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space exploration

Investigation of the universe beyond Earth's atmosphere by means of manned and unmanned spacecraft. Study of the use ofrockets for spaceflight began early in the 20th century. Germany's research on rocket propulsion in the 1930s led to development of the V-2 missile. After World War II, the U.S. and the Soviet Union, with the aid of relocated German scientists, competed in the space race, making substantial progress in high-altitude rocket technology (see staged rocket). Both launched their first satellites (see Sputnik; Explorer) in the late 1950s (followed by other satellites and unmanned lunar probes) and their first manned space vehicles (see Vostok; Mercury) in 1961. A succession of longer and more complex manned space missions followed, most notably the U.S. Apollo program, including the first manned lunar landing in 1969, and the Soviet Soyuzand Salyut missions. Beginning in the 1960s, U.S. and Soviet scientists also launched unmanned deep-space probes for studies of the planets and other solar system objects (see Pioneer; Venera; Viking; Voyager; Galileo), and Earth-orbiting astronomical observatories (see, for example, Hubble Space Telescope), which permitted observation of cosmic objects from above the filtering and distorting effects of Earth's atmosphere. In the 1970s and '80s the Soviet Union concentrated on the development of space stations for scientific research and military reconnaissance (see Salyut; Mir). After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia continued its space program, but on a reduced basis owing to economic constraints. In 1973 the U.S. launched its own space station (see Skylab), and since the mid 1970s it has devoted much of its manned space efforts to the space shuttle program and, more recently, to developing the International Space Station in collaboration with Russia and other countries.

Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Space Exploration
flights into space; the aggregate of the branches of science and technology used in the exploration of space and extraterrestrial objects by means of various types of spacecraft. Space exploration includes subjects of astronautics, such as problems of the theory of space flight (calculation of trajectories) and scientific and technical problems (the design of space rockets, engines, on-board control systems, launch complexes, unmanned probes, piloted craft, scientific instruments, ground-based flight control systems, and tracking and telemetry services, as well as the organization and supply of orbital stations). Also studied are medical problems (the development of on-board life-support systems; compensation for unfavorable effects of acceleration, weightlessness, and radiation on the human body) and problems of international law connected with the regulation of the use of space and the planets. Historical survey. Mankind has long dreamed of penetrating the cosmos, as is reflected in the dreams contained in fairy tales, legends, and science-fiction novels. The numerous and usually unrealizable inventions of the past attest to this. Stories of flight are encountered as early as Assyrian-Babylonian epics, as well as in ancient Chinese and Iranian legends. The Sanskrit epic poem Mahabharata contains instructions for a flight to the moon. The Greek myth about Icarus flight to the sun on wings fastened together with wax is widely known. In the second century B.C., Lucian described a flight to the moon on wings. In the late 19th century the Russian scientist K. E. Tsiolkov-skii was the first to provide a theoretical basis for space flight. In hisInvestigation of Interplanetary Space by Means of Jet Devices (1903) and in subsequent works, Tsiolkovskii solved a number of basic problems of space flight and demonstrated its technical feasibility. In addition to Tsiolkovskiis works, those of I. V. Meshcherskii (beginning in 1897), lu. V. Kondratiuk (1919-29), F. A. Tsander (1924-32), N. A. Rynin (1928-32), and other Russian scientists were devoted to the problems of space flight. Outside the USSR, early works in the field were published

