Space Exploration timeline

  • Soviet Union Launches Sputnik 1 Satellite

    Sputnik 1 was the world's first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite. It was launched into a low altitude elliptical orbit by the Soviet Union on 4... Read more

  • Luna 2 Becomes First Spacecraft to Reach Moon

    After an aborted launch on 9 September, the Ye-1A probe successfully lifted off and reached escape velocity three days later. Officially named the... Read more

  • NASA's Apollo Program

    The Apollo Program was a human spaceflight program undertaken by NASA during the years 1961–1975 with the goal of conducting manned moon landing... Read more

  • First Human in Space

    Vostok 1 (Russian: Восток-1, East 1 or Orient 1) was the first spaceflight in the Vostok program and the first human spaceflight in history. The... Read more

  • President Kennedy First Announces Goal of Landing a Man on the Moon

    President Kennedy was also eager for the United States to lead the way in exploring space. The Soviet Union was ahead of the United States in its... Read more

  • First American to Orbit Earth

    On February 20, 1962, John H. Glenn, Jr., became the first American to orbit Earth. An Atlas launch vehicle propelled a Mercury spacecraft into... Read more

  • John F. Kennedy Delivers "Moon" Speech at Rice University

    We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Read more

  • Apollo 2 Mission

    Apollo 2 is the informal name of the launch of AS-203. The main purpose of the AS-203 flight was to investigate the effects of weightlessness on... Read more

  • Apollo 3 Mission

    AS-202 (or SA-202) was a sub-orbital test flight of the Saturn IB and Command and Service Module. It is sometimes informally called Apollo... Read more

  • Apollo 1 Catches Fire, Three Astronauts Die

    Apollo 1 is the official name that was later given to the never-flown Apollo/Saturn 204 (AS-204) mission. Its command module (CM-012) was destroyed... Read more

  • Apollo 4 Mission

    Apollo 4 was the first flight of the Saturn V launch vehicle, carrying no crew. It was also the first flight of the S-IC and S-II stages of the... Read more

  • Apollo 5 Mission

    Apollo 5 was the first unmanned flight of the Apollo Lunar Module, which would later carry astronauts to the lunar surface. It lifted off on... Read more

  • Apollo 6 Mission

    Apollo 6, launched on April 4, 1968, was the Apollo program's second and last unmanned test flight of its Saturn V launch vehicle. While the... Read more

  • Apollo 7 Mission

    Apollo 7 (October 11-22, 1968) was the first manned mission in the Apollo program to be launched. It was an eleven-day Earth-orbital mission, the... Read more

  • Apollo 11 Mission

    The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. It was the fifth human spaceflight of Project Apollo and the third human... Read more

  • Man Walks on Moon

    The Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" was the first crewed vehicle to land on the Moon. It carried two astronauts, Commander Neil A. Armstrong... Read more

  • Apollo 12 Mission

    Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me. Read more

  • Apollo 13 Mission

    Apollo 13 was the third manned mission by NASA intended to land on the moon, but a mid-mission technical malfunction forced the lunar landing to be... Read more

  • Apollo 14 Mission

    Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission in the Apollo program and the third mission to land on the Moon. The nine-day mission was launched on... Read more

  • Apollo 15

    Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the Apollo program and the fourth mission to land on the Moon. It was the first of what were termed "J... Read more

  • NASA Launches Mars Probe Viking 1

    Viking 1 was the first of two spacecraft sent to Mars as part of NASA's Viking program. It was the first spacecraft to successfully land on Mars... Read more

  • NASA Launches Voyager 2

    The Voyager 2 spacecraft is an unmanned interplanetary space probe launched on August 20, 1977. Both the Voyager 2 and the Voyager 1 space probes... Read more

  • Sigmund Jähn Becomes the First German Cosmonaut

    Several hundred suitably experienced Air Force pilots were personally interviewed by Lt-General Wolfgang Reinhold, the serving Vice Minister of... Read more

  • First Orbital Space Shuttle Flight

    The first launch of the Space Shuttle occurred on 12 April 1981, exactly 20 years after the first manned space flight, when the orbiter Columbia,... Read more

  • Sally Ride Becomes First American Woman in Space

    Ride was one of 8,000 people to answer an advertisement in a newspaper seeking applicants for the space program. As a result, Ride joined NASA in... Read more