Space Program Research
The Red Bull Stratos mission, undertaken on October 14, 2012, went off without any major problems. The mission was an attempt for a balloon assisted aircraft to reach a world record altitude of 120,000 ft and for a human to then perform a freefall skydive from the vehicle at that height. The mission also had the potential for a human breaking the speed barrier during freefall. This was achieved during the freefall descent to Earth.
NASA announced today that the Curiosity Rover made a successful landing on Mars! This landing was the first of it’s kind for NASA. It combined a heat shield, a parachute and a rocket crane designed to hover over the landing site and lower the rover by cable to the Martian surface. Talk about some crazy great engineering! To top it off, it all had to be done by computer – no human operator involved in the landing.
Before humans were sent into space, it was important for scientists to test the survivability of outer space without endangering human lives. One of the ways this was done was by sending animals in place of humans. While several different types of animals were used for this testing throughout the years, monkeys became one of the best types because of their similarities to humans. Do you know the name of the first monkey in space?