countries, with Russia the larges tand mos tpo werful.
The impact on spac e ex ploration was enormous. As the US and Russia were no long er e nemies, they could no ww ork together. The International Space Station (ISS) became the first station in space built by 1 6d ifferent countri esu nder the leadership of the two former arch-rivals (read abou t th e ISS on page 46).
In th ee arly 1980s the US Apollo project wa sre placed by the Space Shuttle programm e–an ew generation of reusabl es pacecraft that were propelled into space by a ma ssive main rocke tan d two soli dr ocket boosters.
The Shuttles were orbiters that could circle Earth for anything from hours to week s,w ith enough room on boa rdf or the crew to wor kan d live (read more abou tth e Space Shuttle on page 42). An dw he nth e ISS was built, they provided transpor ttoth es pac es tation.
The Shuttle programme lasted 30 years an de nded in 2011. Since then all astronauts have bee nt ravelling to the ISS aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft (read more on page 26).
A NEW SPACE RACE?
China is becoming a spac ef orce tobe reckon edw ith – it’s already sent several crewed missions into orbit on board its Shenzho us pacecraft, launched its own spac es tation, landed a rover on the moon and i ss aid tob e in discussion with Russ iatob uild a joint base on the moon. Som e ex perts even say a second spac er ace betwee n th e US and China is on th ew a y...
THE PRIVATISATION OF SPACE TRAVEL
Space has traditionally bee nth ed omain of governments, but this is changing rapidly as more and more private compani es e nter the industry. NASA wants to focus more on Mars and less on getting crew an dsu pplies to the ISS. They’ve signed contract sw ith several private companies to supply the ISS. These include SpaceX (started by South African-born Elon Musk )w ith it sF alcon rocke t an d Dragon capsule, and Orbital AT K, w ith its Cygnus craft atop NASA’s Atla sr ocket. Dragon will also take astronauts to the ISS fr omn ext year, as may the Boeing/Bigelow Starliner. The company Bigelow is also considering building an inflatable privat es pac es tation. Th ef irs tp rototype of amo dule wa sde livered to the ISS for testing in April 201 6.W ith more private companies involved, space tourism should also take o ffs oon – the opening u pof space travel for ordinary peopl ew hoa re not astronaut s( more on page 72).
JOURNEY TO MARS
The US has also abandoned its plans to retur ntoth e moon while it focuses on Mars, where it intends establishing a human colony (read more on page 66). All of this is very exciting an dwew ill be following it with great interest ...
The Canadarm2 robotic arm of the ISS attached to SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. Read more about the ISS on page 46.