How High Does a Rocket Have To Go Before It Can Orbit Around Earth?

how high does a rocket have to go before it can orbit around earth

It’s not how high, it’s how fast. There is a certain speed called the escape velocity that an object must achieve before it can keep circling Earth in a stable orbit and not fall down. Let me take you out to the ball game. Suppose that a center fielder tries to throw a runner out … Read more

What is the smallest planet in the solar system?

what is the smallest planet in the solar system

The smallest planet in the solar system is the planet Mercury. Also the closest planet to the sun, Mercury is about 20 times smaller than Earth and orbits the Sun once every 87.969 Earth days. Although bright, Mercury is not easily seen from Earth as it is normally lost in the glare of the Sun. … Read more

What Did the Soviet Vega Probes Achieve During Their Mission and When Did Vega 1 Reach Halley’s Comet?

what did the soviet vega probes achieve during their mission and when did vega 1 reach halleys comet

The USSR’s Martian program did not meet expectations, whereas its 1985 Vega probes to Venus and Halley’s comet were unmitigated successes. By 1985, international relations had eased to the point where the USSR, the United States, Europe, Brazil, and Australia all shared information on this venture. Vega 1 and Vega 2 were launched in December … Read more

Why Did NASA Put the Hubble Space Telescope In Space and Why Do Space Telescopes Take Sharper Images?

why did nasa put the hubble space telescope in space and why do space telescopes take sharper images scaled

Since telescopes were first used by Galileo in the early seventeenth century, astronomers have dreamed of placing them where Earth’s atmosphere would not get in the way of viewing the universe. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) fulfills that dream. The Hubble Space Telescope, a reflecting telescope, is not the largest telescope made on Earth. Its … Read more

How Many Years Did NASA Spend Designing the Hubble Space Telescope and What Was The Hubble Telescope’s Mission?

how many years did nasa spend designing the hubble space telescope and what was the hubble telescopes mission scaled

NASA spent some 30 years thinking about, designing, creating, and testing a telescope that would be launched into orbit. The result, the Hubble Space Telescope, was ready for launch in 1985. Its mission would be to observe the solar system and the galaxies beyond it without the interference of Earth’s atmosphere. Early in 1986, however, … Read more

When Was the Hubble Space Telescope Launched Into Orbit and Who Is the Hubble Telescope Named After?

when was the hubble space telescope launched into orbit and who is the hubble telescope named after scaled

Fortunately, NASA made plans for repairing the Hubble Space Telescope throughout its projected 15-year orbit. Two months after the Hubble Space Telescope’s launch in 1990, it was discovered that the primary mirror had not been ground properly, among other problems. The telescope could not be focused. While this was a major embarrassment, the dangerous and … Read more

When Was NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor Probe Launched and Why Did the Mission To Mars End Prematurely?

when was nasas mars global surveyor probe launched and why did the mission to mars end prematurely scaled

Launched on November 6, 1996, NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor probe was designed primarily to study past and present climate patterns, carry out studies of geology and natural resources to determine the possibility of Mars supporting manned missions; and, of course, to look for life. Many astronomers believe that signs of life on the planet point … Read more

What Probes Did the USSR Send To Venus and When Did Venera 7 Transmit Surface Images of the Planet Venus?

what probes did the ussr send to venus and when did venera 7 transmit surface images of the planet venus

The Soviet Venera program focused on landing a probe on Venus, and ten Venera probes successfully landed on the planet. The first probes sent back data and images from within the planet’s atmosphere before being burned up by the incredible temperatures or crushed by the monumental atmospheric pressure. Venera 7 touched down on July 22, … Read more

When Did the USSR’s Mars Program Begin and How Many Mars Program Spacecraft Touched Down On Mars Successfully?

when did the ussrs mars program begin and how many mars program spacecraft touched down on mars successfully scaled

The USSR’s Mars program, which had probes named after the planet, had more than its fair share of misfortune, including failed launches, unsuccessful attempts to leave Earth’s orbit, completely missing Mars, and even death. Scientists set out to investigate the failed launch of an early probe; it exploded, killing most of the team. Out of … Read more

What Space Probes Has NASA Sent To Study the Sun and What Is the Purpose of Orbital Solar Observatories?

what space probes has nasa sent to study the sun and what is the purpose of orbital solar observatories

NASA developed a number of Orbital Solar Observatories (OSO), which were launched between 1962 and 1975. Their purpose was to observe the Sun’s ultraviolet, gamma, and X rays throughout an 11-year sunspot cycle. From 1973 to 1974, a special Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) was attached to Skylab for observation of the Sun. The successor to … Read more

When Was The Space Station Freedom Proposed By NASA and How Much Does the International Space Station Cost?

when was the space station freedom proposed by nasa and how much does the international space station cost

