Space is full of mystery, a small part of the mystery has been solved by our Scientists with their hard work and efforts. A large part of the mystery is still there to solve. If you think that you will cross the Earth’s atmosphere and you will enter into space, then you are wrong. Space does not start at a definite altitude above the Earth’s surface.
Earlier, people used to think that space is an empty place, but on research, it is found that space is not completely empty. Space has low-density particles, electromagnetic radiations, clouds of dust, cosmic rays, and magnetic field. Particles that are found in space are predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium. The baseline temperature of outer space is 2.7 kelvins.
Let us now take a dig at how our hard-working Scientists have disclosed about the mysterious space.
First Artificial Satellite – Sputnik 1
The first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1 was launched on October 4, 1957, by the Soviet Union. During the International Geophysical year Sputnik 1 was launched from Site No. 1/5.
Sputnik 1 was designed in the shape of a sphere which was a polished metallic sphere of 58 cm diameter. Four external radio antennas were set up to broadcast radio pulses. For detecting the radio signals of the satellite, radio amateurs were kept at a 65-degree inclination.
traveling 29,000 kilometers in an hour, Sputnik 1 covered each orbit in 96.2 minutes. The transmissions sent by the satellite were 20.005 and 40.002 MHz frequency.
It’s radio broadcast provided valuable information about the density of the upper atmosphere and data about the ionosphere. This information was obtained from its drag on the orbit by our Scientists.
The signals from the satellite were transmitted for twenty-one days and then the batteries of the transmitter drained out. On January 4, 1958, the satellite burned up while entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
First Living Being in Orbit – Sputnik 2
Sputnik 2 was the first satellite to carry a living animal to space. It was launched on November 3, 1957, carrying a dog named Laika. This was the second satellite launched by the Soviet Union into the Earth’s orbit. The spacecraft was designed as a cone-shaped capsule, which was 4 meters high, and had a base diameter of 2 meters that weighed around 500 kg.
Several compartments were designed inside the satellite. Sputnik 2 had compartments for a radio transmitter, a telemetry system, a programming unit, a completed compartment for Laika. Sputnik 2 used to transmit data for fifteen minutes in each orbit. The Tral-D telemetry system was used in the satellite to transmit Engineering and biological data.
For measuring cosmic rays and solar radiations, two photometers were there on the satellite. Images of Laika were sent to earth through a hundred-line camera in the compartment.
First Satellite to detect Van Allen Radiation Belt – Explorer 1-ABMA
Explorer 1 was the first satellite launched by the United States on January 31, 1958. It was the first spacecraft to detect Van Allen Radiation Belt. Van Allen Radiation belt consists of all the energetic charged particles that originated from the solar wind. These energetic particles are the ones that were held around the planets due to their magnetic fields.
Under the direction of William H. Pickering, the California Institute of Technology built and designed Explorer 1. The weight of the satellite was 13.37 kg including 8.3 kg weight of the instruments. The data was transmitted to the earth by the two antennas with a frequency of 108.03 MHz from one antenna and the other with a frequency of 108.00 MHz. A total of twenty-nine transistors were used in the satellite.
First Solar-Powered Satellite – Vanguard 1-NRL
Vanguard 1 was the fourth satellite launched by the United States into the Earth’s orbit. It was launched on March 17, 1958. It was the first satellite to have solar electric power. The spacecraft was designed to test the launch capabilities of the three-stage launch vehicle. It was also launched to examine the effects of the environment on the satellite in the Earth’s orbit.
Explorer 1 was an aluminum sphere of 16 cm diameter with a weight of 1.47 kg. The transmitter’s primary job was for engineering and tracking data along with counting electrons between ground station and satellite. The estimated lifetime of the satellite was 2,000 years but those were reduced to 240 years after observing the solar radiation pressure and atmospheric drag. The ground station lost connection with the satellite in 1964.
First Communication Satellite – Project SCORE-ABMA
This was the second test by USAF/NASA’s Pioneer 1 for communications. Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay (SCORE) was launched on December 18, 1958. SCORE was the first satellite to broadcast a human voice, a Christmas message by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower through an on-board tape recorder.
The mission of the SCORE launch was to show that Atlas was capable of satellite payload launch and the main aim to show the feasibility of transmitting messages through the upper atmosphere from one ground station to one or more ground stations.
First Human to step on Moon
The spacecraft Apollo 11 has Neil Armstrong as commander and Buzz Aldrin as the pilot. Apollo 11 was launched on July 16, 1969. It was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center. Apollo 11 was the fifth spacecraft of the Apollo program of NASA. The spacecraft had three parts and out of that command, the module was the only part that returned to the Earth.
Armstrong stepped on the moon on July 21 and became the first person to do so. Aldrin also joined him after nineteen-minutes. They both together spent about two and a quarter-hour on the lunar surface.
They both took 47.5 pounds of lunar material, they collected from the surface. They both spent 21 hours and 36 minutes on the lunar surface before lifting off.
We have achieved many milestones in the past few decades in the field of space and the journey has not ended, it is going on. We have taken the help of space to only explore our planet but also to know about other planets and galaxies.
With the help of satellites, we can communicate in seconds and any information about the world is just one touch away. Keep learning and exploring space.