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Spacecrafts are huge and heavy machines that are made to travel in space.

Spacecrafts can explore


a variety of things in space. They are designed differently depending on the purpose of
exploration.

Keeping an eye on Earth – Satellites are spacecrafts that are perfect for Earth observation. They
orbit around the Earth. Some take pictures of Earth that gives clues about its environment. Some
bounce back TV and phone signals to earth. A few satellites are even used as spies to peek into
other countries. Russia’s Sputnik 1 was the world’s first artificial satellite.

Space Shuttles are partly reusable spacecrafts used for transportation of humans and cargo into the
space. Rockets, in turn, propel space shuttles into space.

Walking on the moon – Before a human could step on moon, seven robotic spacecrafts were sent
to the surface of the Moon by NASA to study the possibility of safe landing. All seven spacecrafts
are still on the Moon.

What lies beyond our Solar System? – How large is the Universe? Where does it end? How far
does it stretch? To find the answer to these questions NASA has up till now launched spacecrafts –
Voyager 1 and 2 and New horizons.

Spacecrafts are vehicles designed to operate, with or without a crew, in a controlled flight pattern
above Earth’s lower atmosphere. It is a general term for objects launched into space for example:
Earth-orbiting…

Spacecraft is a general term for objects launched into space—used as earth-orbiting satellites and
space probes, experiment capsules, the orbiting modules of some launch vehicles (examples of
which are the U.S. space shuttleor the Russian Soyuz), and space stations.

Actual vehicles for spacecraft are designed with a variety of shapes depending on the mission.

The first spacecraft, the Soviet Union’sSputnik 1, was launched on October 4, 1957; it weighed
83.6 kg (184 pounds). It was soon followed by other unmanned Soviet and U.S. spacecraft and,
within four years (April 12, 1961), by the first manned spacecraft, Vostok 1, which carried the
Soviet cosmonaut Yury Gagarin.

Since then, numerous other manned and unmanned craft have been launched to increase scientific
knowledge, augment national security, or provide important services in areas such as
telecommunications and weather forecasting.

American-built Telstar 1 communications satellite, launched July 10, 1962, was a spacecraft which
relayed the first transatlantic television signals.
Most spacecraft are not self-propelled; they depend on the initial velocity provided by a launch
vehicle, which separates from the spacecraft when its task is done. The spacecraft typically either
is placed into an orbitaround Earth or, if given sufficient velocity to escape Earth’s gravity,
continues toward another destination in space. The spacecraft itself often carries
small rocketengines for maneuvering and orienting in space.

The Lunar Module, the manned Moon-landing vehicle used in the Apollo program, had rocket
engines that allowed it to soft-land on the Moon and then return its crew to the lunar-orbiting
Command Module.

Spacecraft require an onboard source of electrical power to operate the equipment that they carry.
Those designed to remain in Earth orbit for extended periods generally use panels of solar cells,
often in conjunction with storage batteries. The shuttle orbiter, designed for stays in space of one
to two weeks, uses hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells.

Deep-space probes, such as the Galileo spacecraft that went into orbit around Jupiter in 1995 and
the Cassini spacecraft launched to Saturn in 1997, are usually powered by small, long-lived
radioisotope thermoelectric generators, which convert heat emitted by a radioactive element such
as plutonium directly into electricity.

Now lets discuss the different kinds of spacecraft

First, the space probe. It is an unmanned spacecraft that is given a velocity great enough to allow it
to escape Earth’s gravitational attraction.

Second, A deep-space probe which is a probe sent beyond the Earth-Moon system; if sent to
explore other planets, it is also called a planetary probe.

Third, An experiment capsule. It is a small unmanned laboratory that is often recovered after its
flight.

Fourth, A space station is an artificial structure placed in orbit and equipped to support human
habitation for extended periods.

Spacecraft differ greatly in size, shape, complexity, and purpose. Those that share similarities in
design, function, or both are often grouped into program families.

