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Each Space Shuttle astronaut is allotted 3.8 pounds of food per day (including the one pound of packaging). Foods are individually packaged and stowed for easy handling in the zero gravity of space. All food is precooked or processed so it requires no refrigeration and is either ready to eat or can be prepared simply by adding water or by heating. The only exceptions are the fresh fruit and vegetables stowed in the fresh food locker. Without refrigeration, carrots and celery must be eaten within the first two days of the flight or they will spoil. Did you know that to apply to be an astronaut a pilot must have completed 1000 hours of flying time in a jet aircraft?
During Apollo 11, the astronauts ate two meals. Meal A was bacon squares, peaches, sugar cookie cubes, coffee, and pineapple-grapefruit drink. Meal B included beef stew, cream of chicken soup, date fruitcake, grape punch, and orange drink. Snoopy, the Peanuts Comic Strip character is the astronauts' personal safety mascot.
Columbia was the first Space Shuttle that traveled to Earth orbit. It takes about six hours for a Space Shuttle, aboard a crawler-transporter, to make the trip from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad preceding a mission.
Explorer 1, the first U.S. Earth-orbiting satellite, was launched January 31, 1958 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch vehicle was an Army Jupiter-C rocket. Explorer 1 orbited the Earth every 115 minutes. Its orbit carried it from a low of about 220 miles to a high of nearly 1,600 miles. Bessie Coleman, known as "Queen Bess, Daredevil Aviator," was the first African-American woman aviator. She received her pilot's certificate in 1921 in France and learned stunt-flying there. Bessie died in a flying accident in 1926 before she was able to achieve her goal of opening her own flight school. She was honored in 1995 by the U.S. Postal Service with a Black Heritage commemorative stamp.
Eileen M. Collins was the first female commander of the space shuttle. She and her crew launched aboard Space Shuttle Columbia on the STS-93 mission in July 1999. On October 11, 1984 Katherine Sullivan was the first U.S. woman to walk in space. During STS-41G, she and Commander Dave Leestma successfully conducted a 3-1/2 hour Extravehicular Activity (EVA) to demonstrate the feasibility of actual satellite refueling.
The first manned lunar landing mission, Apollo 11, lifted off on July 16, 1969. After Mission Control confirmed that the hardware was working well, Apollo 11 began the three-day trip to the Moon. Astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt from Apollo 17 was the first scientist-astronaut to fly a space mission. He was a geologist.
During Gemini VIII, on March 16, 1966, American astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and David Scott performed the first orbital docking. Their spacecraft docked with an Agena target vehicle, becoming the first coupling of two spacecraft. This was a critical task to master before attempting to land on the Moon, a mission that required several dockings and undockings of spacecraft. During the second piloted Gemini mission, June 3-7 1965, Gemini IV stayed aloft for four days and astronaut Edward H. White II performed the first EVA (extra-vehicular activity, or spacewalk) by an American.
Apollo 15 (July 26 - August 7, 1971) was the first of the longer, expedition-style lunar landing missions. It was the first to include the lunar rover, which extended the range of the astronauts on the Moon. They brought back 173 pounds of moon rocks, including one of the prize artifacts of the Apollo program, a sample of ancient lunar crust called the "Genesis Rock." On August 20, 1982 cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman on a space station.
Because the detectors on GALEX are so sensitive, the telescope on GALEX must always be pointed away from the Earth and the Sun. In fact, the detectors are so sensitive that GALEX cannot look at any of the stars that we can see with the naked eye from the ground! Alan Shepard is the only person to hit a golf ball on the Moon. During the Apollo 14 mission he fitted an 8 iron head to the handle of a lunar sample collection device and launched three golf balls. They are still there!
Do you know how many people have walked on the Moon? Twelve men have walked there -- two each on six different Apollo missions. The first crew members to live on the International Space Station were Commander Bill Shepherd, Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko, and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev.
The first piece of the International Space Station to be placed into orbit was the Zarya control module. It was placed in orbit in November 1998 by a Russian Proton rocket. On Feb. 20, 1962 John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. He made three Earth revolutions in his capsule named "Friendship 7."
On February 20, 1962 astronaut John Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 "Friendship 7" spacecraft on the first manned orbital mission of the U.S. Launched from Kennedy Space Center, he completed a successful three-orbit mission around the Earth, reaching a maximum altitude (apogee) of approximately 162 statute miles and an orbital velocity of approximately 17,500 miles per hour. Glenn?s "Friendship 7" spacecraft landed approximately 800 miles southeast of Kennedy Space Center. Mission duration from launch to impact was 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds. On Feb. 20, 1986 the Mir Space Station became the first third-generation Space Station to be launched. Mir means ""peace" or "village" in Russian.
