Space Exploration in the 1980s

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Space travel began in the 1960s with sending humans on single missions into space. Rockets launched into the air and just the tip would land in the ocean after parachuting back to Earth ("Space Shuttle Program," par. 4). The focus of space exploration changed during the 1980s; shifting from the desire for human space flight to the desire to create a reusable spacecraft. Originally called Space Transportation System (STS), NASA created the Space Shuttle Program (SSP) (Heiney, par. 1-2). It wanted a shuttle that was more economical because it could be launched, landed and relaunched and could gather better information. The 1980s began a new era in space exploration and had one the biggest tragedies in the history of space travel. A shuttle is the size of a jetliner, lifts into space using powerful boosters, and returns to Earth as a glider due to its aerodynamic wings. Launching like a rocket, it orbits the earth like a spacecraft and lands like an airplane ("Shuttle Basics," par. 1). It takes eight and a half minutes for the shuttle to reach space, it travels at 17,500 miles per hour, and the crew can see the sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes ("Space Shuttle Program," par. 3). The shuttle consists three main parts: the Orbiter Vehicle, two Solid Rocket Boosters, and the External Tank. The Orbiter Vehicle (OV) is "the brains and heart of the Space Transportation System" ("The Orbiter," par. 1). Also called the fuselage, it has a cabin for the crew, a large cargo bay and three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs). The forward part of the orbiter is the crew cabin; it is where the cockpit and living quarters can be found and where mission experiments are performed. The middle part of the orbiter is large open bay and it i... ... middle of paper ... ...A. NASA, 20 July 2010. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "Solid Rocket Boosters." NASA. Ed. Jim Wilson. NASA, 5 Mar. 2006. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "Space Shuttle Program." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "Space Shuttle System Overview." NASA. Ed. Jim Wilson. NASA, 22 Aug. 2007. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "STS-1." NASA. Ed. Jeanne Ryba. NASA, 23 Nov. 2007. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "STS-2." NASA. Ed. Jeanne Ryba. NASA, 14 Mar. 2008. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "STS-5." NASA. Ed. Jeanne Ryba. NASA, 23 Nov. 2007. Web. 12 Apr. 2014. "STS-51B." NASA. Ed. Jeanne Ryba. NASA, 23 Nov. 2007. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "STS-6." NASA. Ed. Jeanne Ryba. NASA, 23 Nov. 2007. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "STS-7." NASA. Ed. Jeanne Ryba. NASA, 23 Nov. 2007. Web. 12 Apr. 2014. "STS-8." NASA. Ed. Jeanne Ryba. NASA, 23 Nov. 2007. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "STS-9." NASA. Ed. Jeanne Ryba. NASA, 18 Feb. 2010. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.

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