Part 2 Space Organizations: U.S. Military, Foreign, and Private - U.s. Military Space Programs, Space Agencies Around The World, Russia, Europe
united union including soviet
Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all Nations.
—United Nations Treaty of 1967
Although the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) is the best-known space organization in the world, it is not the only one. The U.S. military and many foreign governments also have active space programs. In fact, the U.S. military program existed even before NASA was formed. Most modern military space ventures center
around ballistic missiles and data-gathering satellites. These are unmanned projects. The United States officially holds the policy that it will not develop space weapons, only defensive systems. Some critics complain that the line between the two is growing vague. Increasingly the U.S. military is being criticized for developing spacecraft that could be considered weapons. For example, the Near
Field Infrared Experiment is a satellite originally designed with a system capable of destroying other satellites in space. This capability was eventually dropped from the design.
Chief among the foreign governments with space programs is the Russian space program operated by an agency called Rosaviakosmos. The Russian agency continues the program begun by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics decades ago. For about half of the twentieth century the Soviet Union engaged in a bitter Cold War rivalry
for space supremacy with the United States. The Soviets achieved many milestones in space ahead of the United States, including the first manned spaceflight in 1961.
In 1991 the Soviet Union splintered into individual nations (including Russia) that were friendlier with the United States. Civilian space agencies in the United States and Russia struggled to carry on ambitious space programs as their funding was cut. They began working together on many space ventures. Eventually space
pro-grams sprang up in Europe, China, Japan, and other countries. This presented opportunities for new alliances in space.
In the past private organizations contributed to space exploration indirectly by promoting space programs and gathering together individuals interested in rocket science, physics, astronomy, space travel, or space commerce. In 2004 the private sector opened a new era in space exploration when the first privately funded manned
vehicle traveled into space and back. Private space ventures are expected to grow quickly during the twenty-first century.
The United States must win and maintain the capability to control space in order to assure the progress and preeminence of the free nations. —Air Force Chief of Staff General Thomas White, 1959 The U.S. military had space aspirations long before spaceflight was possible. The three main branches of the military, the Army, Air
Force, and Navy, began space programs following World War II. They…
NASA and Rosaviakosmos (the Russian Space Agency) operate the two most active space programs in FIGURE 3.4 Orbiter safety zone "Figure A. Orbiter Safety Zone," in Columbia Accident Investigation Board: Report Volume I, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, August 2003,
http://www.nasa.gov/columbia/caib/PDFS/VOL1/PART01.PDF (accessed January 31, 2006)the world. Rosaviakosmos…
The Russian Space Agency is called Rosaviakosmos (RKA). It was officially created on February 25, 1992, by decree of the President of the Russian Federation. The RKA inherited the technologies, programs, and facilities of the Soviet Union space program. Sergei Korolev (1906–66) is considered the founder of the Soviet Union
space program. Korolev was born in Zhitomir, a town in what is now t…
The European Space Agency (ESA) was formed in 1973 from two existing organizations, the European Space Research Organisation and the European Launcher Development Organisation. The ESA includes seventeen member states: In addition, the ESA has agreements with Canada, Czech Republic, and Hungary to participate as members in
some projects. Although the ESA is independent of the European Union (EU), …
China's space program is overseen by the China National Space Administration and operated by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). The CASC is a state-run enterprise that develops and produces rockets, spacecraft, and related products. It has conducted satellite launches since 1970. CASC launch sites
include Jiuquan in the Gobi desert, Taiyuan in northern China, and…
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was created on October 1, 2003, by merging the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA), and the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL). JAXA is headquartered in Tokyo and has more than a dozen field
facilities across Japan. The first Japanese satellite, Osumi, was launched into s…
Private space organizations have played a major role in advancing space exploration. As far back as the 1920s groups of scientists, hobbyists, and other enthusiasts were gathering together to share their passion for rocket science and space travel. Many of the early groups were absorbed by government and military space
organizations or evolved into aerospace manufacturing businesses. Private group…
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