The Quest for Space

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


The real quest for space has existed for centuries, ever since man first noticed the stars and began to wonder about them, gradually fostering the desire to visit them. Centuries of Earth-based observations of the cosmos evolved into the science of astronomy. The desire for human “flight” was often intertwined in the early years with a passion for the written word and a vivid imagination, creating numerous stories of fantasy and adventure in the heavens. With the development of the balloon, the chance to actually ascend into the atmosphere gave scientists real experience and data about the difficulties of high-altitude flight, as well as the realisation that there was a limit to our atmosphere. In the closing years of the nineteenth century and opening decades of the twentieth, the development of life support systems, pressurised compartments, diving apparatus, and of course the aircraft, were the important steps along the way to the series of high-altitude, high-speed aircraft and stratospheric balloons that set and surpassed record after record from the 1920s through to the 1950s. The knowledge gained, and the sacrifices made, were the final link in the chain that led to Gagarin’s pioneering journey into orbit.


Manned Space Flight Crew Lunar Mission Lunar Roving Lunar Landing 
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© Praxis Publishing Ltd, Chichester, UK 2007

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