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Fun Facts - ASTRONAUTS-Manned Space Missions

Manned Space Missions

During the 1950s, there was a "space race" between the USA and USSR to be the first country to send a human into space. NASA's Mercury Mission were originally unmanned, or carried only animals. The USSR launched the first man into orbit in 1961.

Each country's subsequent space mission had different aims. The USA focused on Moon landings with their Apollo programme and later the re-usable space shuttle. The Soviets and later Russia concentrated on long-duration missions, with the Mir space station. The latest manned mission is the International Space Station , which is four time larger than Mir .

Mission Country Years
Mercury USA 1959-63
Vostok USSR 1961-63
Voskhod USSR 1964-65
Gemini USA 1965-66
Apollo USA 1967-72
Soyuz USSR 1967-76
Salyut USSR 1971-82
Skylab USA 1973
Apollo Soyuz USA / USSR 1975
Space Shuttle USA 1981
MIR Space Station USSR / Russia 1986-2001
International Space Station USA, Canada, Japan, European Space Agency, Russia, Brazil 1998-
Shenzhou China 2003-

This is Our Planet from Tomislav Safundžić on Vimeo.

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Naming The Space Shuttles

Unlike space rockets, NASA's space shuttles, or orbiter vehicles, were designed to be reused. Each has a name, but every mission on which it goes is given a unique nubmer

The acronym STS (Space Transportation System ) has been used throughout the shuttle programme. The first nine flights were simply numbered STS - 1 to STS - 9. A more complicated system was then used, but the original system of STS + number has been revived. They do not always follow numerical order, as a mission may be delayed and a later - numbered mission may take its place before it can be rescheduled.

The Shuttles

Five space shuttles were built; Discovery (first launch 1984), Atlantis (1985) and Endeavour (1992) remain in service. Challenger was destroyed during its 10th mission on 28 January 1986 and Columbia was lost on re-entry from its 28th mission on 1 February 2003.