Platt, Donald Micro Aerospace Solutions, Inc., Melbourne, Florida.
Last reviewed:April 2019
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- Crewed space-faring nations
- Crewed spacecraft
- Russian/Soviet programs
- United States programs
- Space shuttle
- International Space Station
- Future of crewed space flight
- Additional Readings
The penetration by humans into the reaches of the universe above Earth's atmosphere through the use of crewed vehicles. Human space flight poses significant challenges as an enterprise, given the technical rigors and costs associated with achieving escape velocity from Earth and operating in the space environment, all while maintaining habitable conditions aboard a spacecraft. General goals of space flight include expansion of knowledge; exploration of the unknown, providing a driving force for technology advancement and, hence, improved Earth-based productivity; development and occupation of new frontiers with access to extraterrestrial resources and energy supplies; strengthening of national prestige, self-esteem, and security; and providing opportunity for international cooperation and understanding. To date, except for the 24 astronauts who flew to the Moon between 1968–1972 (Fig. 1), all human space flight activity has taken place within so-called low Earth orbit, typically no more than several hundred kilometers above our planet's surface. See also: Earth; Escape velocity; Space; Universe
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