» Space Agencies «
There are a growing number of countries that are setting up space agencies. Information on them can be readily obtained on the internet. Among the most important are:
» ESA - The European Space Agency «
The European Space Agency has contributed enormously to the work of space research. Among some of its most important missions were:
The European State Agency has 22 Member States. The national bodies responsible for space in these countries sit on ESA’s governing Council: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Canada also sits on the Council and takes part in some projects under a Cooperation Agreement. Other EU states also have Cooperation Agreements with ESA, such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Lithuania and Malta. Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia are participating in the Plan for European Cooperating States (PECS). The map on the right above gives a good idea about how far reaching the European Space Agency is in 2015.
The European Space Agency has a number of centres. One of them at Noordwyk in the Netherlands close to the coast. Apart from its role as a scientific experimental center it holds many conferences throughout the year. It is these pleasant surroundings that scientists from all over the world meet to discuss the progress of their work. The photograph on the left show the main entrance to the ESTEC Building. The photograph on the right shows the mission control centre in Darmstadt Germany.
» NASA - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration «
NASA is one of the oldest and best known organisations of space research in the world and must be credited with its pioneering work in space research. Although it is administered by the USA, NASA extends its embrace to astronauts and scientists from all over the world. This is exemplified by the crew of a space shuttle launched in 2006 the space shuttle mission STS-116 Discovery. NASA has contributed enormously to the work of space research. Among some of its most important missions were:
» Space Shuttles «
For many years the American Space Shuttles took off for the space station. We must salute the work of the many brave people who risked their lives in joining the crew of the space shuttle on its journey to the International Space Station. Tribute must be paid to the two unsucceful space shuttles which were destroyed with the loss of the lives of their crews.
On 28 January 1986 Challenger broke up 73 seconds after take-of.
On 1 February 2003, Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere.
The illustration above shows pictures of the crew of the space shuttle Discovery which returned home on 22 December 2006.
The European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Reiter from Germany was brought back from the space, while Sunita Williams took his place. She is an American citizen of Indian descent and has been widely written about in the Indian press - both in English and in Gujarati her native language. The BBC World Service reported on 20 December that she had taken a token statue of Sri Ganeshi and a picture of her Jack Russell terrier with her into the space station. The Shuttle returned on the morning of 22 December 2006 to its base in Florida.
» The Russian Federal Space Agency «
The Russians are still very active in space research despite the limited funds made available. Many of the European Space Agency satellites and space research vessels are launched from the Baikonur Rocket site in Kazakstan. Since 1993 Russia has rented Baikonur from Kazakstan. Baikonur has been used for all Soviet and CIS manned launches and for most lunar, planetary and geostationary orbit launches. This historic cosmodrome, built on the barren steppes of Kazakhstan, is still one of the largest space launch facilities even after nearly 50 years. It has also be largely used by the European Space Agency. It should be remembered that the Russians were successful iin being the first to put a man in space. They were also very successful in actually landing vessels on the surface of Venus which lasted just long enough to take pictures on the surface before being destroyed by the fierce heat and pressure.
» CNSA - The Chinese National Space Administration «
The Chinese have a very active space progrmma and since 2013 have launched 10 people into space. The Chinese have plans for setting up a colony on the moon and sending a manned mission to Mars.
» Observatories «
» Museums «
There are many excellent Museums which not only have wonderful displays but carry out extensive scientific research an deliver lectures to the public.
» Scientific Organisations «
» Some Useful Websites «
» LITERATURE «
» WEBCASTS «
A number of societies and organisations produce webcasts which may be viewed like normal television programmes at the time at which a lecture is given and weeks or even years after the lecture. Some of the most important are:
» Gresham College «
Gresham College was founded by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1597 and is an independently funded educational institution based in Barnard's Inn, Holborn, in the centre of London. It has a comprehensive programme of free public lectures throughout the year on a wide series of topics including astronomy, mathematics and biology. Some lectures are held at Barnard's Inn Hall and others at the Museum of London. A Picture of Barnard's Inn Hall and the Court outside the hall are shown on the left. Many of the meetings are webcasted and can be viewed on line at the time of the meeting or afterwards.
» Large Hadron Collider «
One of the most spectacular experiments of the century is the investigation of what the universe is made of and how it came into existence. Two beams of protons in opposite directions are accelerated close to the speed of light in a 27 kilometer tunnel beneath the ground under the Swiss French frontier. The collisions create a whole host of other particles – for example the Higgs Boson which are detected in four immense detectors. In the Spring of 2015 the velocity and energy of the proton beams were increased to search for particles that may exist in theory. Soon results may find new wonders of physics.
Somewhere there are mountains
Glistening in the snow
Somewhere there are mountains
That we shall never know
Somewhere there are rivers
Flowing fast and free
Somewhere there are rivers
That we can never see
Somewhere there are oceans
And sun drenched island sands
Forests full of creatures
In vastly distant lands
Somewhere there’s a planet
Beneath an alien star
The people watch our tiny sun
And wonder where we are
One day perhaps we’ll find them
Across the void of space
Perhaps through ways as yet unknown
We’ll meet them face to face
The author of this web site Ray Goodwin holds B.Sc. Degrees from London University in Chemistry, Geology and Physiology and an M.Sc. in Biochemistry. He has spent most of his professional life teaching in Colleges of Technology. On his retirement he has entered the fields of astronomy, astrochemistry, astrobiology and space sciences. He has spent a great deal of his retirement in visiting amateur astronomy societies and in attending European Space Agency Symposia in ESTEC in the Netherlands and other scientific conferences in England and Sweden. He regularly attends the yearly European Astrofest in South Kensington London and other meetings in the UK. He has written scientific articles and given a number of lectures on diverse scientific subjects.
Readers of this web site are invited to e-mail the author ( firstname.lastname@example.org) and discuss their opinions of the topics dealt with and suggest any changes which they think may be helpful.