Facts About Space Travel

The reusable US Space Shuttles have made around 120 trips into space in their 30 year lifespan
The reusable US Space Shuttles have made around 120 trips into space in their 30 year lifespan
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Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

The launch of an object into orbit around the Earth first happened in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 which was the first satellite in space. Since that time we have launched many manned and unmanned spacecraft and satellites into space. Some missions ventured as close as our own Moon whilst others are travelling to the outer realms of our solar system towards Pluto and the Kuiper belt.

More facts about space travel.

You are considered to be travelling in space when you are 100 km or more above the surface of the Earth.

The first spaceflight with a human on board was Vostok 1 in 1961. The USSR cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made one orbit of the Earth in Vostok 1.

The only current manned spacecraft that make regular manned trips into space are the Soyuz spacecraft and the U.S. Space Shuttles.

Currently the furthest interstellar craft in space away from the Earth is Voyager 1 which is 100 AU away and travelling at 3.6 AU per year (an AU is the same as the distance from the Earth to the Sun). At this rate it would take over 74,000 years for it to reach the closest star to us (Proxima Centauri) other than the Sun.

Intergalactic space travel (travelling between different galaxies) is not currently possible given the limitations of our technology and it solely in the realm of science fiction writing at the moment.
The most common way to power a spacecraft is by the use of rockets, but ion drives are becoming more popular.

The average spacesuit costs just over $12 million to make.

A total of 18 astronauts have died to date in 4 separate accidents. The space shuttle Challenger and space shuttle Columbia were two of the worst space travel disasters with seven crew losing their lives in each incident.

Bonus fun fact

We are on the verge of commercial space flights being possible. Virgin Galactic plan to take space tourists into sub-orbital space shortly at a cost of $200,000 per person. The six person craft will make a 3.5 hour journey during which the passengers will encounter a short period of weightlessness.

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