YOU Gateway to Space - - Liftoff! -

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).


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...


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).


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.

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