Life in our modern world has never been more comfortable and convenient in the ways of outer space travel. We have a subway, airplanes, speed trains, electric cars – just choose. But let’s roll back in time to the day of the first outer space travel, when a great accomplishment has been to put the fundamentals of future space exploration.
The first outer space travel will remain one of the most significant events in the world’s modern history.
Before the first outer space travel
Humans desire to explore the unknown have always driven them to new inventions. The first experiments of creating a machine powerful enough to send you into space started at the beginning of the previous century. In the 30’s the first rockets suitable for long distance flights were already built. In the next year’s rockets were used as weapons, but despite their devastating effect, it was still a key discovery on the path of designing the future spacecraft.
The competition in space inventions between influential countries was harsh. The first flight became a key event, strengthening the rivalry between the Soviet Union and The US during the Cold War. Before the beginning of the 60’s both countries already had space programs, investing great financial and human resource in scientific research and construction of rockets. It was a matter of national dignity and advantage, both military and scientific, over other countries.
In 1957 the Soviet Union catapulted the first artificial satellite – Sputnik 1 and a month later Sputnik 2 with the famous dog Laika on board. It is thought the satellite Sputnik 1 orbited the Earth at a distance 250km. This was a huge breakthrough for the Soviets, giving motivation to the US to continue with their research.
The US catapulted their first satellite Explorer 1 a year later!
The first man to travel in outer space
The first human to travel outer space was the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961 on the board of Vostok 1. The spacecraft made one full circle on the orbit around our planet with duration of nearly two hours. This outstanding event put the beginning of human spaceflight.
Yuri Gagarin spent a long time in preparation for his outer space travel, training his mind and body for a trip no man ever made. He was physically and psychologically tested with experiments. Trained to be patient and focused inside the tight cockpit of the spacecraft.
Vostok 1 was followed by further attempts to send a man in outer space. Just a couple of weeks after Vostok 1, the American Alan Shepard made his suborbital flight. Followed by an actual orbital flight of Mercury – Atlas 6 with John Glenn on board.
The first outer space travel with a living person aboard encouraged scientist even more. The years between 1969 and 1972 six Apollo missions were carried out to explore the moon before the first flight to the planet. The moon was photographed, and with data collected, the astronauts were well prepared before they made the historic moon walk.
Many future space missions followed – The Mariner to map the surface of Mars. The Voyager sending information about Jupiter and Saturn, the space shuttle Columbia launched in 1981. The targets of explorations became even broader.
After the first decades of intense competition, finally, the big forces shook hands to create the International Space Station in 1998. None of this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the hunger of information about space.
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