What Is Space Travel? All You Need to Know


Space Travel is travelling from the Earth to outer space. Outer space is the environment surrounding the Earth, moon, and other planets.

For decades, humans have travelled into space to explore what lies beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. The path to the Moon, Mars, and beyond requires technologies to get us where we need to go quickly, safely and efficiently.

Space travel includes launch and in-space propulsion systems, cryogenic fluid management and thermal management, as well as navigation and landing systems to get our supplies, equipment, and robotic or human explorers to diverse surface destinations.

Let’s consider what space travelling is all about.

The History Of Space Travel

When exactly did we  first start exploring space?

The first human-made object to go into space was a German V2 missile, launched on a test flight in 1942. Although uncrewed, it reached an altitude of 189km (117 miles).

Former Nazi rocket scientists were later recruited by both America and Russia (often at gunpoint in the latter case). They were instrumental in developing Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), capable of carrying nuclear weapons from one side of the planet to the other.

It was these super-missiles that formed the basis for the space programs of both post-war superpowers. As it happened, Russia was the first to reach Earth orbit, when it launched the uncrewed Sputnik 1 in October 1957, followed a month later by Sputnik 2, carrying the dog Laika, the first live animal in space.

The USA sent its first uncrewed satellite, Explorer 1, into orbit soon after, in January 1958. A slew of robotic space flights followed, from both sides of the Atlantic, before Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin piloted Vostok 1 into orbit on 12 April 1961, to become the first human being in space. From there, the space race proper began, culminating in Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin becoming the first people to walk on the Moon as part of NASA’s Apollo program.

 Reasons Why Space Travel Matters

1. Advancing Scientific Knowledge

One of the most significant benefits of space exploration is the advancement of scientific knowledge. Space exploration has led to a better understanding of the universe and our place in it.

It has been found that there are other planets outside of our solar system, some of which may be able to support life. Also, we now know more about the beginnings of the universe, how stars and galaxies develop and how black holes behave.

2. Technological Developments

Space exploration has led to significant technological advancements. From developing advanced rockets to building spacecraft capable of surviving the harsh conditions of space, it has pushed the boundaries of technology. Many technologies developed for space exploration have found applications on Earth, such as GPS and water filtration systems.

One method for delivering cancer-fighting drugs directly to tumours, ultrasound equipment that a nurse can hold and transmit the results to doctors thousands of miles away, and a robotic arm that can perform delicate surgery inside an MRI machine are just a few of the medical advancements produced by the International Space Station alone.

3. It Is Important For Inspiring Future Generations

Space exploration has inspired generations to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Not only is this helpful for them since STEM employment may provide them with a stable future, but it also benefits mankind. Humanity will be able to solve the major obstacles it will face in the future with invention, research, and knowledge.

Seeing the accomplishments of astronauts and space scientists has motivated many young people to pursue their dreams and contribute to the advancement of science and technology.

4. Addressing Global Challenges

Space exploration has played a role in addressing global challenges, such as climate change, natural disasters and food security. Satellites in orbit provide essential data that helps scientists monitor the Earth’s climate, track the movement of natural disasters and gather information on crop yields and food production.

As of now, we only have one planet on which we can survive without using spacesuits. It would be excellent to preserve it until we can locate more liveable planets or terraform others. Exploring space is the only way to learn more about space risks and create techniques and technologies to help save humankind from such calamities.

5. Expanding our understanding of life

We have been able to comprehend the beginnings and development of life in the cosmos thanks to space travel. It might be possible to find proof of extant or recent life forms by exploring distant planets and moons.

These discoveries could provide valuable insights into the development of life on Earth and the potential for life elsewhere in the universe. By solving the problems of human space travel, we advance technology, develop new businesses, and contribute to the peaceful coexistence of countries.

6. It is Important For Our Health

The International Space Station alone has generated scores of medical innovations with uses on Earth, such as a method for delivering cancer-fighting medication directly to tumours; gadgetry that a nurse can hold to perform ultrasounds and transmit the results to a doctor thousands of miles away; and a robotic arm that can perform delicate surgery inside an MRI machine.

NASA scientists, to protect astronauts from losing bone and muscle in the microgravity environment of space, also helped a pharmaceutical company test Prolia, a drug that today helps protect elderly people from osteoporosis.

Although mice and humans don’t have identical physiology or biology, it made sense to test this drug on mice in space, since astronauts lose around 1.5 percent of their bone mineral density each month in microgravity, which correlates to the 1.5 percent yearly bone density loss of an elderly woman on Earth to osteoporosis

7. It Is Important For Maintaining National Security

One application of these is in the United States. The U.S. needs to detect and prevent a hostile nation or terrorist group from deploying space-based weapons or attacking its navigational, communications, and surveillance satellites. And while it and other major powers such as Russia and China are signatories of a 1967 treaty that forbids nations from claiming territory in space, it’s not hard to think of examples of past treaties that were tossed aside when someone saw a benefit in doing so.

Even if the U.S. privatises much of space exploration, it still wants to ensure that companies can mine the moon or asteroids without worrying that interlopers will usurp their claims or steal their production. That’s why it’s crucial to back up diplomacy with a NASA space-faring capacity that could be converted to military use if needed. In 2019, a law passed by Congress with bipartisan support created the U.S. Space Force, a new branch of the U.S. armed forces devoted to protecting U.S. interests in space.

8. Raw Materials Are Needed From Space

There’s gold out there in the cosmos, as well as silver, platinum, and other valuable substances. A lot of attention has been given to a private-sector venture that envisions mining operations on asteroids.

The moon, for example, is a potentially lucrative source of helium-3, which is used for certain MRIs and is a possible fuel for nuclear power plants. The moon is also believed to be a potential source of rare earth elements such as europium and tantalum, which are in high demand for use in electronics, solar panels, and other advanced gadgetry.

What Technology Is Used In Space?

Several kinds of space exploration technologies are used to explore space.

  1. fly-bys
  2. orbiters
  3.  landers
  4. rovers
  5. telescopes

These technologies can be used to observe, collect data, and take images far beyond Earth.

Types of Spacecraft

Robotic spacecraft are specially designed and constructed systems that can function in specific hostile environments.

Their complexity and capabilities vary greatly and their purposes are diverse. There are eight broad classes of robotic spacecraft, according to the missions the spacecraft is intended to perform:

  1. Flyby spacecraft
  2. Orbiter spacecraft
  3. Atmospheric spacecraft
  4. Lander spacecraft
  5. Penetrator spacecraft
  6. Rover spacecraft
  7. Observatory spacecraft
  8. Communications & Navigation

Risks Of Space Travel

There are, of course, two sides to every story, and space travel certainly does not come without risk. I have already alluded to one major risk – human health. Our bodies have a difficult time adjusting to microgravity environments, and astronauts’ limited use of bones and muscles while in space can damage these vital tissues. Humans travelling in space are also at great risk for barotrauma, decompression sickness (also known as ‘the bends’), and immune system issues.

The atmosphere on Earth provides a large amount of protection from cosmic radiation, but without an atmosphere surrounding us, we are much more susceptible to this danger. This is one reason that space travel by humans to places like Mars would be very dangerous to our health. Astronauts travelling this far would be at a much greater risk for dangerous radiation exposure, which can lead to various diseases like cancer.


Space exploration is crucial for increasing our understanding of life in the cosmos, developing science, advancing technology, inspiring future generations, and tackling global concerns. Even while space travel may be expensive, the rewards are infinite and the potential for discoveries is limitless.



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