Why Space?

How does space exploration and an organization like
NASA (National Aeronautical and Space Administration)
benefit the United States? The formation of NASA to monitor
and explore space has served the United States by supplying
us with advancements in medicine, military defense, consumer
products and the citizens of all participating countries a
sense of pride in their countries. Space exploration has
evolved from being a source of bragging rights during the
cold war to a tool to develop faster ways of communication
and scientific breakthroughs that are used to cure and/or
prevent diseases. The United States has become a world
power by using NASA to develop ways to defend the USA as
well as benefit the inhabitants of the world.

Early History

After the end of W.W.I the United States did not think
much about space travel. But as soon as the USSR launched
Sputnik I in 1958, the first artificial satellite to orbit
the earth, the USA quickly began to attempt to create a
satellite of their own. Before the United States could
create a satellite, the Soviets announced that they made and
launched their second satellite named Sputnik II, it was the
first biological spacecraft. After the launching of Sputnik
II the US felt tremendous pressure to launch its first
satellite. The United States quickly launched Explorer I,
the first American satellite in space, Explorer was created
to measure cosmic rays and micrometeorites in earth's
atmosphere. The US then launched another satellite named
Vanguard I to measure the amounts of radiation in
outer-space. The launching of satellites by both the US and
USSR would soon lead to manned space travel. After the
launching of Vanguard I by the USAF, the US realized that
they would need a federal organization to regulate space
travel. In 1959 the US government created NASA to maintain
and expand the United State's interests in space travel.
Not long after the creation of NASA, the organization
quickly experiment with space suits and space vessels to
prepare for sending a man into space. The Soviets soon
announced that they launched a satellite called Luna II that
was meant to take the first close-up pictures of the sun.
It was the first rocket to leave the earth's gravitational
field. The US continued to work on their goal of sending a
man into space by selecting and beginning to train seven men
in May 1959. These first seven American astronauts were
named the Mercury 6. While the United States was selecting
astronauts to start their space program the Soviets were
already taking pictures of the moon and planning to get
ready to send a man to the moon.


Freedom 7 was launched on May 5, 1961 carrying a
Mercury 6 astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr.. The rocket climbed
302 miles into the air making the ship and Shepard the first
American astronaut to fly into space. The United States
briskly went to work, trying to sent another American into
space. John Glenn was selected as the Mercury 6 astronaut
that would orbit the earth. On February 20, 1962 the US was
ready to surpass the USSR in the field of human space
exploration. John Glenn successfully was launched into
orbit around the earth, becoming the first human to do so.
He completed three orbits around the earth in his Friendship
7 spacecraft. The mission was extremely successful for the
US and NASA. After the mission the United States became the
leading country in the field of space exploration. The US
started to get ready for further missions into space by
reaching new breakthroughs in space suit technology. The
manned orbiting laboratory suit of 1963 was an Air Force
refinement for the Gemini spacecraft missions. The manned
orbiting laboratory was designed to carry two or more
astronauts into space at the same time for an extended
period of time. The suit was supposed to allow the
astronauts to be able to move around the Gemini spacecraft
freely. However the suit was made obsolete when the Project
Gemini lightweight suit was developed in 1965. The space
suit was designed to be easily removed during flight to aid
to the astronauts comfort, making it easier for the
astronauts to tolerate long journeys. These suits were of
great value to the Apollo missions. The Apollo missions
were meant to eventually land a man on the moon.
While Soviet space program was faltering because the
government refused to allocate the needed funds to support
the Soviet Cosmonauts, the United States was getting ready
to send a man to the moon. The first ten Apollo missions
were to survey the moon and the gravity fields around it to
make planning a landing easier once these missions were
accomplished the US prepared to execute