Space exploration: TOP-12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets
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Focus< /em>collected the most outstanding space missions and vehicles that have ever been launched into space by man. Perhaps they will allow humanity to become the masters of the galaxy in the future.
TOP-12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets. Ship “Vostok-1”
It was from this mission that the exploration of space by mankind began. The Soviet spacecraft “Vostok-1” lifted pilot-cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into low Earth orbit.
The launch took place on April 12, 1961, when the Vostok-3KA capsule put the world's first man into orbit around the Earth. Yuri Gagarin spent 108 minutes in flight, and after his capsule landed about 280 km from the Baikonur launch pad.
The flight of the first man into orbit was broadcast on Soviet radio, followed by millions of people. The Vostok-1 mission became a big breakthrough in the space race between the USA and the USSR.
TOP-12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets. Apollo 11
No rating of the best spacecraft or satellites would be complete without mentioning the mission ” Apollo”, in particular, the spacecraft “Apollo 11”.
The Apollo 11 manned spacecraft in July 1969 delivered the first man to the Earth's satellite, the Moon. It was also the first landing of a man-made apparatus on the surface of another celestial body. Then two American astronauts landed on the moon – Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Command Module Pilot Michael Collins awaited them in lunar orbit.
All subsequent spacecraft and even satellites in this rating are somehow related to the technologies that were used in the development of Apollo 11.
< p>The landing of man on the moon was watched by millions of television viewers, despite the fact that at that time television itself was a significant innovation. In fact, the Apollo 11 mission put an end to the space race, which in turn brought the end of the Cold War between the US and the USSR closer.
TOP 12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets. International Space Station (ISS)
The International Space Station is the largest and most complex artificial Earth satellite that has ever been or left the atmosphere of the planet.
For more than two decades, the ISS has been home to astronauts from the US, Europe, Japan and Russia. The ISS is an orbital scientific laboratory where its crew conducts various experiments in microgravity and hostile space conditions.
In November 1998, the first Zarya functional cargo block was launched into orbit. It was built by Russia, but funded by NASA. Since then, until 2021, the ISS has been overgrown with more and more scientific, cargo and other modules.
In addition to the technological breakthrough, humanity also owes its knowledge to the ISS, which will help in the future to colonize other planets and travel in deep space. It is thanks to pictures from the ISS that we know so well what our little blue planet looks like from space.
TOP-12 space vehicles and satellites of planets. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2
Two spacecraft “Voyager-1” and “Voyager-2” were launched into space back in 1977. For 45 years now, both devices have been operating and transmitting new data to Earth, being far in the solar system.
Initially, the tasks of the two devices included the study of the most distant planets of the solar system – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. But in 2012, Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause, the boundary beyond which our Sun's influence wanes. Voyager 2 crossed the same line in 2018.
And the vehicles continue their journey through space. For example, Voyager 1 currently travels at 55,000 km/h.
Thus, the Voyagers got further than any man-made object in the history of mankind. Thanks to them, people learned that Jupiter has rings, and the surface of Europa is formed from a dense crust of ice.
Voyager 1 took the most recent picture in 1990, after which the spacecraft's cameras were permanently turned off. The spacecraft turned to the inner part of the solar system and took a picture of the Earth. Famous astrophysicist Carl Sagan called this image a “pale blue dot”, this is what our planet looks like from a distance of 5.9 billion km.
To this day, the pale blue dot photograph remains the most distant image of the Earth.
TOP-12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets. Mars Express Interplanetary Station
The European Space Agency's Automatic Interplanetary Station was launched in June 2003 to explore Mars. In fact, the Mars Express apparatus became an artificial satellite of the Red Planet.
Already in December of the same year, the station successfully entered orbit around Mars. Scientific research was able to start at the beginning of 2004. The mission also launched the Beagle 2 lander, named after the ship on which Charles Darwin went on the expedition. But later the connection with the Beagle-2 apparatus was lost.
The Mars Express spacecraft is equipped with seven instruments that help people study the atmosphere and climate of Mars, as well as its mineralogy and geology.
Over the years of its work, Mars Express has been able to find methane in the atmosphere of the Red Planet , create a map of the polar ice, and also find a possible location of groundwater under the south pole. In addition, the device managed to fly closer than the others past Mars' moon Phobos.
TOP-12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets. Hubble Telescope
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is a robotic observatory that orbits the Earth. It was the first of its kind to be launched into planetary orbit after its launch on April 24, 1990.
