Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Microgravity: living on the International Space Station
Microgravity: living on the International Space Station

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3 Human exploration

Do you remember in Week 4 that you met the concept of scientific research where scientists rarely work alone in their own fields of research. Video 3 looks at the future of human space exploration, and demonstrates this. After watching the video, complete Activity 2.

Watch Video 3, which is about the future of human space exploration and then complete Activity 2.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 3
Video 3 The space shuttle, ISS, NASA and Mars.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

At the end of Video 3, the Commander of the last Space Shuttle mission in 2011 stated that ‘We’re not ending the journey today; we’re completing a chapter of a journey that will never end’ (Video 2).

Activity 2 The future of human space exploration

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

Choose the correct option to complete the following statements.

Active content not displayed. This content requires JavaScript to be enabled.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
Active content not displayed. This content requires JavaScript to be enabled.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
Active content not displayed. This content requires JavaScript to be enabled.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
Active content not displayed. This content requires JavaScript to be enabled.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
Active content not displayed. This content requires JavaScript to be enabled.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

As an example of private investment into low Earth-orbit rockets, first look at Figure 4 (this is Figure 8 from Week 1).

Described image
Figure 4 Space Shuttle launch profile.

Now look at Figure 5, which is the launch profile of the SpaceX Falcon 9. Having compared both figures, now complete Activity 3.

An image of the spacex falcon 9 launch profile.
Figure 5 SpaceX Falcon 9 launch profile.

Activity 3 Comparing launch profiles of the Space Shuttle and SpaceX Falcon 9

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

Choose the correct answer from the options given below for each of the following questions.

1. Which launch profile has the earlier main engine cut-off?

a. 

Space Shuttle


b. 

SpaceX Falcon 9


The correct answer is b.

2. In which launch profile does one of the fuel tanks break up on re-entry?

a. 

Space Shuttle


b. 

SpaceX Falcon 9


The correct answer is a.

3. In which launch profile does the booster land on a drone ship and not in the ocean?

a. 

Space Shuttle


b. 

SpaceX Falcon 9


The correct answer is b.

Active content not displayed. This content requires JavaScript to be enabled.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

You will now look at how research in microgravity environments is currently being conducted, and how this is expected to progress in the future.