There are different reasons why space missions or explorations were made and are still being planned by various countries that are progressive. This is not just about the name or the fame, but it educates young ones about the importance of technology and proving that there is life beyond the far regions of space and other planets. We cannot live in assumption just because there are various commentaries and beliefs given by others. This is the strong foundation of learning and discovery. As we channel our minds to the most historic events relating to space explorations, let us see the top 10 successful missions rendered and launched.
10. Launch of the Pioneer
There were unsuccessful attempts made by the Pioneer since 1958 until Pioneer 10 and 11 made it in 1972 and 1973. In fact, these were the first spacecrafts that visited other planets in the solar system, specifically the known giants, Saturn and Jupiter. They brought discoveries with them that unknown small moons, and a new ring exists.
9. Sputnik I and II
This is the first ever-recorded satellite that took orbit around the earth, which were launched separately by USSR. The first orbit was made on October 04, 1957 and lasted on January 04, 1958. The second Sputnik had its orbit on November 03, 1957 and ended on April 13, 1958.
8. Mercury – Atlas 6
The Friendship 7, which was a tiny capsule, was used by an astronaut John Glenn, who was the first American that orbited the earth on February 20, 1962. He had done the orbits three times and it was highly recognized by the people of United States where he is seen as an America Hero because of his success.
It was successfully launched on October 15, 1997 with its goal of intensively studying Saturn and the moon that gives light to the planet, named Titan. This was a collaborative effort of The European Space Agency, Italian Space Agency, and the Jet Propulsion Lab that also designed Cassini. It actually reached Saturn in 2004 and had its special trip to Titan in 2005. Hence, it still holds the record of the first spacecraft that took the orbit to Saturn.
6. Mars Global Surveyor
From the name of the mission itself, it targets Mars. It was launched on November 07, 1996 and it arrived on its destination in 1997. They brought with them 240,000 pictures from the Martian surface when they finished their 2-year mission and 4-year extended missions. These images had been part of the “Spirit and Opportunity” which is the other name that they are known for.
5. Mars Rovers
This is the “the spirit and opportunity” first launched on June 10, 2003 by the “Spirit” and on July 07, 2003 was the “Opportunity”. They arrived on their destination by 2004 where these two missions were focused on two sides of Mars expecting to complete their 90-day exploration on the said planet.
Despite of the unsuccessful attempts to get through planet Mars by Russians with 13 tries, U.S. made its soft landing with its Viking 1 Lander in 1976 and followed by a sister mission of Viking 2 that lasted in 1980. In fact, Viking 1 holds the title as the longest-running Mars space mission because of its 6 years and 116 days exploration and stay. Aside from that, the same aircraft sent the first colored picture about this mission, which was a great highlight during the day.
There are two spacecrafts that took off to Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager 1 was launched on September 05, 1977 while Voyager 2 began its journey on August 20, 1977. These were separate spacecrafts that would investigate and study Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager 1 took a few days journey to Saturn but both of these missions were lifelong heritage because of the great success that they had due to the advancement of technology.
On April 24, 1990, Space Shuttle Discoveries launched STS-31, which was deployed by Edwin P. Hubble Space Telescope for astronomical observation. Its first orbit was made on December 01, 1993 and had its second maintenance mission on February 11, 1997 by installing infrared cameras, telescope insulations, a new spectrograph, guidance sensors, data recorder, and a new computer. The final maintenance was made in 2009 and it is expected to have its orbit by 2014.
1. Apollo Missions
Although reports say that, the number one spot belongs to Hubble or Voyagers, but the heralded space exploration missions in history were the Apollo projects. There are Apollo 13, 11, 8, and others. Hence, the first mission to the moon is very monumental and inspiring to all not just to those who have personally witnessed them but even with this generation who still acknowledge this biggest accomplishment. There are strong and solid understandings about the moon, confirming scientific explanations because of its voyage. Hence, who could ever forget Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr., who first walked on the surface of the moon using Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969?