ASSOCIATES (2007, March, v. 13, no. 3) - associates.ucr.edu
Michael D. Brooks
Saint Joseph’s University
Francis A. Drexel Library
The news has been full of stories lately of the unfortunate experiences of an astronaut “gone bad.” Fortunately, this case is an isolated one. And since Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic trip as the first person to fly into space on April 4, 1961, nearly 500 individuals have flown into space since and even more have qualified to fly into space.
There are a lot of sites on the Web which provide information about space travel, but Space Facts <http://www.spacefacts.de/> is exactly what it says it is: space facts. There are no in-depth articles about a particular aspect of space travel or exploration, but if you’re looking for quick and dirty information about astronauts, cosmonauts, and taikonauts (astronauts from the People’s Republic of China), spacewalks, or just some get-to-the-point information about the International Space Station, Space Facts satisfies that need.
(For the sake of consistency in this review, I will refer to everyone as astronauts.)
Some of the links provide information containing biographical data about astronaut candidates, individuals picked for astronaut training who never made it for various reasons, to EVA (Extravehicular Activities). These are tasks that are performed outside of the spacecraft from spacewalking to performing the latest repairs and updates on the ISS (International Space Station).
The homepage is pretty straightforward. Some of the links included on this page are: Astronauts <http://www.spacefacts.de/english/bio_ast.htm>, Cosmonauts <http://www.spacefacts.de/english/bio_cosm.htm>, Taikonauts <http://www.spacefacts.de/english/bio_taikonauts.htm>. These three links provide biographical information on the American, Soviet/Russian, and Chinese space programs respectively. The International link <http://www.spacefacts.de/english/bio_inte.htm> is a collection of people from around the world who have flown into space with one of the big three.
If you are looking for in-depth, encyclopedic articles and reviews, then you will want to visit other sites for that information. The Links to More Space Websites page provides just that kind of information. Did you know that there are twenty-six space agencies around the world? Just click Links <http://www.spacefacts.de/english/links.htm> on the homepage and then scroll down the list to the heading “Other Space Agencies.”
If you don’t see what you’re looking for, click the Search link <http://www.spacefacts.de/english/e_search.htm> on the homepage and type in your search term. You will most likely find just what you’re looking for and more.
And now that space travel is no longer limited to governments with the introduction of commercial space travel efforts, there is also some information included about space tourists and such commercial ventures as SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo, a suborbital space plane, which the space tourist company Virgin Galactic is helping to pioneer. The FAA already recognizes commercial sub-orbital spaceflight as a legitimate spaceflight industry. The agency awarded the first commercial astronaut wings to Michael Melvill, the pilot of SpaceShipOne, and the Russian Space Agency already finances its space activities by ferrying paying customers into space.
And that’s a space fact.
First Serial Rights Only.
©2007 by Michael D. Brooks