institute
(SwRI), with a team led by S. Alan Stern
, the spacecraft was launched with the primary mission to perform a flyby
study of the Pluto
system, and a secondary mission to fly by and study one or more other Kuiper belt
On January 19, 2006, New Horizons was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station directly into an Earth-and-solar escape trajectory. After a brief encounter with asteroid 132524 APL, New Horizons proceeded to Jupiter, making its closest approach on February 28, 2007. The Jupiter flyby provided a gravity assist that increased New Horizons' speed; the flyby also enabled a general test of New Horizons' scientific capabilities, returning data about the planet's atmosphere, moons, and magnetosphere.
Most of the post-Jupiter voyage was spent in hibernation mode to preserve on-board systems, except for brief annual checkouts. On December 6, 2014, New Horizons was brought back online for the Pluto encounter, and instrument check-out began. On January 15, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft began its approach phase to Pluto.
On July 14, 2015, at 11:49 UTC, it flew 12,500 km (7,800 mi) above the surface of Pluto, making it the first spacecraft to explore the dwarf planet. Having completed its flyby of Pluto, New Horizons has maneuvered for a flyby of Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69, expected to take place on January 1, 2019, when it is 43.4 AU from the Sun.
Robert Laurel "Bob" Crippen
(born September 11, 1937), (Capt
, Ret.), is a retired American naval officer
, test pilot
, aerospace engineer
, and former astronaut
for the United States Department of Defense
and for NASA
An aviator with the U.S. Navy, Crippen was originally chosen to the U.S. Air Force's Manned Orbiting Laboratory program, a project involving a military space station, in 1966. When that project was canceled in 1969, Crippen was transferred to NASA. He was selected as pilot of the first Space Shuttle mission, STS-1, along with commander John Young, which he flew on April 12-14, 1981, on the orbiter Columbia.
Crippen would likewise become the first Shuttle pilot to be promoted to commander, leading the STS-7 mission on orbiter Challenger in June 1983. He would command two other missions (STS-41-C and STS-41-G) in 1984. He was training for another mission when the Challenger disaster occurred, and was re-assigned as Deputy Director of Kennedy Space Center in 1987.
Crippen would serve as the Director of Kennedy Space Center from January 1992 until January 1995, when he left NASA. He would hold executive positions at Lockheed Martin and Thiokol before retiring in 2001.
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