5 amazing facts about spaceflight

Image credit: NASA

1. One orbit

Yuri Gagarin’s first flight to space in 1961 involved just one orbit of our planet before he returned to Earth’s surface in his Vostok 1 spacecraft.

2. Weak at the knees

Prolonged spaceflight can have detrimental effects on the human body, lowering bone and muscle mass, so astronauts can struggle to stand when they return home.

3. Longest flight

The longest time spent by someone on one mission was Russian Valeri Polyakov, who stayed in space for 437 days on the Mir space station from 1994 to 1995.

4. Highest speed

The highest speed ever reached by humans was by the crew of Apollo 10. Their capsule reached 39,897 kilometres per hour on their return from the Moon.

5. Farthest from Earth

The Voyager 1 spacecraft is the farthest from Earth. At about 150 times the Earth-Sun distance, it takes more than 40 hours to send a command and get a response.

 This article was originally published in How It Works issue 135, written by Jonathan O’Callaghan

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