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A History Of Space Shuttles

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Space: no longer the final frontier. Since 1961 when the former Soviet Union's Vostok 1 first transcended Earth's atmosphere into space, humankind has feverishly pursued the limits of extraterrestrial travel. Although by now NASA has retired its three-shuttle-fleet, including the famed Atlantis, space explorers have a rich history of suiting up and blasting off. More than 600 crew members and 3 million pounds of cargo have carved their way into territory once thought to be off-limits to humans. That's not to say there haven't been tragedies along the way, however: The Challenger exploded only minutes after launching, the Columbia disintegrated above Texas, and the Apollo 1 experienced an on-ground fire in the space capsule. Despite the missteps, the risk of venturing into space has its rewards. By traveling around the Earth at a rate of 17,500 miles-per-hour, crew members are treated to either a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes out their window. And with a breathtaking view of the Earth in its entirety, that's not your average sunrise.

But how exactly does a space shuttle work, and why are they considered "renewable"? What happens to the crew and rocket once a mission is over? The journey of a space shuttle is long and arduous, but filled with wonder and awe. Check out this playlist to learn more about the amazing science behind launching rockets into space.

00:54
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The Space Shuttle Enterprise flies over the Hudson River in Manhattan
00:52
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Segment 1: NASA's Shuttle Discovery (STS131), while docked to the ISS, captured these images on April 12, 2010 as it moved from the night side of the Earth to the daytime. In the process the Aurora Borealis can be seen on the Earth's limb. A solar panel from the ISS and a docked Soyuz module can be seen in the foreground. Segment 2: NASA's Shuttle Discovery (STS131), while docked to the ISS, captured these images on April 16, 2010. The sequence begins as the Shuttle emerges from darkness over the Canadian Rockies, traversing the United States southeast towards Florida. The Bahamas and Hispaniola are seen as the Shuttle continues over Venzuela, Brazil and finally the southern Atlantic ocean before returning to darkness. Images courtesy of the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov Segment 3: The Sun rises behind space shuttle Atlantis in this time-lapse sequence from July 19, 2011, one of the last days of the historic final mission of the shuttle program.
03:57
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In January 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia launched with a crew of seven on a two-week mission. On the return flight, damaged heat shields allowed gas to penetrate the wing, and the spacecraft was destroyed. From: SPACE VOYAGES: Open For Business http://bit.ly/1n5zVrN
03:00
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Space Shuttle Discovery clocked more time in space than any other shuttle and was the catalyst for many historic space firsts - including the mission to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. From: SHUTTLE DISCOVERY'S LAST MISSION http://bit.ly/1rjerLL
01:55
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With the ramping down of the space shuttle, and the beginning of a new space race driven by the private sector, it's a brave new world. Mark Uhran: So we're at a major point in transition with the International Space Station Program. With the ramping down of the space shuttle, we are changing our approach to transportation.  Fortunately, we have, through this international partnership, very reliable vehicles, the Russian Soyuz and the Russian Progress, we've also recently demonstrated in Europe and in Japan, cargo vehicles that can rendezvous with the space station.  And then finally, in the United States have contracted with private organizations to demonstrate new cargo transportation vehicle over the next 12 to 24 months.  We're confident that those demonstrations will occur roughly on schedule and that we will be able to transition from the shuttle era where we were basically using the equipment an 18-wheeler truck to move large pieces of the space station, large elements like laboratories and solar arrays up to orbit, but for the next 10 years, we're not going to need the equivalent of an 18-wheeler, we're going to need the equivalent of a pick-up truck.  And that's what these international vehicles are and what these commercial vehicles are that we expect to demonstrate here in the next several months. These last two flights are essentially propositioning the final spares that we need to make sure that the vehicle will operate safely until commercial transportation systems become available. We have an extremely capable platform and our view is that we can turn that to productive uses over the next decade. Mark Uhran: So we're at a major point in transition with the International Space Station Program. With the ramping down of the space shuttle, we are changing our approach to transportation.  Fortunately, we have, through this international partnership, very reliable vehicles, the Russian Soyuz and the Russian Progress, we've also recently demonstrated in Europe and in Japan, cargo vehicles that can rendezvous with the space station.  And then finally, in the United States have contracted with private organizations to demonstrate new cargo transportation vehicle over the next 12 to 24 months.  We're confident that those demonstrations will occur roughly on schedule and that we will be able to transition from the shuttle era where we were basically using the equipment an 18-wheeler truck to move large pieces of the space station, large elements like laboratories and solar arrays up to orbit, but for the next 10 years, we're not going to need the equivalent of an 18-wheeler, we're going to need the equivalent of a pick-up truck.  And that's what these international vehicles are and what these commercial vehicles are that we expect to demonstrate here in the next several months. These last two flights are essentially propositioning the final spares that we need to make sure that the vehicle will operate safely until commercial transportation systems become available. We have an extremely capable platform and our view is that we can turn that to productive uses over the next decade.
01:49
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From the cockpit to the toilets, astronaut Mike Foale gives us a tour of the shuttle and the inside scoop about life on board. From: SPACE SHUTTLE: FINAL COUNTDOWN http://bit.ly/1p8zCAj
06:53
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Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Launch 27 February 2014. A Japanese H-IIA rocket with the NASA-Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory onboard, is seen launching from th Tanegashima Space Center, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, Tanegashima Space Center. The GPM spacecraft will collect information that unifies data from an international network of existing and future satellites to map global rainfall and snowfall every three hours. See more videos about the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission : http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6vzpF_OEV8nK0TZQqrr9Z82bZHE3hZRN Completed: 26 February 2014 Video Editor: Rich Melnick (HTSI) Producer: Ryan Fitzgibbons (USRA) Project Support: Aaron E Lepsch (ADNET Systems, Inc.) Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
03:47
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SciShow Space News shares the latest developments from around the universe, including NASA’s plan to build the world’s most powerful rocket, and the fate of Russian geckos sent to have sex in space. ---------- Like SciShow? Want to help support us, and also get things to put on your walls, cover your torso and hold your liquids? Check out our awesome products over at DFTBA Records: http://dftba.com/artist/52/SciShow Or help support us by subscribing to our page on Subbable: https://subbable.com/scishow ---------- Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow Tumblr: http://scishow.tumblr.com Thanks Tank Tumblr: http://thankstank.tumblr.com Credit for Thumbnail Gecko: Michael Grmek Sources: http://space.io9.com/russias-space-agency-is-helping-geckos-get-it-on-in-mic-1613771618 http://www.livescience.com/47090-geckos-space-experiment.html http://gizmodo.com/why-russia-was-studying-space-lizard-sex-in-the-first-p-1612513751 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Launch_System http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_orbital_launch_systems http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/SLS-Fact-Sheet_aug2014-finalv3.pdf
05:29
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Ever want to know what it's like to be a rocket scientist? Learn some of the basics of rockets to impress your friends. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA More information at http://k12videos.mit.edu/terms-conditions
19:40
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The Soyuz rocket and capsule that'll send NASA astronaut Kevin Ford and his two Russian crewmates to the International Space Station is rolled out to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Launch is scheduled for October 23, 2012.