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Oct 11th 2019

Milestones to Moonshots: The Past, Present and Future of Space Exploration

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1.1 Establishment of NASA, Oct. 1, 1958 https://www.nasa.gov/content/nasa-history-overview

NASA begins operation. The agency’s passion for discovery and commitment to innovation fuel the future of space exploration.

1.2 Project Mercury, Feb. 20, 1962 https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mercury/index.html

Astronaut John Glenn, onboard Friendship 7, orbits the Earth in NASA’s Mercury capsule, expanding our perception of the possible.

1.3 Apollo 11 Moon Landing, July 20, 1969 https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo-11.html

With one small step, Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew make a giant leap for the future of human space travel.

1.4 Voyager, Sept. 5, 1977 https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/

Interstellar probe Voyager 1 launches from Cape Canaveral on a mission to explore the universe. Today, the craft is more than 13 billion miles from Earth.

1.5 Opportunity, Jan. 3, 2004 https://mars.nasa.gov/mer/mission/overview/

NASA’s Opportunity rover sets a new standard for the future of space exploration, covering more than 28 miles of Martian surface over 15 years.

1.6 Cygnus, Sept. 2013 https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/cygnus.html#.XN2ZLshKhPZ

Closer to home, the Cygnus cargo delivery spacecraft first launched in 2013, providing a critical resupply line for the International Space Station (ISS).

1.7 Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), April 18, 2018 https://tess.mit.edu/science/

TESS will spend two years looking into the sky — and deep into space — to find thousands of exoplanets and help bolster the search for habitable worlds beyond our solar system.

1.8 Orion Launch Abort System (LAS), In Development https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/orion_las_fact_sheet_8.5x11_4page_11_19_15.pdf

The Orion LAS protects astronauts if something goes wrong — its abort motor produces over 400,000 pounds of thrust to pull the spacecraft out of harm’s way.

1.9 James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Launch in 2021 https://jwst.nasa.gov/about.html

The JWST features a 6.5-meter ultra-lightweight beryllium mirror and five-layer sunshield capable of attenuating the sun’s heat more than a million-fold.

1.10 Space Launch System (SLS) Solid Rocket Boosters, In Development https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/sls_solid_rocket_booster_fact_sheet_final_508_june2018.pdf

SLS solid rocket boosters are the most powerful ever built for flight. Standing 17 stories tall and burning six tons of propellant per second, they’re powering the future of space exploration.

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