Once the race to the Moon was over, attention could be refocused on long-range missions. The idea of a permanently manned, international space station came into favor. Funding was short and NASA’s first priority became the space shuttle, but in 1984, President Reagan announced in his inaugural speech that such a station would be next … Read more

What Are Space Probes Used For and Which Space Probes Have Visited Other Planets In Our Solar System?

what are space probes used for and which space probes have visited other planets in our solar system

Space probes are unmanned spacecraft fitted with instruments to gather and transmit data and images from space. Because the probes are self-sufficient, they can be sent where no person could survive: into orbit around the Sun, to the other planets, or even out beyond the solar system. The downside of unmanned probes is that malfunctions … Read more

Which Other Countries Besides the United States and Russia Have Space Programs and How Many Have Astronauts?

which other countries besides the united states and russia have space programs and how many have astronauts

Most industrialized countries probably have some kind of space program. This is not to say that they all put people into space. Most concentrate on launching communications and/or surveillance satellites. Manned space flight is becoming more and more a cooperative international effort. For example, the Freedom space station, announced in President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 State … Read more

What Was the Purpose of The Spacelab Mission and When Was Spacelab First Launched Into Earth Orbit?

what was the purpose of the spacelab mission and when was spacelab first launched into earth orbit

A joint space mission between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), Spacelab was first launched in November 1983. Spacelab is not a spacecraft in and of itself. It consists of varying modules that travel attached to the space shuttle for the purposes of conducting specific research. Spacelab allowed scientists to perform experiments in microgravity … Read more

Why Did Cosmonauts Fly Missions In Their Underwear and When Did Cosmonauts Start Wearing Space Suits?

why did cosmonauts fly missions in their underwear and when did cosmonauts start wearing space suits

Cosmonauts wear space suits now, at least during takeoff, landing, and docking. Originally, space suits were not required, and some cosmonauts flew in their underwear. But on June 29, 1971, when the three cosmonauts in Soyuz 11 undocked from the space station Salyut 1, an air release valve suddenly opened. Without the life-support systems of … Read more

What Was the Space Shuttle Originally Designed For and How Many Astronauts Can the Space Shuttle Carry?

what was the space shuttle originally designed for and how many astronauts can the space shuttle carry

Originally, the space shuttle was meant to be a transport system to and from a space station. Due to financial cutbacks and shifts in priority at NASA, the space station never materialized back then, but the space shuttle did. The space shuttle became an orbiting laboratory as well a reusable spacecraft for transportation into space. … Read more

How Many Tragedies Have There Been In Space and What Was NASA’s First Fatal Accident On a Spacecraft?

how many tragedies have there been in space and what was nasas first fatal accident on a spacecraft

Traveling in space is dangerous. No possibility of life exists beyond the support functions brought from Earth. Getting off and back onto Earth requires the use of highly volatile and dangerous materials. Space travelers are face-to-face not only with the laws of physics, but also their own mortality. The first fatal accident occurred on January … Read more

Why Are Space Suits Necessary To Protect Astronauts In Space and How Were Space Suits For NASA Developed?

why are space suits necessary to protect astronauts in space and how were space suits for nasa developed

Space suits are required by astronauts because body fluids would boil under the natural pressure in space. Even pilots of high-flying aircraft need pressurized suits, and NASA developed space suits for the Mercury astronauts from those originally worn by U.S. Navy jet pilots. Space suits have come a long way since Soviet cosmonauts flew in … Read more

How Were Gemini Space Suits Designed To Protect Astronauts and What Were NASA’s Gemini Space Suits Made of?

how were gemini space suits designed to protect astronauts and what were nasas gemini space suits made of

When astronauts began walking in space, their suits had to be further altered to give more mobility and comfort while providing more protection from micrometeorites and accidental rips and tears. The Gemini space suits were airtight casings enclosed by a layer of woven fishnet fabric that prevented ballooning when the suit was pressurized. A layer … Read more

When Did the First Humans Land On the Moon and How Many Astronauts Were On the The Apollo 11 Mission?

when did the first humans land on the moon and how many astronauts were on the the apollo 11 mission

After ten Apollo test missions, both manned and unmanned, Apollo 11 was launched on July 16, 1969. The astronauts on board were Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong and Aldrin landed the lunar module Eagle on the Moon’s surface in the … Read more

How Many Modules Did NASA’s Apollo Spacecraft Have and How Was the Command Module Linked To the Lunar Module?

how many modules did nasas apollo spacecraft have and how was the command module linked to the lunar module

The Apollo spacecraft that sent American astronauts to the moon had two modules, the command module and the service module. The command module, where the three astronauts spent their time, measured 10 feet (3 m) x 12.5 feet (3.8 m). It had five windows and contained three couches for the astronauts; storage facilities; navigation, instrument, … Read more

