Space Travel

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NASA's space shuttle fleet was comprised of orbiters Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia, Discovery, Endeavour and a prototype craft named Enterprise. The space shuttle program began in 1981 and conducted 135 missions.

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  • Why does NASA have a "master sniffer"?

    Q: Why does NASA have a "master sniffer"?

    A: NASA needs a few good noses. Astronauts can't ventilate their spacecraft while in orbit, so it's up to chief George Aldrich and his team of sniffers to make sure each object doesn't give off an unpleasant smell. More importantly, they look for fumes that could be dangerous or deadly to astronauts in space.
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  • Why did Neil Armstrong go to the moon?

    Q: Why did Neil Armstrong go to the moon?

    A: According to NASA, the crew of Apollo 11, which included Neil Armstrong, went to the moon to meet a goal set by President Kennedy. The crew were also on a scientific mission to gather samples from the moon.
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  • How many space shuttles have blown up?

    Q: How many space shuttles have blown up?

    A: Two space shuttles have blown up. The Space Shuttle Challenger blew up in 1986 less than a minute and a half after launch. In 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded upon re-entry. In both accidents, all crew members died.
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  • What countries have put men on the moon?

    Q: What countries have put men on the moon?

    A: As of 2014, the only country to have put men on the moon is the United States. This happened over six Apollo missions, between 1969 and 1972.
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  • How fast do satellites travel?

    Q: How fast do satellites travel?

    A: A satellite requires a speed of 17,450 miles per hour in order to maintain a low Earth orbit. Satellites in higher orbits travel more slowly; for example, a geostationary satellite only orbits at 6,858 miles per hour.
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  • What is the most popular space food?

    Q: What is the most popular space food?

    A: Space travel, like any other road trip, requires having the right snacks. And when you're an astronaut hovering above your home planet, it's nice to have a few comfort foods that remind you of Earth. That's probably why the most popular space food is M&Ms.
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  • How long did it take Neil Armstrong to get to the moon?

    Q: How long did it take Neil Armstrong to get to the moon?

    A: The Apollo 11 space mission, commanded by Neil Armstrong, took three days, three hours and 49 minutes to reach the moon after launching from Earth. However, Armstrong did not set foot on the moon for more than six hours after landing.
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  • How long does it take for the International Space Station to orbit Earth?

    Q: How long does it take for the International Space Station to orbit Earth?

    A: The International Space Station takes 91.63 minutes to orbit Earth. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in its first 10 years in space, the International Space Station had orbited Earth 57,361 times, which calculates to 15.7153 orbits daily; this number varies based on air drag and corrective reboosts.
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  • What are Mercury missions?

    Q: What are Mercury missions?

    A: The Mercury missions were America's first manned spaceflight missions. They took place from 1961 to 1963. The goals of the program were to put an astronaut in orbit and achieve spaceflight lasting longer than 24 hours safely. Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper and Deke Slayton were the seven astronauts chosen for the program, but Deke Slayton was grounded for medical reasons.
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  • How many miles does it take to reach outer space?

    Q: How many miles does it take to reach outer space?

    A: The number of miles required to reach outer space depends on whom is asked: the space industry lists 62 miles; NASA sets the boundary at 76 miles. Others place the marker at an astronomical 13 million miles.
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  • How many space shuttles have crashed?

    Q: How many space shuttles have crashed?

    A: Only two space shuttles, the Challenger and the Columbia, have crashed. There have, however, been other deaths related to the space shuttle program.
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  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of space tourism?

    Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of space tourism?

    A: Space tourism has a number of both benefits and drawbacks. Its advantages include a high public profile, technological innovation and high investor interest. Its disadvantages include a huge initial investment cost and risky operations in a hostile environment.
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  • Who was astronaut Kalpana Chawla?

    Q: Who was astronaut Kalpana Chawla?

    A: According to NASA, Kalpana Chawla was an aerospace engineer, research scientist, and the first Indian woman to fly into space. Chawla first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia as part of STS-87 in 1997. She was also part of the STS-107 mission and was killed when the Columbia orbiter broke up upon re-entry on February 1, 2003.
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  • How many miles is it from Earth to space?

    Q: How many miles is it from Earth to space?

    A: According to data collected by the University of Calgary, space begins and the Earth's atmosphere ends at 73 miles above the Earth's surface. However, other countries and agencies have a differing opinion on where space begins.
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  • What are all the space shuttle names?

    Q: What are all the space shuttle names?

    A: NASA's space shuttle fleet was comprised of orbiters Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia, Discovery, Endeavour and a prototype craft named Enterprise. The space shuttle program began in 1981 and conducted 135 missions.
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  • Which space shuttle was inspected after two lightning strikes?

    Q: Which space shuttle was inspected after two lightning strikes?

    A: On July 7, 2011, two lightning strikes occurred within a mile of the space shuttle Atlantis' launch pad. Neither of these strikes actually hit the shuttle itself. Rather, the strikes made contact with a nearby beach and with a water tower that was about 500 feet away from the shuttle.
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  • Q: What are space shuttles made of?

    A: The space shuttle consists of two solid rocket boosters, an external fuel tank and an orbiter. The two solid rocket boosters are critical for launch, while the external fuel tank carries fuel for the launch and the orbiter carries astronauts and payload.
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  • Q: What is Christa McAuliffe famous for?

    A: Christa McAuliffe was a civilian teacher and payload specialist who died in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger on Jan. 28, 1986. McAuliffe was selected for the position as part of NASA's Teacher in Space program and would have given video lessons from orbit. A faulty O-ring in one of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters failed shortly after liftoff, destroying the shuttle and killing its crew.
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  • Q: Why do astronauts wear space suits?

    A: The purpose of a space suit is to keep astronauts alive in outer space, as the extreme temperatures and lack of an atmosphere mean instant death for a human. Astronauts also wear suits inside the spacecraft sometimes in case cabin pressure drops suddenly, and they wear them when they are performing work on the exterior of the space ship.
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  • Q: What was the first animal to land on the moon?

    A: As of April 2014, no animals other than human beings have landed on the moon. The first humans to land on the moon were Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin. Armstrong was the first human to step on the moon.
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  • Is China trying to mine the moon?

    Q: Is China trying to mine the moon?

    A: China has announced a theoretical plan to mine the moon for minerals and other scarce natural resources, but some experts are skeptical that the plan will ever fruition. At the moment, it's still in the research and development phrase.
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