by R. Esnault-Pelterie (France, 1913), R. Goddard (USA, 1919), and H. Oberth (Gemany, 1923). The first space exploration societies were founded in the 1920sin the USSR in 1924, Austria in 1926, Germany in 1927, and Great Britain and the USA in 1930. They worked to promote the ideas of space exploration, as well as to assist in solving practical problems. Work in rocket technology in the USSR began in 1921; the Gas Dynamics Laboratory (GDL) was organized during that period. Flight tests of rockets using smokeless grainy powder began in 1928, under the direction of N. I. Tikhomirov (the founder of the Gas Dynamics Laboratory). In 1929, V. P. Glushko developed rockets with electric and liquid-propellant motors. The first tests of electric and liquid-propellant rocket motors took place in 1929 and 1931, respectively. In 1932 the Moscow Group for the Study of Jet Propulsion (GIRD) was formed. In 1933, S. P. Korolev directed the first launches of Soviet liquidpropellant rockets designed by M. K. Tikhonravov and F. A. Tsander. In late 1933 the GDL and GIRD were merged to form the Jet Scientific Research Institute. These three organizations made the major initial contribution to the development of Soviet rocketry. The subsequent development of rocket and space technology in the USSR came from the experimental design bureau for the development of liquidpropellant rocket motors, that had grown out of the GDL, as well as from other experimental design bureaus, institutes, and factories. Experimental work on liquid-propellant rocket motors in the USA was began in 1921 by R. Goddard, and launches of liquid-propellant rockets began in 1926. Bench tests of liquid-propellant motors were begun in Germany by H. Oberth in 1929 and flight tests by J. Winkler in 1931. Germany used liquid-propellant rockets with a range of 250300 km (the V-2 rocket, designed by W. von Braun) during World War II (193945). The potential of the new weapon caused many countries to intensify their efforts in rocket technology after the war, resulting in the development of intercontinental and other ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads. This work indirectly furthered the development of the technological basis for space flight. The space age. Oct. 4, 1957, the date on which the USSR launched the first artifical earth satellite, is considered the dawn of the space age. A second important date is Apr. 12, 1961, the date of the first manned space flight, by Iu. A. Gagarin, the start of mans direct penetration into space. The third historical event is the first lunar expedition, by N. Armstrong, E. Aldrin, and M. Collins (USA), July 1624, 1969. A number of countries have developed and are using spacecraft: the USSR since 1957, and USA since 1958, France since 1965, Japan and the Peoples Republic of China since 1970, and Great Britain since 1971. The scale of space research may be judged from the number of satellites of the earth, the sun, the moon, Mars, and Venus launched by the USSR (about 900 as of Jan. 1,1976); earth escape velocity has been imparted to 41 space probes, with a total mass of 110 tons (167 tons, including the final stage of the launch vehicle). Space research is conducted on a similar scale in the USA. As of Jan. 1, 1976, 34 soviet cosmonauts had made space flights in 26 spacecraft and three orbital stations of the Salyut series, and 43 American astronauts had flown in 31 spacecraft and one orbital station. The number of satellites orbited by other countires is as follows: 10 by France, six by Japan, and three by the Peoples Republic of China (as of Dec. 1, 1975). S. P. Korolev was the founder of practical astronautics. By 1957 he had directed the construction of a space center, which made possible the launching of the first artificial earth satellite; later, a number of unmanned spacecraft were successfully orbited. By 1961 the Vostok spacecraft, on which Iu. A. Gagarin made the first flight, had been developed and launched. Korolev directed the development of unmanned interplanetary probes for the study of the moon (up to Luna 9, which made the first soft lunar landing), the first spacecraft of the Zond and Venera series, and the Voskhod spacecraft (the first multiseat spacecraft, from which the first space walk was made). Not limiting his work to the development of launch vehicles and spacecraft, Korolev exercised overall technical supervision of work that created the basis for the first space programs. Important contributions to the development of Soviet rocket technology were also made by design bureaus headed by M. K. Iangel, G. N. Babakin, A. M. Isaev, and S. A. Kosberg. V. P.

Glushko, the founder and head of the experimental design bureau affiliated with the GDL, supervised the development of powerful liquid-propellant rocket motors used by all Soviet launch vehicles (1957-73). Modern space flight theory is based on celestial mechanics and the theory of vehicle control. In contrast to classical celestial mechanics, this new field is called astrodynamics. Space flight gave rise to the need to develop optimum spacecraft trajectories (selection of the launch time and type of trajectory in order to minimize fuel consumption by the launch vehicle). Changes in trajectory caused by perturbational forcesparticularly gravitational fields and the aerodynamic braking effect, which results from interaction of the spacecraft with the rarefied upper layers of the atmosphere (for artificial satellites of planets)and under the influence of solar radiation pressure (for interplanetary flights) are taken into account. The optimality requirement sometimes results in fairly complex trajectories, with extended interruptions in launch vehicle engine operation (for example, for a lunar, Mars, or Venus launch the spacecraft is first inserted into the earth parking orbit and then injected into a planetary trajectory) and with the use of the gravitational field of a planet (for example, for a lunar mission, which requires an arched trajectory for earth return without firing the rocket motor). The theory of trajectory corrections is an important branch of astrodynamics. Deviation of the actual trajectory from the calculated trajectory is the result of two factors: distortion of the trajectory by perturbational forces that cannot be predicted (slowing of a satellite by the atmosphere, whose density varies unevenly) and the technically unavoidable minor errors in speed and direction of the spacecraft at the moment of shutdown of the launch vehicle engine (in interplanetary flights, the effect of errors gradually increases). Trajectory correction is accomplished by a short burn of the rocket motor. The theory of correction involves questions of optimizing the correction maneuver (the most advantageous number of such maneuvers and the location of correction points along the trajectory). Knowledge of a spacecrafts actual trajectory is needed in order to make corrections and perform maneuvers. If the actual orbit is determined on board the spacecraft, such a determination is an integral part of the self-contained navigational system and involves the measurement of angles between stars and planets, the distances of planets, the times of setting and rising of the sun and stars relative to the edge of planets, and the processing of the measurements by an on-board computer, using methods of celestial mechanics. The development of space centers is a complex scientific and technical problem. Large launch vehicles may have a launch mass of as much as 3,000 tons and may be more than 100 m tall. In order to carry the necessary fuel reserves (90 percent of the total mass), a rockets structure must be extremely light; this is achieved through appropriate design and judicious reduction of rigidity and durability requirements. As fuel is consumed in flight, the empty parts of the fuel tanks become superfluous, and their further acceleration results in unwarranted expenditure of fuel. Therefore, multistage launch vehicle configurations (usually two to four stages) are advisable; the stages are jettisoned successively as their fuel tanks become empty. A modern launch vehicle is a complex package of systems, of which the power plant and the control system are the most important. Chemical liquid-propellant rocket motors are normally used; solidpropellant motors are used less frequently. Motors that use nuclear power are still in the experimental stage (1973); however, there is no doubt that nuclear power will actually be used on future space expeditions. Manned flights to Mars (including a Mars landing) and other similar space programs require tremendous amounts of energy, which can be supplied only by nuclear power sources in combination with chemical sources. Launch vehicle power plants are rated at tens of millions of kilowatts. In the development of powerful and economical liquid-propellant rocket motors for launch vehicles, scientists are concentrating their efforts on the selection of optimum energy-producing fuels and the provision of sufficiently complete combustion in the combustion chamber under high pressures and temperatures. In connection with this, solutions must be found to difficult problems, such as in-flight engine cooling and the achievement of stability of fuel combustion. Launch vehicle power plants usually consist of several engines, whose operation is synchronized by the guidance system. Guidance systems are normally self-containedthat is, they operate independently of ground stations. They consist of gyroscopic and other primary information sensors, which continuously

