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The Space Race, Space Missions & Technologies – Part 2

So, you must have read Part 1 of The Space Race, Space Missions & Technologies – Part 1. If not, check it out here at 

The Space Race – Part 1

Picture of the first moon landing above 



You would have learned about what led to the Space Race, and a bit world history to boot! Here in part 2, you we will continue with what happened after man landed on the moon. 

After the US landed on the moon, the space race was won by the US over the Soviet Union, however in time these two great nations of space technology would eventually come together with other nations is a world wide project in the form of the International Space Station, or more commonly known as the – ISS. 


Picture of the International Space Station’s logo Above 






The International Space Station (ISS) 

The International Space Station is a multi-nation construction project that is the largest single structure humans ever put into space. Its main construction was completed between 1998 and 2011, although the station continually evolves to include new missions and experiments. It has been continuously occupied since Nov. 2, 2000. As of January 2018, 230 individuals from 18 countries have visited the International Space Station. Top participating countries include the United States (145 people) and Russia (46 people). Astronaut research time on the space station is allocated to space agencies according to how much money or resources (such as modules or robotics) that they contribute.  The ISS includes contributions from 14 nations:

  • Belgium. 
  • Canada.
  • Denmark.
  • France.
  • Italy.
  • Japan.
  •  Norway.
  •  Russia. 
  •  Spain. 
  •  Sweden. 
  •  Switzerland. 
  •  The Netherlands. 
  •  United Kingdom. 
  •  United States.

Picture is the ISS with the Flags of all the contributing countries above 




There are 5 main partners who contribute most of the funding. They are:

  •  NASA. 
  •  Roscomos. 
  •  The European Space Agency. 
  •  The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency 
  •  The Canadian Space Agency. 


Finding the Space Station (ISS) in the Sky

The space station flies at an average altitude of 248 miles (400 kilometres) above Earth. It circles the globe every 90 minutes at a speed of about 17,500 mph (28,000 km/h). In one day, the station travels about the distance it would take to go from Earth to the moon and back.  The space station can rival the brilliant planet Venus in brightness and appears as a bright moving light across the night sky. It can be seen from Earth without the use of a telescope by night sky observers who know when and where to look. You can use this NASA app to find out when and where to spot the International Space Station’s location.

Picture of the International Space Station above 




Crew of the ISS 

The ISS generally holds crews of between three and six people (the full six-person size was possible after 2009, when the station facilities could support it). But crew sizes have varied over the years. After the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003 that grounded flights for several years, crews were as small as two people due to the reduced capacity to launch people into space on the smaller Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The space station has also housed as many as 13 people several times, but only for a few days during crew changeovers or space shuttle visits. The space shuttle fleet retired in 2011, leaving Soyuz as the only current method to bring people to the ISS. Three astronauts fly to the space station in Soyuz spacecraft and spend about six months there at a time. Sometimes, mission lengths vary a little due to spacecraft scheduling or special events (such as the one-year crew that stayed on the station between 2015 and 2016.) If the crew needs to evacuate the station, they can return to Earth aboard two Russian Soyuz vehicles docked to the ISS.

Picture of a crew member on the International Space Stattion 



Type of Space Missions 

There are four common types of space missions:

• Human missions:

A human mission is when humans are deployed onto a land mass to study it carefully and closely. These missions carry the greatest risk to human life. An example of a human mission is the first moon landing. This is the latest human mission to land on another celestial body. To date, only 12 people have set foot on the moon.

• Flyby:

A flyby mission is when a craft passes a celestial body and takes pictures on its way to the destination. The crafts launched are commonly known as probes. An example of a flyby is voyager 1 launched by NASA in 1977. In August 2012, it became the first human-made object to leave our solar system and enter interstellar space. In July 2015, the NASA new horizons probe collected new data about the size of Pluto on a flyby mission.

• Orbiter:

A mission where a craft will circle around a celestial body to take detailed information and measurements of the body. It gets its name “Obiter” because it orbits around celestial bodies. By collecting information about the atmosphere, temperature, surface terrain and potential landing spots, orbiters help inform future landing mission on these bodies. 

• Robotic lander:

A robotic lander mission is when a spacecraft is deployed onto a plant or moon to collect measurements and information. NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover, a wheeled robot, landed on Mars in August 2012. This rover is studying the climate and geology of the red planet to see if there was, or is, evidence of underground water, which would suggest that the planet may contain microscopic life.



Space Related Technological Advances 

Space technology is technology developed by space science or the aerospace industry for use in spaceflight, satellites, or space exploration. Space technology includes spacecraft, satellites, space stations, and support infrastructure, equipment, and procedures and space warfare. Space is such a novel environment that attempting to work in it requires new tools and techniques. Many common everyday services such as weather forecasting, remote sensing, GPS systems, satellite television, and some long-distance communications systems critically rely on space infrastructure. Of the sciences, astronomy and Earth science benefit from space technology. New technologies originating with or accelerated by space-related endeavours are often subsequently exploited in other economic activities.



Timeline of Major Space Technologies 

1. October 4th, 1957: The first human-made object to orbit Earth.

2. January 31st, 1958: First American satellite.

3. January 2nd, 1959: The first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the moon.

4. September 12th, 1959: The first spacecraft to reach the surface of the moon.

5. August 27th, 1962: First spacecraft to visit another planet, Venus.

6. July 20th, 1969: First moon landing.

7. September 8th, 1976: Lunar lander. First spacecraft to conduct a soil analysis of any world. Returned more than 20,000 photos.

Picture of first Lunar Orbit in 1957. Picture hovering over the moon with the Earth in the background




The Cultural Impact of Space Exploration

The Space Age is causing new applications to the concept of culture, a human coping tool. The exploration and exploitation of outer space resources are altering human culture both on Earth and in orbit. For the first time in history, our species need not merely react and adapt to environment, but plan for a space culture appropriate for extra-terrestrial migration. During the past 50 years, humankind has been extending its presence successfully into outer space either through automation or in person. Landing a “Man on the Moon” through the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 broke our perceptual blinders: in short, we are no longer “earthbound” as our ancestors believed for millennia. It has also changed our outlook on space and that space travel is possible. It has influenced directors to make movies such as, Interstellar, Jupiter ascending, 2001: A space odyssey, the Martian, Star trek and Men in Black. It has also influenced video games (journey to the savage plant, oxygen not included) and tv shows (altered carbon, Andromeda).   

Iconic picture of a black hole from the movie Interstellar 


The people and agencies involved in space exploration and further technologies are in one word simply ‘Amazing’



Kids Fun Facts Corner

# 1. The International Space Station orbits the Earth every 90 minutes.  

# 2. The International Space Station is a contribution of 14 different countries in the world. 

# 3. Space technologies have contributed to a number of consumer technologies in the world such as GPS satellite.  

# 4. The first man to walk on the moon was Neil Armstrong in 1969. 

# 5. Space travel and exploration is the reason for Science Fiction.


Q&A Corner

Q. Which nation won the space race?

Q. What does ISS stand for?

Q. Name 5 countries that contribute to the ISS?

Q. Name 2 different types of space missions?

Q. Who was the first moon to walk on the moon and in what year?



Download questions about Space Exploration & ISS here: Space Exploration & ISS (answers are on this page)

Teachers. For more in depth work sheets on Space Exploration & ISS. Click on Kidskonnect Worksheets

This article was written by Sam O Neill @



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