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Ride 'em, Cowboy!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Highest flyers: Earth orbiting astronauts Pete Conrad and Richard F. Gordon Jr. flew Gemini 11 to a record altitude of 739 miles in 1966. They photographed stars and galaxies and took two spacewalks.
Highest shuttle: Astronauts Loren Shriver, Charles Bolden, Steven Hawley, Bruce McCandless and Kathryn Sullivan flew 380 miles high in shuttle Discovery to drop off the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990.
Farthest from Earth: The 27 Apollo astronauts who left Earth and flew to the Moon between 1968-72 have been farther away than anyone else from Earth.
First to maneuver a ship in space: Gus Grissom and John W. Young piloted Gemini 3 around space, changing from the original launch trajectory, during three orbits of Earth in March 1965.
First space rendezvous: Andrian Nikolayev in Falcon (Vostok 3) and Pavel Popovich in Golden Eagle (Vostok 4) made the first team flight, approaching within three miles of each other during their first orbit in August 1962. Their closeness was due to launch trajectory as they were unable to maneuver in space.
First maneuvering rendezvous: In December 1965, Frank Borman and James Lovell flew to orbit in Gemini 7 followed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford in Gemini 6, the first manned craft to chase and find another in orbit and rendezvous with it. Stafford and Schirra brought their capsule within a foot of Gemini 7, but did not dock.
First space docking: Neil Armstrong and David Scott piloted Gemini 8 to dock with an orbiting Agena rocket in March 1966.
First USSR docking: In January 1969, Vladimir Shatalov flew Soyuz 4 and Boris Volynov, Alexei Yeliseyev and Yevgeny Khrunov flew Soyuz 5 to meet and dock in space.
First to fly a space shuttle: The prototype shuttle Enterprise never went to space. It had no engines. The 130-ton ship only flew bolted to the back of a Boeing 747 jet. The airplane would drop Enterprise for glide tests. Astronauts Fred Haise and Charles Fullerton were at the controls for the first flight in August 1977. Five tests were made over two years. Haise and Fullerton piloted one, three and five. Joe Engle and Richard Truly piloted two and four, then flew shuttle Columbia on the second actual spaceflight.
First shuttle put out to pasture: Enterprise was used to get launch pads ready for real shuttles. Then the vehicle was flown city to city, piggyback on its 747 jumbo jet, as a NASA publicity stunt. Enterprise, a big hit with the public, was stripped and displayed at Kennedy Space Center, then flown to Washington, D.C., for the Smithsonian Institution to build a museum around it. The museum never was built and, today, Enterprise sits among weeds in the outback of Dulles Airport, paint peeling, out of sight, out of mind.
First shuttle spaceflight: John Young and Robert Crippen flew Columbia for 55 hours in space April 12, 1981.
First to land a spaceplane on a runway: Fifty five hours after Columbia was launched April 12, 1981, John Young and Robert Crippen landed it at Edwards Air Force Base, California, the first manned spacecraft to touchdown like an airplane.
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