President John F. Kennedy was the United States President who challenged America to land a man on the moon. American astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.
A manned rocket reaches the Moon in less time than it took a stagecoach to travel the length of England. The rocket that launched the astronauts to the Moon was a Saturn V rocket.
During a shuttle launch "MECO" means Main Engine Cutoff. America?s first space station was named Skylab.
Skylab was longer than a twelve-story building and contained almost 12,000 cubic feet of living space. Can you hear in space? In theory, if there is nothing to receive the sound, there is no sound. Because there are no "air waves" in space to conduct the sound, it would not carry. So, the object would make a noise, but it would not carry to any receiver, and no one would hear it.
The USSR's Soyuz was the first Soviet spacecraft to dock with an American spacecraft. The Space Shuttle is the world's first reusable spacecraft and the first spacecraft in history that can carry large satellites both to and from orbit. The Shuttle launches like a rocket, maneuvers in Earth orbit like a spacecraft, and lands like an airplane.
The 100th flight in shuttle program history was made by Space Shuttle Columbia. The Space Shuttle's accomplishments over the past 20 years include: launching 3 million pounds of cargo; transporting more than 600 passengers and pilots; cumulatively spending more than three years in flight; and traveling more than 366 million miles.
Condiments available on the Space Shuttle include salt, pepper, taco sauce, hot pepper sauce, catsup, mayonnaise and mustard. The Space Shuttle does zero to 17,000 mph in 8.5 minutes. The speed of the gases exiting the Solid Rocket Booster motor is 6,000 mph -- three times the speed of a high-powered rifle.
The Space Shuttle main engine weighs one seventh as much as a train engine but delivers as much horsepower as 39 locomotives. The Space Shuttle Main Engine operates at greater temperature extremes than any mechanical system in common use today. The fuel, liquefied hydrogen at -423 degrees Fahrenheit (-253 degrees Celsius) is the second coldest liquid on Earth. When it and the liquid oxygen are combusted, the temperature in the main combustion chamber is 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit (3,316 degrees Celsius), hotter than the boiling point of iron.
Did you know that the Space Shuttle makes one complete orbit around the Earth approximately every 90 minutes? The astronauts see one sunrise and one sunset each orbit. There are 16 sunrises/sunsets every 24 hours. The Space Shuttle travels about 17,600 miles per hour when orbiting the Earth.
The Space Shuttle speed goes from 0 mph to 17,500 mph in 8.5 minutes (this is when the external fuel tank separates from the Shuttle). Two minutes after launch the solid rocket boosters separate; at this time the speed is 3,438 mph and increasing rapidly. While in orbit the Shuttle's speed is 17,500 mph. When reentry or blackout occurs, the Shuttle is traveling at 16,700 mph. After reentry the Shuttle uses Earth's atmosphere to slow down. Landing speed ranges from 213 to 226 mph (343 to 364 kilometers). Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, Brazil, and the United States are all building parts of the International Space Station.
A spacesuit weighs approximately 280 pounds on the ground -- without the astronaut in it. Of course, it weighs nothing in space. Putting on a spacesuit takes 45 minutes, including the special underwear. After putting on the suit, the astronaut must spend a little over an hour breathing pure oxygen before going outside the pressurized module, in order to adapt to the lower pressure maintained in the spacesuit. Did you know that the Soviet satellite Sputnik was the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth?
History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world?s first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race. Although at first glance it appears wrong, the flag on the shuttle Orbiter is not truly backward. The regulation for displaying a U.S. flag on a national vehicle states that the star field must be positioned at the front of the vessel (the nose cone end of the shuttle), as if the flag were "flying" along the side of the ship. This causes the flag to look as though it were backward on one side of the Shuttle.
The legacy of flying American flags to space started in 1961 with the flight of the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard. Students from Cocoa Beach Elementary School in Florida purchased a flag from a local department store. The flag was rolled up and placed between cables behind Shepard's head inside his Freedom 7 Mercury spacecraft. Why were the first lunar missions nicknamed "Apollo"? At the height of Greek colonization of the ancient world, Apollo was seen as a god who accompanied emigrants and travelers on their way. The name "Apollo" was suggested by Abe Silverstein, an early director of the Lewis Research Center and one of the "founding fathers" of NASA's Manned Spaceflight Center (now Johnson Space Center) in Houston.
Most of the elements found in the human body originated in stars; we are literally made of stardust. The prototype orbiter Enterprise was used at Dryden to verify the glide and handling qualities of the vehicle following its return into the atmosphere from space.

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Last Updated: February 28, 2004
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