This section will give you information on the lives of some of the most famous and important people who have been and are involved in the exploration of space.
The first people that we are going to learn about are the three US astronauts that were involved in the famous Moon landing of 1969.
Neil Armstrong is very famous the world over because he was the first person in history to set foot on a completely different world. He first set foot on the Moon on 20th of July 1969. Neil become an astronaut in 1962 and was a space craft commander for the Apollo 11 mission. Neil had the honour of getting out of the space craft first, and making the famous quote.
‘That’s one small step for men, one giant leap for mankind’
Buzz Aldrin is very famous for being the second person to set foot on the moons lunar surface, just after Neil Armstrong on the same Apollo 11 mission. The mission started on the 16th of July 1969 and ended on the 24th of July 1969 when the successful mission returned to Earth. The Apollo 11 mission astronauts that included Buzz spent about 20 hours walking on and discovering the moon’s surface. Buzz achieved all of this by becoming an astronaut in 1963.
Michael Collins is a very famous astronaut and was a member of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in July 1969. Like his famous colleague Buzz Aldrin, Michael became an astronaut on 1963, and six years later he made the journey with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon. Michael as part of the mission never set foot the moon as he was the pilot of the mission. He did however get to travel around the far side of the moon, which at the time nobody else had ever done before. Michael is one of the very few people that has travelled the furthest distance out into the universe from Earth. Albeit, not that very far!
The next person that we are going to learn about is a current astronaut who has been to space many times, and is a frequent visitor to the international space station.
Chris Hadfield is a famous astronaut from Canada. Chris became an astronaut in 1992 and has held the post of chief astronaut of the Canadian space agency. Chris is famous for spending time at the ISS (international space station) on missions for long periods of time, and also very famously used Twitter to communicate with the world, sending regular tweets when flying over famous landmarks in different countries in the world.
The final two people in this section on famous people involved in space exploration that we are going to talk about are two people that are not physicists or astronauts. These people are entrepreneurs who are looking at ways of funding space missions and even manned missions to Mars. Both of these are very smart men and have different visions of space exploration, and what space exploration should be in the future, and have created organisations to work on new ways of space travel.
Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson has been an entrepreneur since the age of 16 and is a billionaire. Richard’s Virgin group has over 200 different companies and more importantly one of them is called Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic is a space tourism company that is still in its test phase with a vision of providing space flights to space tourists. Richard and his team are working very hard in making space tourism accessible in the future; hopefully one day you or your children can experience space just like astronauts do now. Isn’t that very exciting!
Elon Musk is a South African entrepreneur and founder of space exploration Company SpaceX.
In 2012 SpaceX launched a rocket for the International Space Station. This was the first time an organisation outside of the national space agencies achieved such a feat. SpaceX now works closely with space agency NASA, and in the future it is believed that SpaceX space crafts will carry astronauts. SpaceX has also announced very ambitious plans in sending crewed flights to Mars by 2024, starting with a plan to send a rocket probe to the red planet by 2018. Could SpaceX be the winner of the space race? You never know. Very exciting times ahead.
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