measure the attitude of the launch vehicle and the accelerations acting on it. Using this information, a computer determines the actual trajectory and controls the vehicle in order to achieve the required combination of coordinates and velocity vector of the rocket at the moment of engine shutdown. The control of a launch vehicles attitude is complicated by the vehicles low structural stiffness and the large proportion of its mass that is liquid. Therefore, the flexural oscillations of the rockets hull and the movement of liquids in the fuel tanks must be taken into account. The flight readiness of a launch vehicle is checked in the field assembly area of the cosmodrome (in the assembly and testing building), and then the vehicle is transported to the launching pad, where it is erected on the launch pedestal, undergoes pre-launch tests, and is fueled and launched. A spacecraft is considered to have been inserted into orbit if it has exceeded orbital velocity (about 7.91 km/sec) for earth satellites or has attained velocity of the order of earth escape velocity (11.19 km/sec) for spacecraft on missions to the moon, Mars, or Venus. (For flights to the remote planets or the sun a speed considerably greater than earth escape velocity is needed.) During orbital insertion the launch vehicle separates from the spacecraft, which continues its orbital flight mainly by inertia, according to the laws of celestial mechanics. Spacecraft inserted into orbit may be divided into two groups, earth satellites and space probes for flight to the moon or planets. If significant changes in speed are planned, such spacecraft may be equipped with rocket stages of various degrees of power for braking during planet approach (if the flight plan calls for planetary satellite orbit), for soft landing on a planet lacking an atmosphere, for blastoff from the planet, and for accelerating the spacecraft to the velocity required for its return to earth. It is presumed that in the future economical electric rocket motors will accelerate spacecraft from orbital to higher velocities. A shortcoming of the electric motor is its small thrust, as a result of which acceleration from orbital to escape velocity (or braking from escape to orbital velocity) may last several months. Highcapacity sources of nuclear-derived electric power are needed to produce the necessary thrust; this causes additional difficulties connected with the need to protect instruments and crew from harmful radiation. Spacecraft must be capable of long-term independent operation in space. A number of systems are needed for this purpose: a system for maintaining a specified temperature range; a power-supply system using solar radiation (solar batteries), fuel (electrochemical current generators), or nuclear energy to produce electric power; a system for communicating with earth and other spacecraft; and a guidance system. In addition, a spacecraft carries a wide variety of scientific equipment, from small instruments for studying the properties of space to large telescopes. The on-board control system integrates the operation of these instruments and systems. Guidance involves solutions to a number of problems such as attitude control and control of engine burns for trajectory correction during ascent and landing, as well as during rendezvous and other maneuvers performed by two spacecraft. Special control is required for descent to the surface of a planet with an atmosphere. A distinction is made between two kinds of atmospheric descent in which the atmosphere itself is used to slow the spacecraftcontrolled descent and uncontrolled (ballistic) descent. The former is characterized by a high degree of touchdown accuracy and a smaller g-load during atmospheric braking. Heat shields are used to protect the descent vehicle from the heat generated by atmospheric braking. In addition, a number of medical problems arise in the case of a manned spacecraft. It must provide protection of the crew from the space environment (vacuum, harmful radiation, and so on) and must be equipped with a life-support system, which maintains the necessary atmospheric composition and the correct temperature, humidity, and pressure inside the spacecraft. Food and water reserves are provided on short-term flights; for long-term flights, food productionas well as water and oxygen regeneration must take place on board. Space flight places increased demands on the human body (the effect of weightlessness and of the g-load during the launch and landing phases). Therefore, medical criteria must be used in the cosmonaut selection process. The problem of long-term manned flight under conditions of weightlessness has not yet been resolved.

