The American Space Program Essay

1989 words - 8 pages

Since mankind’s beginning, it has always felt the need to explore beyond farther than it has already explored; whether it be the crossing of the Atlantic to the New World or the exploration of the land acquired through the Louisiana Purchase, humans have always felt the need to explore and study what they do not know (SV;SV). But now since the world has been near scraped dry of new places to explore, where does mankind turn? Of course the answer is space, the vast and great unknown. One of the largest contributors to the human exploration of space is none other than those of the United States of America who have taken on large goals with the risk of lives for the sake of knowledge while always trying to improve in order to reach farther from our home planet.
Over the years since its beginning, the American space program has executed many major successful projects that were lead mainly by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, in which America completed without the assistance of other countries. Perhaps the most well-known feat of NASA was the world’s first moon landing, performed by Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr., which occurred on July 20th, 1969 (Andrews). This was an outstanding achievement considering that NASA had competed against the Soviet Union in order to put the first man on the moon and came out on top even though the Soviet Union had had a head start. But even though the moon landing is the most well-known, other projects have produced far more useful results. For instance, the Hubble Space Telescope is considered to be “one of the finest research tools in astronomical history,” and the 44 foot-long telescope was sent into space on April 24, 1990; however, the telescope initially had a problem with its primary mirror and its curvature (Andrews). This incorrect curvature caused images taken by the telescope to be blurry, but on December 2, 1993, NASA solved the problem with “a set of ‘contacts,’ correcting the focusing problem” (Andrews). NASA’s success has also reached out to Earth’s neighbor, Mars. Over the years NASA has sent many probes to study and map out our red neighbor including the Mariner probes, the Viking probes, the Global Surveyor probe, the Pathfinder probe (A,B,C) (Mari 25). The collective data gathered through these probes has given the American Space Program a extensive amount of information about Mars. The American Space Program has had many successful projects completed even without the aid of other countries.
Although America has completed many successful projects without international aid, some of its perhaps most important successes came with the help of other countries. The collaborations of American Astronauts and Russian Cosmonauts in 1995 are a great example of one of these successes. During 1995, American Astronauts would visit Mir, a Russian Space Station, in 11 space shuttles throughout the year. The two countries would work together to conduct experiments, biological...

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