On July 20, 1969, Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon. Their NASA space suits allowed these astronauts to explore the lunar surface for over two hours in temperatures ranging from -183 to 106 degrees Celsius. Armstrong and Aldrin then boarded the lunar module, rejoined fellow astronaut Michael Collins aboard their command module, and returned safely to Earth.
The James Webb Space Telescope, launched December 25, 2021, is the largest and most powerful telescope ever deployed. This $10 billion telescope was designed to collect light in the near-infrared spectrum which is the optimum wavelength to allow for the detection of very distant objects. In fact, the telescope allows astronomers to peer back in time to within 180 million years after the Big Bang which is even before the first galaxies formed!
Perseverance launched July 30, 2020, enroute to Jezero Crater, Mars. Perseverance features a plutonium power source and a variety of instruments to aid the rover in its mission to seek signs of previous life on Mars, as well as collect data to further aid future manned missions there.
Ingenuity, the 4 pound helicopter that was launched with Perseverance, features four specially made carbon-fiber blades, arranged into two rotors that spin in opposite directions at around 2,400 rpm – many times faster than a helicopter on Earth. It is a separate experiment from the rover and is intended to demonstrate technologies needed for flying in the Martian atmosphere.
Over 15 stories tall, the external tank flanked by two booster rockets, enabled the space shuttle to escape Earth’s gravity and send it into orbit. The two booster rockets would burn 9 tons of fuel per second, at a velocity of 3000 miles per hour.
Shuttle nameplates included: Atlantis, Discovery, Endeavor and Enterprise.
The International Space Station (ISS) is a low-orbit research laboratory, housing astronauts from many nations since November 2000. The ISS is home to research projects such as the search for dark matter and the effects of microgravity on living organisms.
The ISS is approximately 356 feet (109 m) wide (longer than a football field) and orbits the Earth over 15 times per day.
Is the fourth operational and the second-to-last Space Shuttle built. Atlantis lifted off on its maiden voyage on October 3rd 1985 and became the first Space Shuttle to launch an interplanetary probe to Venus in 1989.
Was the third NASA orbiter to be built. It first launched August 30, 1984 and remained in service for more than 27 years. Among its many accomplishments was the work done on the International Space Station and carrying the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.
InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the planet Mars. InSight launched on May 5, 2018 and successfully landed on Mars on Nov. 26, 2018.
Its finding are expected to shed light on the processes responsible for the formation of Mars, Earth, and even rocky exoplanets more than 4 billion years ago.
The Apollo 11 moon landing required two spacecraft- The lunar module (LM) and command service module (CSM). Once in lunar orbit, the two would separate so the LM could land while the CSM waited in orbit. After launching from the lunar surface, the LM’s ascent stage would rendezvous and dock with the waiting CSM, then the astronauts would transfer back into the main spacecraft and head home. It sounds nearly impossible but that’s the way it was July 20, 1969.
Saturn V: President Kennedy said, “we choose to go to the moon” The Saturn V is how we got there! This 3-stage expendable rocket was developed by NASA to support the US Apollo space program between 1967 and 1973. The “V” referenced the five giant F-1 rocket engines clustered at the bottom of the Saturn V’s first stage.
The Voyager Spacecraft: Consist of two robotic probes that were built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and launched by NASA in 1977. Their primary mission was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn. Both Voyagers are now tasked with exploring interstellar space.
Was affectionately known as the moon buggy. It was used on the moon in the last three missions of the American Apollo program (15, 16, 17) during 1971 and 1972. Powered by only two silver-oxide batteries, the Apollo 17 was able to drive for 35.74 km (22.21 miles) across the surface of the moon.
Was launched into low Earth orbit April 24th, 1990. Operating outside the distortion of the Earth’s atmosphere it is able to take extremely high-resolution visible-light images. Hubble has recorded some of the most detailed visible-light images ever, allowing a deep view into space and time.
Was a two part spacecraft used to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon and back. The descent stage served as the launch pad for the ascent stage plus it housed the landing gear, engines and fuel needed for landing. Six such craft successfully landed on the Moon between 1969 and 1972.