Having conquered the sky, mankind set its sights even higher, dreaming of flying even further and seeing the edge of the universe.
On March 23, 1881 Nikolai Kibalchich, a Russian revolutionary and inventor put forward the idea of a powder rocket engine, controlled by changing its engine’s angle. Kibalchich developed the original design of the aircraft, able to travel in space. However, his request for transfer of the manuscript to the Academy of Sciences was denied.
The next person to look into the idea of space travel was a Soviet scientist and explorer, one of the pioneers of astronautics — Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. The representative of the Russian cosmism suggested launching habitable space stations, put forward the idea of a space elevator, and hovercraft trains. He believed that the development of life on one of the planets in the universe will reach such power and perfection that it will allow to overcome the force of gravity and spread life in space. One of the major works of Tsiolkovsky was associated with rockets for interplanetary travel. The idea of using rockets in space was a hot topic among Soviet scientists at the time. As a result, Tsiolkovsky determined the formula, which establishes the relationship between the speed of a rocket at a given moment, the specific impulse of rocket fuel and the rocket’s initial and final mass.
In 1903 he published an article that first proved that the apparatus that can actually be used for space flight, is a rocket. This article and subsequent additions, he developed some of the ideas of the theory of rockets and using liquid fuel in rocket engines.Since the mid 30’s of the twentieth century, the leading countries of the world delved into rocketry and space travel. Germany seemed to be the most successful country in this regard. During the Second World War, a German designer of rocket and space technology, Wernher von Braun developed the world’s first long-range ballistic missile, the V-2. Later, the Soviet rocket «Satellite», able to fly at high altitudes was developed based on the V-2 designs. This is what became a new landmark in the history of space exploration around the world. For the first time in human history, a rocket managed escape velocity in flight. The creation of «Satellite» has opened completely new horizons of scientific research.
The first launch of balloons with living organisms on board the «USSR-1 bis» and «Explorer-2» were made in the Soviet Union and the United States respectively in 1935. Drosophila flies were the ones to be sent into space.The first animals to take part in orbital space flight and return to Earth unharmed, were the Soviet cosmonaut dogs Belka and Strelka. The main goal of the experiment was to study the effects of space flight on the body of animals and other biological objects (acceleration, prolonged weightlessness, the transition from acceleration to zero gravity and back), the effects of cosmic radiation on animal and plant organisms, on their biological functions and heredity, testing of systems supporting human life. The study’s goal was also to make sure that space travel was safe.
The next milestone in the history of space flight was manned flight into space.This day will forever remain in the memory of mankind. On Wednesday, April 12, 1961 the Soviet Union launched the world’s first satellite spacecraft «Vostok» with a man on board into Earth’s orbit.The pilot-cosmonaut of the spacecraft «Vostok» was a Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. The launch of the multi-stage rocket was successful, and after the separation of the last stage of the rocket, the ship-satellite launched into free flight in orbit around the Earth.
Alexei Leonov soon became another point of pride of the Soviet cosmism — he was the first man to venture into open space.
The culminating point in the conquest of space was reached on July 20, 1969. On this day, the American spacecraft «Apollo-11» brought three astronauts to the moon — Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
Further development of space continued with the help of the U.S. Space Shuttle. Shuttles were used as part of the NASA state program «Space Transportation System». The implication was that the shuttles would roam the space between the Earth and the Earth’s orbit, delivering payloads in both directions. By the end of the program in the summer of 2011 it could boast 135 starts, with the most flights — 39 — made by the shuttle «Discovery».
At the moment, the whole world is excited about the possibility of a manned mission to Mars. Russia plans to launch an unmanned flight to the satellite of Mars — Phobos by 2015. A manned mission to Mars is planned by Roskosmos for the first half of the 21st century. As part of the national space program on Earth, a Mars flight simulation was conducted under the name «Mars-500». There are also the plans by the Inspiration Mars Foundation to send a 501-day manned expedition to Mars in January 2018. In addition to the main purpose of flight to Mars — landing several people on the surface of Mars, and return them to Earth, another objective of the mission is to search for valuable resources.
Ending our cosmic journey, I would like to mention that the day of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space forever left its mark in history and has been declared a holiday, Cosmonautics Day.
The Star Conflict developer team congratulates all the brave pilots with our professional holiday, Cosmonautics Day! Hip hip hooray!