The Development of Space Exploration in the USA

By  //  November 8, 2021

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Outer space has always been a thing of wonder to man. People have for ages studied the heavenly bodies, both for religious and scientific purposes. This curiosity over time has led to probing and adventures through the use of astronomy and technology to understand what is happening in outer space and the solar system.

This began in the 20th century and was driven by the US and the Soviet Union. This was after missile-based nuclear arms were exchanged between the two. After the Cold War, these two created a program called Space Race, aided by the government. However, this occurred only after the Nazi Germany administration attacked London with long-distance rockets as weapons. 

The goal was to achieve super spaceflight capabilities. The outcome resulted in the first artificial satellite being sent by the Soviets in October, just before November of 1957. It was called Sputnik 1. In 1961, four years later, Yuri Gagarin, a Russian Lieutenant, manned the Vostok 1, becoming the first human to orbit Earth.  And in 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American to fly, after the first US Explorer 1, made in 1958.

The First Man to Land on the Moon

“One giant leap for mankind” will always be immediately associated with Neil Armstrong’s feat.  “Landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth” was one of President John F Kennedy’s national goals in 1961, and this was to be achieved within a decade.

Project Gemini started to see that this happened successfully. So by 1969, the US sent its first astronaut on Apollo 11, Armstrong. During which samples of rocks and lunar dust were collected for study. 

In the 1960s, before man landed, an unmanned spacecraft photographed and did an examination. And by the early 1970s, orbiting communications were used daily.

Scientists tested the technology necessary for the flights and tried their endurance for the many days they would travel. This was followed by Project Apollo. This one took them to the lunar surface between 1968 and 1972. 

Launch of Space Shuttle 

In April 1981, one of the shuttles called Columbia was initiated, which led to other reusable shuttles for the mission of the civilian and military. Between the first launches and the last landing in 201, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour flew 135 missions. 

However, on a sad day in 1986, 73 seconds after liftoff, the Challenger exploded. Killing 7 of the crew members, including Christa McAuliffe, a school teacher from New Hampshire. He was going to be the first-ever civilian.

With this, people have been taken into orbital paths; satellites launched, recovered and repaired. Some of the best-related research was conducted, and in the end, the largest structure in Interstellar was built.

The International Space Station

Space stations, also called orbital stations, set the course for the next phase of astronomical exploring. It was built together by many countries and served as a lab for in-depth space study, home to astronauts, and also to receive other spaceships. The first space station was sent into Earth orbit in 1971, and this was the Salyut 1. Next came NASA’s Skylab, the first orbital laboratory where studies on the Earth and the effects of spaceflight on man were carried out.

In the 1970s, the NASA agency carried out projects such as Viking, during which two probes landed on Mars, took photographs, and examined its environs. Several other discoveries have occurred since, such as Europa from Jupiter and Enceladus from Saturn.

Space Tourism

The next phase is one with force strong enough to further develop the landscape of tourism and travel because of its potential. This will make the industry commercial and give tourists room to travel through space for the sake of recreation, leisure, or even business.

Because of how expensive this type of tourism is, there have been only seven space tourists. There is more to learn about United States at for an enriched understanding of the 10-day flight that costs about $20 million US dollars.

The prospects for this are big, and this industry, as many believe, is on the verge of taking off. With already existing space tourism companies and millions being invested, there are plans to build suborbital vehicles and orbital cities in a few decades to come. Civilian tourists would be able to fly in a rocket crewed by professionals for fun.

What Comes Next?

With all the groundbreaking achievements modern space exploration has reached, there’s still more to come, and Mars is one of the long-term goals. The goal is to send humans to the Red Planet by the 2030s. 

NASA and its partners have been searching for more knowledge about the planet, such as the availability of oxygen and life forms.


Science has played an important role in the history of Space exploration and the world. The engineering of programs and activities has developed and come a long way. It has moved from just mere speculation to what it is today and in recent times. The future is bright, and the industry has the potential of morphing even into an even bigger one. This is being worked on tirelessly, and there’s a great view ahead.