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Top 5 Facts: NASA missions

Cold War
NASA’s first major space programme was Project Mercury, a series of missions conducted at the height of the Cold War to successfully take an astronaut into space.

Project Gemini, dedicated to developing and practising techniques required for long-term space exploration, was the first project to feature American Spacewalks.

Flying solo
The only space programme ever to send an astronaut beyond low-Earth orbit and land on a celestial body was NASA’s Apollo Program, putting man on the moon in 1969.

NASA’s Space Shuttle Program was subject to two major disasters, losing both the Challenger and Columbia shuttles as well as the lives of 14 astronauts.

Costing an estimated 100 billion euros, the International Space Station is the most expensive object ever constructed in the history of human existence.

  • A real example of what can be achieved when nations pull together – imagine what could be accomplished if all nations were involved and committed to it.

    Reaching for the stars … the Moon, Mars and beyond in my lifetime if only!

    • I’d have to wholeheartedly agree with you there, Nick. I’ve been waiting for interstellar travel for years! When am I going to get my house on Mars?!

      However, I also think the current NASA situation may ultimately benefit space travel. With the NASA Shuttle due to be retired in 2011, NASA astronauts will have to rely on other means to get into space (such as getting to the ISS) for the time being. While this will probably just be the Russian Soyuz craft, it’s also a chance for some private enterprises to get on board and potentially make a bit of money, like SpaceX and their Falcon 9 Dragon capsule… Who knows, maybe a few more companies will get involved and we’ll all be having dinner on the moon in no time at all.