Thursday, December 16, 2010

Setting the Record Straight

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Fun facts about [some of] the highlights and milestones of space flight...

Age Range
At age 25, cosmonaut Gherman Titov (Герман Титов) was the youngest person to travel into space in 1961, aboard Vostok 2. At age 77, astronaut John Glenn was the oldest person to travel into space in 1998, aboard Shuttle Discovery.

Longest Time In Space
As of 2005, cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev (Сергей Крикалёв) is the human being who has spent the most time in space, a grand total of 803 days spread across six missions: Mir EO-4, Mir LD-3, STS-60, STS-88, ISS Expeditions 1 and 11. Krikalev has been dubbed the “Last Citizen of the Soviet Union” because the USSR collapsed while he was on Mir in 1991.

Humans Who Traveled The Farthest From Earth
Astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise, and John Swigert are the humans who have flown the farthest, on the Apollo 13 voyage in 1970. While passing the far side of the Moon, they traveled 248,655 miles (or 400,171 km) from planet Earth.

Longest Human Space Flight
Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov (Валерий Поляков) spent 438 days or 14 months(!) on Mir, between January 1994 and March 1995, during which time he orbited Earth 7,075 times and traveled 186,887,000 miles (or 300,765,000 km).

Longest Trip To The Moon
Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt are the moon-walkers who spent the most time on the lunar surface, on the Apollo 17 mission in 1972; they camped out in the LM for 75 hours, or just over three days.

Most Trips Into Orbit
One of the few records that ends in a tie! Astronauts Franklin Chang-Diaz (STS-61-C, STS-34, STS-46, STS-60, STS-75, STS-91, STS-111) and Jerry Ross (STS-61-B, STS-27, STS-37, STS-55, STS-74, STS-88, STS-110), have both made seven Space Shuttle trips. I really want to meet one of these guys and quiz them to see how fast they can remember all their missions ;)

Most Space Walks
On two shuttle trips and one ISS expedition between 2000 and 2007, Astronaut Miguel López-Alegría completed 10 EVAs! Really. Ten.

Oldest Satellite Still In Orbit
The USA launched Vanguard 1 in 1958, and it transmitted geodesic data until 1964 when it's solar transmitter shut down, but the one-and-a-half-kilogram satellite is expected to remain in earth orbit for about 240 years, or until the year 2198.

Craft Farthest From Earth
The Voyager 1 probe, now traveling through the heliosheath at 38,000 miles per hour (or 60,000 kph), is now 1,081,9724,960 miles (or 17,412,659,445 km) away from Earth. Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 is headed for interstellar space and is well on track to be the first human space craft to leave the solar system.

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