For many years mankind has stared in awe at the vast expanse of the cosmos, yearning to know what is up there. We have designed many intricate rockets such as the Saturn V, Soyuz, the Space Shuttle, and the Falcon 9. Ever since the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, humanity has been obsessed with building bigger and better rockets to explore space.
In 1957, the Russians launched the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, starting the space race, which lasted until 1969, when the Americans landed two men on the moon. The Soviets also were the first to put a man in orbit around the earth, his name was Yuri Gagarin, their lead was followed closely by the Americans, who launched Alan Shepherd. In 1961, the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, said that the Americans would “send a man to the Moon before the end of the decade.” After ten precedent rocket tests, three brave astronauts were sent to the Moon on Apollo 11. NASA also worked on a partially reusable rocket called the Space Shuttle, but the program was canceled after 135 launches.
Setting their differences aside, the major world powers decided that they should build the International Space Station, and since the retirement of the Space Shuttles in 2011, the Americans have been completely reliant on the Russians to ferry them to the ISS, but in 2002, the Russians made a grave mistake when they refused to sell a rocket to Elon Musk, a budding entrepreneur who in response to that cold refusal of his offer created a fierce competitor to all other rocket companies, SpaceX, dedicated to Space eXploration, the company revolutionized the spaceflight industry by creating completely reusable rockets that were also cheap and practical. Their rocket lineup consists of the Falcon 1, which is decommissionedthe Falcon 9, which is used to ferry cargo, astronauts and satellites to the ISS, and the Falcon Heavy, which is basically three Falcon 9s strapped together. NASA is working on a rocket called the Space Flight System, or SLS. NASA also has partnered with multiple spaceflight companies in order to go to the Moon again. Meanwhile, Elon ventures to establish a Mars colony using a rocket that is currently in testing.
Ever since the launch of Sputnik, in 1957, mankind has aspired to go where no man has gone before. With private spaceflight companies like SpaceX, we have seen great leaps in spacecraft development, leaving us to wonder what they will come up with next.