|ORIGINS OF SPACE FLIGHT
Over many centuries, the idea of space travel has been taking shape with the humanity's improving understanding of the Universe. Before flying machines could attempt to escape the Earth's gravity, generations of astronomers had been bluilding a realistic stage for space exploration, while their tools served as the earliest space research instruments.
|EARLIEST EXPERIMENTAL SATELLITES
After millennia of dreams, centuries of scientific research and decades of engineering experimentation, the Space Age began in 1957 with the launch of the Earth's first artificial satellite.
The Soviet Union pioneered human conquest of space sending the first piloted spacecraft into orbit in 1961. Since then, several generations of transport ships and orbital stations were developed in the country. Much more ambitious projects of giant orbital settlements, lunar bases and expeditions to Mars were conceived, but could not be implemented due to their tremendous cost. Yet, along with the United States, Russia had remained one of two nations in the world sending people in space in the 20th century.
The Moon Race: The early Soyuz missions, L1, N-1/L3 programs (1967-1974)
Mars mission: Russian plans for a manned expedition to the Red Planet (1960s-1990s)
First space stations (Salyut series, 1969-1985)
LKS: Vladimir Chelomei's alternative to Buran (1974-1983)
Buran: The Energia-Buran reusable spacecraft program (1974-1993)
Mir space station: The first permanent manned outpost in space (1986-2001)
Kliper space plane: A study of a reusable orbiter to replace Soyuz (2000-2006)
TKS follow-on: Proposals for a follow-on series to the TKS spacecraft by Khrunichev enterprise (2005-2009)
American segment of ISS
European segment of ISS
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
Russia's next-generation crew vehicle, PTK Orel (formerly Federatsiya):
PTK Orel design:
PTK Orel development history:
Vision for Space Exploration, VSE: A NASA program for a manned lunar base, which could involve international partners, including Russia
Modules and major components:
Systems and operations:
As soon as rockets learned to fly beyond the atmosphere, the spacecraft developers on both sides of the Atlantic drafted the plans for planetary exploration. The Soviet space probes opened the race to the Moon, Venus and Mars. The projects of unmanned missions to Mercury and Jupiter were also under consideration in the former USSR.
Plans for the future:
Luna-Resurs (Origin of the project)
NEW, Oct. 19: Plans for robotic missions to the Moon in 2023
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE:
Plans for the future:
Plans for the future:
| MILITARY SATELLITES
A vast majority of satellites that the Soviet Union had launched from 1961 to 1991 carried out military missions. Publicly, however, the USSR denied the very existence of the military space program. Not surprisingly, numerous military space projects were not publically known until the last decade of the 20th century. As their US counterparts, the Russian satellites served as spies for the government, as space sentries looking for the incoming missiles, provided secret communications and weather forecasting and scanned surface of the oceans in search for potential targets for the Soviet cruise missiles.
COMMERCIAL AND APPLICATION SPACECRAFT
IN SPACE: Application and commercial satellites
Although most Soviet satellites had originated as defense-related systems, they eventually began contributing into civilian sectors of economy. Huge progress in satellite communications, weather forecasting and observations of the Earth's surface created a great demand for dedicated non-military satellites. While many application spacecraft still have a dual purpose, their transfer under jurisdiction of civilian agencies, along with their declassified and often commercial nature put such spacecraft into a distinct category.
The very first satellite launched by the USSR in 1957 helped to advance the understanding of the upper atmosphere. Since then, Russian spacecraft have been making significant contributions in the mankind's understanding of the Solar System and the broader Universe. The Earth-orbiting satellites studied cosmic radiation, distant objects and physical phenomena in deep space. They also helped to advance material science and space biology.
Lomonosov (a.k.a Mikhailo Lomonosov)