Lightness of weight and functional reliability are primary features of spacecraft design. Depending
on their mission, spacecraft may spend minutes, days, months, or years in the environment of
space. Mission functions must be performed while exposed to high vacuum, microgravity, extreme
variations in temperature, and strong radiation.
There is also a general differentiation of spacecraft is by function—scientific or applications.

A scientific spacecraft or probe carries instruments to obtain data on magnetic fields, space
radiation, Earth and its atmosphere, the Sun or other stars, planets and their moons, and other
astronomical objects and phenomena.

Applications spacecraft have utilitarian tasks, such as telecommunications, Earth observation,


military reconnaissance, navigation and position-location, power transmission, and space
manufacturing.

Now that we have learned a bit about spacecrafts, here are 21 facts you didnt know about them:

1. Japan successfully landed an unmanned spacecraft on an asteroid, collected samples in 2005.


The probe returned to earth in 2010. –

2. There is an area in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where no longer needed spacecraft are and
have been routinely deposited. It is known as the “Spacecraft cemetery”, and notably it is also the
place where the defunct Mir space station rests. –

3. The CIA once “kidnapped” a Soviet spacecraft overnight, took it apart, studied it, reassembled
it, and sent it back without the Soviets realizing. –

4. Three LEGO figurines representing Galileo and the gods Jupiter and Juno were sent aboard the
Juno spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter.

5. There is a bacteria that can survive with almost no nutrients in the spacecraft assemblyclean
room and is resistant against the sterilization measures used there.

6. NASA is well on its way to developing a reactionless propulsion system for spacecraft.

7. When the Space Shuttle Columbia landed in White Sands, New Mexico in 1982, sand got
everywhere. So much gypsum dust got into the spacecraft that sand kept coming out from nooks
and crannies of Columbia for the next two decades.

8. In 1999, NASA spacecraft burned up in Mars‘ atmosphere because all the units were in the
metric system except for one contractors’ (Lockheed Martin) numbers, which were in U.S.
Industrial units.

9. The spacecraft Solar Probe Plus which is scheduled to be launched in 2018 will achieve a speed
of 432,000 mph, making it the fastest man-made object ever built.

10. The British are close to having a single stage spacecraft capable of over 180 spaceflights a
year.
11. The memory used in the Apollo spacecraft’s computer was based on weaving thin copper wires
around magnetic doughnuts. Half a mile of wire gave them 65 KBits of information.

12. The Voyager 1 spacecraft is still alive and well. In December of last year, it used its rockets to
maneuver for the first time in 37 years.

13. The Flyby Anomaly is when spacecraft do Earth-flybys at certain angles, they experience a
small but sudden velocity increase, which is still unexplained. One of the proposed explanations is
the existence of a ring of dark matter around Earth.

14. Apollo 12 landed within 600 feet of the Surveyor 3 spacecraft that had arrived 2 years earlier.
Parts of the spacecraft were retrieved and taken back home for examination.

15. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has discovered over 2,325 exoworlds, which is more than 2/3rd of
the known planets currently in our galaxy..

16. A theoretical spacecraft was designed to travel 92% the speed of light, granting humans the
ability to travel to different star systems within their lifetimes.

17. As NASA’s Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft swung past Earth on Oct. 9, 2013, amateur radio
operators around the world sent a Morse Code “HI” to the spacecraft, and Juno heard them!

18. The Venera 14 spacecraft landed on Venus in 1982 to measure the compressibility of the soil.
It ended up measuring the compressibility of its own lens cap, which landed right where the
spacecraft was to measure the soil.

19. Had the effects of the sun’s radiation pressure on the spacecraft of the Viking program been
ignored, the spacecraft would have missed Mars orbit by about 15,000 kilometers.

20. While Armstrong was still on the surface of the moon, a Soviet spacecraft crashed into a Luna
mountain range.

21. The first view of the far side (or “dark side”) of the moon was carried out in 1959 by the
Soviet spacecraft Luna 3.

This ends our discussion. I hope you learned a lot from this video.