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History and Future of Space Exploration

  • Sputnik 1

    Sputnik 1
    The Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into space.
  • Explorer 1

    Explorer 1
    The first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, went into orbit in space.
  • Begining of NASA

    Begining of NASA
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration began operation.
  • Pioneer I

    Pioneer I
    First NASA launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • X-1E

    NASA research pilot John McKay made the last flight in the X-1E.
  • Able and Baker

    Able and Baker
    The United States launched two monkeys on a Jupiter missile and recovered them after a flight.
  • TIROS 1

    TIROS 1
    The United States launched the first successful meteorological satellite, for monitoring Earth’s weather.
  • First Human to Orbit Earth

    First Human to Orbit Earth
    Russian Lt. Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth in Vostok 1. His flight lasted 108 minutes, and he reached an altitude of 202 miles.
  • First American to Orbit Earth

    First American to Orbit Earth
    John Glenn’s flight to space made him the first American to orbit Earth.
  • First Man on the Moon

    First Man on the Moon
    Astronaut Neil Armstrong took “a giant step for mankind” when he stepped onto the moon then six Apollo missions were made to explore the moon between 1969 and 1972.
  • Pioneer 10

    Pioneer 10
    Pioneer 10 was launched to Jupiter from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
  • Apollo 17

    Apollo 17
    Apollo 17 was the last of the six Apollo missions to the Moon, and the only one to include a scientist.
  • Voyager 1 and 2

    Voyager 1 and 2
    Voyager 2 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Eventually, between Voyager 1 and 2 they explored all the giant outer planets, 48 of their moons, and the unique system of rings and magnetic fields that those planets possess.
  • Columbia Space Shuttle

    Columbia Space Shuttle
    The launch of the space shuttle Columbia marked a period of reliability on the reusable shuttle for civilian and military space missions.
  • First Woman in Space

    First Woman in Space
    Sally K. Ride road on the STS-7 mission and became the first American woman to fly in space.
  • First African American Astronaut

    First African American Astronaut
    Guion S. Bluford became the first African American astronaut.
  • Ulf Merbold

    Ulf Merbold
    Space Shuttle Columbia carried the first non-U.S. astronaut, Ulf Merbold of West Germany, into space.
  • Shuttle Chalenger

    Shuttle Chalenger
    Twenty-four successful shuttle launches filled many scientific and military requirements until the day when the shuttle Challenger exploded, killing seven it's seven passengers.
  • Magellan Mission

    Magellan Mission
    The Magellan mission to Venus launched on STS-30 and mapped 99 percent of the surface at high resolution.
  • Life on Mars

    Life on Mars
    NASA announced that a team of its scientists had uncovered evidence that microscopic life may have once existed on Mars.
  • Mars Pathfinder

    Mars Pathfinder
    The Mars Pathfinder rover landed on Mars. It was launched on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • First Woman to Command a Shuttle Mission

    First Woman to Command a Shuttle Mission
    The Space Shuttle Columbia’s 26th flight was led by Air Force Col. Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a Shuttle mission.
  • Terra

    Terra is part of an international program to monitor climate and environmental change on Earth over the next 15 years.
  • Shuttle Columbia

    Shuttle Columbia
    The Space Shuttle Columbia broke up in the atmosphere 15 minutes before its scheduled landing.
  • First Spacecraft to Orbit Saturn

    First Spacecraft to Orbit Saturn
    The Cassini Huygens spacecraft became the first spacecraft to go into orbit around Saturn.
  • Shuttle Discovery

    Shuttle Discovery
    The Space Shuttle Discovery launched successfully into orbit, marking NASA’s first return to human spacetravel after the Columbia tragedy.
  • Expedition 41

    Expedition 41
    Soyuz 40 will take Barry Wilmore, Yelena Serova and Alexander Samoukutyaev from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
  • Progress 57

    Progress 57
    Description: Launching on a Russian Soyuz from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Progress 57 will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station.
  • Expedition 42

    Expedition 42
    Soyuz 41 will take Terry Virts and Samantha Cristoforetti to the International Space Station.
  • SpaceX 6

    SpaceX 6
    Launching on a Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX 6 will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station.