Descent to the surface of heavenly bodies involves the solution of a number of problems: setting up scientific equipment, conducting experiments using stationary and mobile automatic robots, andin the futuremanned expeditions requiring the construction of temporary or permanent bases. Space flights usually require a broad network of ground-based control services. Space communications centers are located all over the globe, and where this is not feasible, as in the ocean, ships equipped with communications gear (for example, the Iurii Gagarin and Kosmonavt Vladimir Komarov) are used. After a spacecraft has returned to earth, the recovery team goes into operation. Its mission is to find and recover the descent vehicle and, in the case of manned flights, to recover the crew, render medical assistance if needed, and take quarantine measures (for crews returning from other planets). To facilitate location of the descent vehicle, it is equipped with a radio beacon whose signals are used for homing by the ships, airplanes, and helicopters of the recovery team. Control of a flight from launch to touchdown involves the efforts of a large number of various services. The job of the administrative technical personnel in charge of a flight is to organize and integrate on-board spacecraft control systems with the numerous ground-based services. The goals of space exploration may be divided into two groups: scientific studies and practical applications. In addition to the indirect influence of space research on the practical sphere through fundamental scientific discoveries, space exploration makes possible the direct use of spacecraft for practical applications. Artificial satellites circling the globe in high orbits and equipped with repeaters receive signals from a ground station and, after appropriate amplification, return it to earth, where it is received by a station located thousands of kilometers away from the transmitting station. Such communications satellites relay television programs and handle telephone and telegraph communications. Satellites are used in meteorology to produce cloud distribution and earth heat radiation maps, as well as to track cyclones. The information is continuously fed to world meteorological centers and is used for weather forecasting. Satellites whose orbital paths have been determined with great accuracy are used for marine and aviation navigation services; they transmit their precise coordinates to ships and aircraft during periods of radio contact. Any object can establish its own coordinates by determining its position relative to the navigation satellite. Satellites are playing an ever-increasing role in surveying the earths natural resources and in continuous checks on their condition. Photography of the earths surface through various light filters, as well as other research methods, makes it possible to see the distribution of vegetation and changes in the snow cover, as well as river flooding and the condition of crops and forests; to observe the progress of work in the fields; to estimate the expected harvest; and to record the occurrence of forest fires. Oceanographic and hydrological studies may also be conducted using satellites. The use of satellites is of particular value in geodesy and topographyfor precise fixing of points located at great distances from each other and the fast updating of topographic maps through photographs from space, as well as for setting up geodetic reference networks by tracking satellites (whose coordinates are known precisely at every moment) from various ground stations. The particular features of space flight, such as weightlessness and vacuum, may be used for certain particularly delicate industrial processes. For this purpose appropriate industrial equipment will be placed on satellites, and space shuttles will supply them with raw materials and transport the manufactured products to earth. A considerable number of specialized unmanned satellites (astronomical, solar, geophysical, geodetic, weather, communications, and others), as well as long-term multipurpose manned orbital stations, are needed to solve the problems associated with the exploration of near-earth space. Crew transfer will be carried out as required, by space shuttles making regular trips between an orbital station and ground space centers. The immediate goal of lunar and planetary exploration is to produce new scientific data. Plans include the continued study of the moon by both manned and unmanned spacecraft, followed by the establishment of a scientific base on the lunar surface. Flights to Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and other planets of the solar system are being made by unmanned crafts, and manned landing missions to Mars (with an

expedition time of about three years) are seen as possible in the 1980s and 1990s. The study of remote planets and flights out of the solar system and to the sun will long remain feasible only for unmanned spacecraft. The very long duration of such flights requires a new step forward in technological progress in order to develop equipment of very high reliability. In the future, space exploration will make it possible for man to harness the material and energy resources of the universe. Space exploration, by its very nature, is a field involving the efforts of all mankind, and even if carried out within the framework of national interests, it affects the interests of many counties. (See Table 1 for the major events of the space age.) V. P. GLUSHKO and B. V. RAUSHENBAKH