太空探索是指以物理手段探索地球以外物体以及探索太空时涉及到的任何技术, 科学政策. 人类历史上最著名并最有影响力的一次太空探索是在冷战美苏太空竞赛期间第一个人类成功踏上月球.
Space exploration is the physical exploration of outer space objects and generally anything that involves the technologies, science, and politics regarding space endeavors.
It was given a boost by the launch of Sputnik 1, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth, which set off the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Two other famous achievements in the early days were putting the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1, and the first people on the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin aboard Apollo 11 with Michael Collins. After 30 years of competition focus has started shifting from competition to cooperation and from one-off flights to renewable hardware and most recently to the building of extra-terrestrial launch platforms, such as from a space station and possibly from the Moon.
Orbiting and reaching space
From a spaceflight perspective, the definition of space usually used is that space begins 100 km (62 miles) above Earth's surface. The United States sometimes uses a 50 mile definition. (See boundary to space.)
Achieving orbit is essential for going anywhere else, such as to the Moon or Mars. The first successful orbital launch was of the Soviet unmanned Sputnik I mission on October 4, 1957. This spectacular success led to an escalation of the American space program, and to an undeclared Space Race between the two superpowers. Soviet dog Laika became the first animal in orbit on November 3, 1957. The first orbital flight made by a human being was Vostok 1, carrying Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961.
One can distinguish the sub-orbital spaceflight and the orbital spaceflight (cf. Difference between sub-orbital and orbital spaceflights). As for sub-orbital flights, on October 3, 1942 an A4 rocket, a prototype for the German V2 rocket bomb, became the first successful launch of an object into space. The first organisms launched into space were fruit flies and corn seeds aboard a U.S.-launched V2 rocket in July, 1946. Another milestone was achieved on May 17, 2004 when Civilian Space eXploration Team launched the GoFast Rocket on a suborbital flight, the first amateur space flight. On June 21, 2004, SpaceShipOne became the first privately-funded manned spacecraft.