Who Built the Saturn Rockets For the Apollo Space Missions and How Many Stages Did Saturn Rockets Have?

who built the saturn rockets for the apollo space missions and how many stages did saturn rockets have

Saturn rockets, based on missiles developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, launched most of the Apollo missions. The Saturn rocket boosters were developed by a team of German rocket scientists led by Wernher von Braun to launch heavy payloads into space. They were originally meant as a military satellite launcher, but they were adopted … Read more

What Was NASA’s Second Human Spaceflight Program and How Many Manned Gemini Missions Were There?

what was nasas second human spaceflight program and how many manned gemini missions were there

Project Gemini was NASA’s second human spaceflight program, and consisted of 10 manned flights between 1965 and 1966. The American Gemini spacecraft were the first to carry two people into space. NASA used the Gemini program to develop techniques for advanced space travel, and to prepare for the Apollo missions, whose objective was to land … Read more

How Many Explorer Satellites Were Launched Into Space and What Was the Purpose of the Explorer Space Program?

how many explorer satellites were launched into space and what was the purpose of the explorer space program

Sixty-five Explorer satellites, all unmanned, were launched from Earth between 1958 and 1984, seven failed to launch successfully. They were all sent into space to collect data and conduct experiments on specific phenomena. The areas of study included radiation belts, magnetic fields, solar wind, electromagnetic rays, the ionosphere, and Halley’s comet. In the aftermath of … Read more

When Did the United States Begin Its First Manned Flight Program and What Does NASA Stand For?

when did the united states begin its first manned flight program and what does nasa stand for

After the Soviet space program’s launch of the world’s first artificial satellite on October 4, 1957, the U.S. Congress, alarmed by the threat to national security and technological leadership, urged immediate and swift action. In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA for short, to run the country’s … Read more

When Did a Mercury Capsule First Orbit the Earth and Who Was On Board To Pilot the Spacecraft?

when did a mercury capsule first orbit the earth and who was on board to pilot the spacecraft scaled

On September 13, 1961, a Mercury capsule was launched into orbit and, after one complete revolution, landed safely. On board was a simulation of an astronaut. Afterwards, a Mercury capsule successfully carried the chimpanzee Enos twice around Earth. Despite the astronauts’ test pilot experience NASA first intended for them to be “minor participants” during their … Read more

Who Was the First American To Orbit the Earth and How Long Did the Spacecraft Friendship 7 Spend In Orbit?

who was the first american to orbit the earth and how long did the spacecraft friendship 7 spend in orbit scaled

Astronaut John Glenn Jr. was the first American to orbit the Earth. After numerous delays, his Mercury capsule, named Friendship 7, took off on February 20, 1962, and kept him in orbit for 5 hours. During reentry, NASA suspected that the capsule’s heat shield, protection against the deadly heat of friction caused by falling through … Read more

Who Built the First Liquid Fueled Rocket In the World and When Was the First Liquid Fueled Rocket Launched?

who built the first liquid fueled rocket in the world and when was the first liquid fueled rocket launched scaled

In 1926, Robert Goddard, a rocket engineer, fired the first rocket propelled by liquid fuel, solid fuel had already been discounted as not powerful enough to send anything into space. The first flight of a vehicle powered by a liquid-rocket took place on March 16, 1926 at Auburn, Massachusetts. Goddard’s rocket reached a velocity of … Read more

When Did the United States Launch Its First Satellite Into Space and Who Designed the Satellite Explorer 1?

when did the united states launch its first satellite into space and who designed the satellite explorer 1

The Soviet launch of Sputnik spurred the United States to get its first satellite, Explorer 1, into orbit. The National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), adopted a U.S. Navy plan called Vanguard to launch the country’s first satellite. However, the satellite’s test run, in December … Read more

Why Don’t Pluto and Neptune Collide When They Orbit the Sun and What Is the Planet Pluto’s Orbital Inclination?

why dont pluto and neptune collide when they orbit the sun and what is the planet plutos orbital inclination

Since the tiny Pluto crosses the gas giant’s path, it is reasonable to think that the two would collide. Perhaps Pluto would get caught by the larger planet’s gravitational force and become a satellite. This doesn’t happen because Pluto’s orbital inclination, the angle of its orbital plane is 17°, while Neptune’s is 1.8°. The two … Read more

What Is the Planet Pluto Made of and How Much of Pluto Is Made of Ice?

what is the planet pluto made of and how much of pluto is made of ice

Pluto is very dense, so astronomers believe it is mostly rock, unlike its neighboring gas giants. It seems to be covered with ice, perhaps composed of methane and nitrogen. Bright and dark areas appear on the surface, and Pluto has polar ice caps. Most astronomers expect that Pluto’s internal structure is differentiated, with the rocky … Read more

How Many Moons Does Pluto Have and When Was Pluto’s Moon Charon Discovered?

