History of human spaceflight

  • Sven Grahn
  • Carol Norberg
Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


Over a period of about two centuries humans learned how to travel farther and farther from the surface of the Earth. However, we still have limited experience of flight in space. Progress was fast during the Cold War, when the competitive spirit between the United States and the Soviet Union drove both nations’ space engineers to work towards goals of ever increasing complexity.

In this chapter the reader is taken through the early successes of the Russians, and then the early space programs of the United States. A number of space stations were built and flown by both countries in order to investigate how the human body coped with being weightless for long periods, and to carry out experimental microgravity research. The most advanced station to date is the ISS. China has recently begun to develop its space program, with plans for its own space station. Meanwhile space, which has traditionally been tackled by national and international projects, is having increased interest from the commercial sector. We are potentially at the brink of a change in direction in space travel, and may soon see an increase in the number of private individuals purchasing tickets for trips that are literally out of this world.


Space Station International Space Station Lunar Surface Space Shuttle Service Module 
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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven Grahn
  • Carol Norberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Swedish Institute of Space PhysicsKirunaSweden

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