Some milestones in the history of manned space flight are fairly well-known. For instance, most people with even a basic interest in this subject know that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to walk on the moon.
Such achievements garner attention because they deserve it. However, it’s also important to remember that focusing solely on these milestones can allow us to overlook other major events in the history of the world’s space programs.
The following are a few worth learning about. While you shouldn’t forget about folks like Armstrong and Aldrin, you should also remember the people involved in these significant achievements.
The History of Manned Space Flight: 3 Milestones Worth Knowing About
The Subsequent Apollo Missions
Again, you probably already know that Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Thanks to Hollywood, you might also understand that the Apollo 13 mission later suffered a major disaster that nearly claimed the lives of all astronauts onboard.
That said, it’s worth noting that other Apollo missions followed. For example, on Apollo 14, astronauts broadcast the first color TV images from the surface of the moon, and they conducted the first ever materials experiments in space.
The astronauts on the Apollo 15 mission spent three days on the moon. This was the first extended stay on the lunar surface. It was also the first mission that featured the use of the Lunar Roving Vehicle.
Once more, none of these points are to dismiss the significance of the first moon landing. They merely serve as reminders that the Apollo program continued long after Neil Armstrong took those first historic steps.
Anyone who even casually studies the history of manned space flight knows that astronauts don’t just take pictures when they’re up in space. They use these opportunities to conduct a wide range of experiments as well.
That’s what makes Spacelab such an important achievement. In 1983, the crew of the space shuttle Columbia used it for the first time. As a reusable laboratory in space (hence the name), Spacelab facilitated numerous experiments in fields ranging from basic Earth observation to plasma physics. Although Spacelab is no longer in use, as the first lab of its kind, it paved the way for many others to come.
Svetlana Savitskaya’s EVA
Extravehicular activity (EVA) involves leaving the safety of a space shuttle or space station to conduct some sort of work outside the craft. Most people call EVAs space walks, but astronauts do much more than simply fly around outside during these jaunts.
On July 29, 1984, Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform an EVA. This is worth including on the list for a few reasons. One, although many Americans know about Sally Ride, it’s important to consider how other women also achieved breakthroughs that helped females earn more respect and attention in the field of manned space flight. Additionally, it’s also crucial to remember that Americans are not the only ones to achieve manned space flight breakthroughs in general. After all, Svetlana Savitskaya hailed from the Soviet Union.
Once more, the commonly-known space missions involving humans still deserve attention. It’s simply smart to remember that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were not the only important astronauts. As these stories about the history of manned space flight prove, many have played significant roles.