how many moons does pluto have and when was plutos moon charon discovered

The planet Pluto has three known natural satellites, Charon, Nix and Hydra. Charon was first discovered by astronomer James Christy in 1978. We know little about Pluto, and we know less about its only moon, Charon. Pluto’s moon is about one-half the size of its host planet: 739 miles (1,182 km) in diameter. It orbits … Read more

Where Did Pluto Come From, How Did the Planet Pluto Get Its Name, and What Is the Planet Pluto Like?

where did pluto come from how did the planet pluto get its name and what is the planet pluto like

Many astronomers believe that Pluto was an escaped moon of Neptune, knocked out of orbit by its largest current moon, Triton. This hypothesis has been heavily criticised because Pluto never comes near Neptune in its orbit. The discovery of Pluto made headlines across the globe, and its name was proposed by Venetia Burney, an eleven-year-old … Read more

How Was the Planet Pluto Discovered and How Long Did It Take Astronomers To Discover Pluto After Neptune?

how was the planet pluto discovered and how long did it take astronomers to discover pluto after neptune

When astronomer William Herschel identified Uranus in 1781, astronomers determined that there must be at least one more planet beyond it to cause the idiosyncracies of its orbit. This led to the discovery of the planet Neptune in 1846. But even Neptune’s existence did not justify the peculiarities of Uranus’s orbit. Another planet had to … Read more

Where Is Planet X Located, Why Was Pluto Called Planet X, and Why Hasn’t Planet X Been Found?

where is planet x located why was pluto called planet x and why hasnt planet x been found

When Uranus was discovered in 1781, astronomers concluded that yet another, more distant, planet had to exist. Something, they figured, was exerting a strong gravitational influence on Uranus’s orbit. They called that something Planet X. The search for Planet X led to the identification of Neptune, but Neptune was not strong enough alone to so … Read more

What Is the Ninth Planet From the Sun, How Far Away Is Pluto, and Is Pluto a Planet, a Moon, or an Asteroid?

what is the ninth planet from the sun how far away is pluto and is pluto a planet a moon or an asteroid

Some astronomers have questioned whether Pluto should be classified as a planet, rather than an errant moon or an asteroid. The does not generate light; it is less massive than a star; it wanders through constellations; and it orbits the Sun, just like the other planets. Pluto’s orbit, however, is decidedly peculiar. Pluto’s distance from … Read more

What Is the Planet Neptune’s Interior Made of and What Is the Composition of Neptune’s Atmosphere?

what is the planet neptunes interior made of and what is the composition of neptunes atmosphere

Neptune’s internal structure is very similar to that of the planet Uranus. Neptune and Uranus are often considered a sub-class of gas giant termed “ice giants”, due to their smaller size and higher concentrations of volatiles relative to the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. The planet Neptune has a partly rocky, but mostly icy, core … Read more

What Are the Two Largest Moons of the Planet Uranus and What Are the Moons Titania and Oberon Made of?

what are the two largest moons of the planet uranus and what are the moons titania and oberon made of

The moons Titania and Oberon, the largest and most distant satellites of the planet Uranus, show different signs of cratering. On Titania, the craters are small, which probably means that the original large craters were eroded by some kind of geological force. Astronomers believe that large surface cracks, over 600 miles (960 km) long and … Read more

What Is the Eighth Planet In the Solar System and How Is the Planet Neptune Similar To the Other Gas Giants?

what is the eighth planet in the solar system and how is the planet neptune similar to the other gas giants

Neptune, the eighth planet from the sun, is the smallest of the gas giants, and the farthest from the Sun. Its discovery, in 1846, came about through mathematical calculation, rather than simple observation. We knew little about Neptune before 1989, when the spacecraft Voyager 2 began photographing it. Voyager could observe only the southern hemisphere, … Read more

What Color Is the Planet Neptune and Why Is Neptune’s Atmosphere Bright Blue?

what color is the planet neptune and why is neptunes atmosphere bright blue

The planet Neptune has an atmosphere of hydrogen, helium, and methane, just as Uranus does. The methane, which lies in a haze over the planet’s thick cloud cover, absorbs the red end of the spectrum, reflecting the blues. Neptune’s vivid deep azure, however, is a little different from Uranus’s milder aquamarine. Neptune’s atmospheric methane content … Read more

How Was Neptune Discovered and How Did Astronomers Determine That the Planet Neptune Existed Beyond Uranus?

how was neptune discovered and how did astronomers determine that the planet neptune existed beyond uranus

Galileo first observed Neptune on December 28, 1612, but he mistook Neptune for a fixed star when it appeared very close to Jupiter in the night sky. The search for Neptune began when astronomers noticed that Uranus’s movements, particularly its orbit, didn’t correspond to their expectations. One explanation was that another planet existed beyond Uranus, … Read more