Astronomy Picture of the Day
APOD: 1999 April 11 - Liftoff of Space Shuttle Columbia
Explanation: On April 12, 1981, space flight entered a new era with the first launch of Space Shuttle Columbia. NASA's Space Shuttles land like a normal airplane, carry a heavy cargo, carry a large crew, make use of cheap solid fuel, and are reusable. Previous to this flight, no manned orbiting space ship had ever landed on a runway. Space Shuttles now are the flagships and the workhorses of NASA's space going rockets.
APOD: 1995 August 29 - Saturn V: NASA's Largest Rocket
Explanation: Pictured, a NASA Saturn V rocket blasts off on July 16th, 1969 carrying the crew of Apollo 11 to the Moon. The Saturn V rocket was the largest rocket ever used by NASA, and the only one able to lift the large masses needed to land astronauts on the moon and returning them safely. Saturn V rockets launched all of the Apollo moon missions, and several to Earth orbit as well.
APOD: 1999 July 17 - Rockets and Robert Goddard
Explanation: Robert H. Goddard, one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry, was born in Worcester Massachusetts in 1882. As a 16 year old, Goddard read H.G. Wells' science fiction classic "War Of The Worlds" and dreamed of space flight. By 1926 he had designed, built, and launched the world's first liquid fuel rocket. During his career he was ridiculed by the press for suggesting that rockets could be flown to the Moon, but he kept up his experiments in rocketry supported in part by the Smithsonian Institution and championed by Charles Lindbergh. Pictured above in 1937 in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico, Goddard examines a nose cone and parachute from one of his test rockets. Widely recognized as a gifted experimenter and engineering genius, his rockets were many years ahead of their time. He died in 1945 holding over 200 patents in rocket technology. A liquid fuel rocket constructed on principles developed by Goddard landed humans on the Moon in 1969.
Authors & editors:
& Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.