In a dusty hangar on the steppes of Kazakhstan, one of the last remnants of the Cold War space race, the Soviet space shuttle, lies forgotten. The cosmos was a field of fierce competition for the United States and USSR, which constantly sought to one-up each other with new technological breakthroughs and pioneering missions. Part of that rivalry is still hidden away at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the starting point for Soviet and Russian space flights before the new Vostochny cosmodrome was built. The first Soviet space shuttle, which made just one unmanned flight, was destroyed in 2002 when the hangar housing it collapsed, but a second shuttle and test mockup are still intact as if frozen in time, the proud achievement of a country that no longer exists. “A steel bird, born to fly among the stars, has been left trapped in a concrete cage,” Andrei Ghilan, a journalist and urban explorer from Moldova, wrote after photographing the space shuttle in its … [Read more...] about Remains of forgotten Soviet space shuttle photographed by urban explorer
Space shuttle launch
He grew up in Grimsby building model aeroplanes and looking to the skies. A few short years later he was flying beyond the speed of sound in the world’s most advanced fighter plane - a jet he helped design. But Tom Smith’s ambitions did not end there. This son of sheet metal worker had his eyes on space. It was the early 1960s and the space race between the US and the Soviet Union was at its height. The Russians had put the first man, Yuri Gagarin, into orbit in 1961. Now, the Americans were dreaming of sending an astronaut to the Moon. But if Tom had his way, Britain would take over the lead in the space race and hold it for decades to come. He had designed the first space shuttle, “Mustard”, and it was light years ahead of anything the US or USSR could offer. Born to a trawler repairman Thomas William Smith was born in Grimsby on March 27 1927. His father was a sheet-metal worker who repaired trawlers for a living and no doubt gave his son his first taste of … [Read more...] about The Grimsby man who invented the space shuttle
THE tragedy was witnessed by millions of Americans who watched on live television for the Challenger to make history. But why did the space shuttle break apart, and how many people died? Here's what we know about the 73-second doomed flight. When was the Challenger disaster? The NASA shuttle orbiter broke apart just 73 seconds into its flight on January 28, 1986, at 11.39am local time. It was the tenth flight the Space Shuttle Challenger had taken. The spacecraft fell apart off the coast of Cape Canaveral in Florida. The crew compartment ascended to an altitude of 12.3 miles before free-falling into the Atlantic Ocean. Why did the space shuttle break apart? The vehicle began disintegrating after a join in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. This was down to the unusually cold weather that the O-ring seals were not designed to handle. As the shuttle ascended, one of the seals opened enough to allow a plume of exhaust to leak out. Hot gases than bathed the cold … [Read more...] about When was the Challenger disaster, why did the space shuttle break apart and how many people died?
During the early weeks of his 167-day stint aboard the International Space Station in 2014, astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore noticed that a torque wrench was missing. “It’s not uncommon for things to disappear in space,” he tells me over the phone from the Johnson Space Center in Houston. “You just don’t have gravity keeping stuff in place.” Wilmore mentioned the missing tool to Nasa’s mission control as he was tending to a 3D printer, a microwave-sized box that extrudes heated plastic to build up objects layer by layer, which was being tested on the space station. About a week later, Wilmore opened the door to the 3D printer to find a perfect replica of his missing wrench. He was thrilled, a moment captured in a photo that was shared with the world’s media at the time. Until that point, the machine had produced only very simple objects. “This was a printed, all-inclusive wrench, with a ratchet mechanism, that … [Read more...] about ‘It’s about expanding Earth’: could we build cities in space?
These eerie images show a pair of abandoned space shuttle in the Kazakhstan desert - once used to launch the first man into space. Baikonur Cosmodrome was the world's first and largest space launch facility with both Sputnik 1 and Vostok 1 were launched from it. Sputnik was the first man made Earth satellite and Vostok was the first manned spaceflight, piloted by Russian Yuri Gagarin in 1961. Now the facility sits partially abandoned and two shuttles sit gathering dust - they were from the Buran Space Program and include a test shuttle and one that was never used after the space program ended in 1993. These images were captured by Konstantin Kosmodemiansky, a blogger and photographer from Moscow who trekked 28km through the desert with his friends in order to capture the bizarre scene. With his five man team, Konstantin travelled 2,500km in total, in order to reach the site - travelling all the way from Moscow. The 21-year-old says that they had to turn off the cars lights when they … [Read more...] about Eerie images show pair of abandoned space shuttles at Sputnik launch site