The Hubble telescope, like artificial Earth satellites, makes 15 revolutions around the planet at an altitude of 545 km above the surface. In its 29 years of operation, the space observatory has uncovered the secrets of asteroids, captured breathtaking images of nebulae, and shown Uranus in unforgettable colors.
But the biggest achievement of the Hubble telescope is the confirmation of the theory of the expansion of the Universe, which was made on the basis of many hours of observations of galaxies.
TOP-12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets. Rosetta spacecraft and Filet module
In 2014, the European Space Agency made a breakthrough in space exploration that few believed in. The agency was able to send the tiny Philae spacecraft into orbit around a comet that was hurtling through space at up to 34.2 km/s.
The lander was launched by another Rosetta spacecraft, which was launched from a launch pad in French Guiana in 2004.
It took Rosetta 10 years to get to comet 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko, enter the orbit of a comet and collect the necessary amount of data on the asteroid belt.
Thanks to this daring mission, scientists were able not only to study comets, but also to see how they transform under the influence of solar heat.
< h2>TOP-12 space vehicles and satellites of planets. Apparatus “Galileo”
The robotic Galileo spacecraft was created by NASA after the Voyager missions lifted the veil on the mysteries of Jupiter. At the end of 1989, the device was sent to the gas giant to become its artificial satellite.
The road to Jupiter took Galileo six years, and the spacecraft spent more than eight years in its orbit.
The spacecraft damaged its antenna while exploring Jupiter, but was still able to capture images of the comet colliding with the gas giant. The device also discovered the first asteroid moon in history.
NASA completed the Galileo mission in 2003 by sending a spacecraft into the atmosphere of the gas giant.
TOP-12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets. Apparatus “Cassini-Huygens”
The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was a joint project of NASA, ESA and the Italian Comic Agency. The interplanetary station was created to study Saturn, its rings and natural satellites.
The Cassini-Huygens apparatus was launched on October 15, 1997. The mission was supposed to last only 4 years, but only in 2017 did the artificial satellite of Saturn plunge into its atmosphere. For 13 years Cassini-Huygens studied the planet, in total he spent 20 years in space.
It is worth noting that the NASA Cassini probe carried the ESA Huygens lander, which landed on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. The landing was made in 2005.
The most impressive discovery was that the Cassini-Huygens probe found clouds, rain, lakes and rivers of liquid hydrocarbons, as well as a subsurface ocean with salt water on Titan.< /p>
TOP-12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets. Juno apparatus
The Juno spacecraft became the successor to Galileo and went to Jupiter in 2011. Thus, Juno was the second spacecraft to orbit the gas giant.
It took Juno five years to orbit Jupiter, which happened on July 5, 2016. Just a month later, an artificial satellite of the planet took the first pictures of the North Pole of Jupiter.
Since then, the Juno spacecraft has continued to delight with breathtaking images of storms in the south of the planet, including the Great Red Spot, the largest atmospheric vortex in the solar system.
Onboard instruments help the spacecraft to study the composition of Jupiter, its gravitational field, magnetic field and magnetosphere at the poles.
TOP-12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets. Parker Solar Probe
NASA's Parker spacecraft is designed to study the outer corona of the Sun. In fact, this is the first attempt of mankind to take a closer look at the star.
At the closest approach to the Sun, the spacecraft approaches the star at 6.2 million kilometers and develops a speed of 700,000 km/h. At the same time, the Parker probe can withstand temperatures of 1377 degrees Celsius.
The solar probe is trying to understand how energy and heat travel through the solar corona. This may provide clues in the study of the solar wind, solar high-energy particles.
The Parker spacecraft was launched in August 2018 and is expected to end its mission in 2026.
TOP-12 spacecraft and satellites of the planets. James Webb Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful telescope ever launched into space. The telescope is equipped with a segmented mirror whose diameter is 6.5 meters.
Its development began in 1996, but the launch took place only in 2021. The launch itself was also an extremely difficult process, as the telescope had to not only deploy sails on reaching the target, but also survive large temperature drops.
The telescope was successfully deployed in solar orbit near the L2 Sun-Earth Lagrange point, which is located about 1.5 million km from our planet.
The new space telescope can collect more data than the Hubble telescope due to its design, which includes a light collection area. It is about 5.6 times larger than that of the Hubble telescope.
The mission of the Webb telescope should last 10 years, although it can be extended for another 10 years.
The primary task The space telescope is to detect the light of the first stars and galaxies that formed after the Big Bang.