Important dates in space exploration

  • Philadelphia committee led by Benjamin Franklin attempts to regulate waste disposal and water pollution.

  • Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden

  • The term ecology is coined in German as Oekologie by Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel

  • The term acid rain is coined by Robert Angus Smith in the book Air and Rain

  • The term smog is coined by Henry Antoine Des Voeux in a London meeting to express concern over air pollution

  • US Congress created the National Park Service

  • The world's first artificial satellite

    The world's first artificial satellite
    The Sputnik 1 satellite was launched by the USSR on 4 October 1957. It was the first man-made object to leave the Earth's atmosphere.
  • First creatures to return alive from space

    First creatures to return alive from space
    Two monkeys, Able and Baker, became the first living creatures to survive a space flight. Able, a female rhesus monkey, and Baker, a female squirrel monkey, were launched into space by the US on a Jupiter missile.
  • The first man in space

    The first man in space
    The USSR sent Yuri Gagarin into space from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in a Vostok spacecraft. He made a single orbit of Earth in 108 minutes, traveling at more than 17,000 miles per hour.
  • Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring

  • The first woman in space

    The first woman in space
    Valentina Tereshkova, a former textile worker, became the first woman to be launched into space by the Soviet Union. She circled the Earth 49 times during three days in space and was reportedly injured during the landing
  • First-ever spacewalk

    First-ever spacewalk
    Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov carried out the first-ever spacewalk from the two-man Voskhod spacecraft. Leonov's suit expanded minutes after stepping into space due to the zero-pressure conditions. When he tried to get back into his spaceship, he could not fit through the hatch and had to release a valve to partially depressurize his suit and squeeze back inside.
  • The Apollo 8 picture of Earthrise

  • First man on the Moon

    First man on the Moon
    American Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon. Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent two hours on the lunar surface setting up observation equipment and collecting rock samples. As Armstrong put his left foot down, he famously declared: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
  • Earth Day – April 22., millions of people gather in the United States for the first Earth Day organized by Gaylord Nelson, former senator of Wisconsin, and Denis Hayes, Harvard graduate student. US Environmental Protection Agency established

  • The first space station is launched

    The first space station is launched
    Russia launched Salyut, the first space station. The first crew to dock with the orbiting outpost later die during re-entry when the air leaks out of their Soyuz capsule.
  • 'Free-flying' in space

    'Free-flying' in space
    Bruce McCandless became the first person to do a spacewalk without being attached to the spacecraft. He tested a manned maneuvering unit, which allowed him to travel away from the orbiter, during a 90-minute spacewalk.
  • Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer entered into force

  • The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in Kyoto, Japan in December. Countries that ratify this protocol commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases

  • Assembly of ISS begins

    Assembly of ISS begins
    Assembly of the ISS began with the launch of its first module, Zarya, on a Proton rocket from Baikonur. The ISS is the largest artificial body in space. The station has been continuously occupied since November 2000. In that time, more than 200 people from 15 countries have visited.
  • U.S. rejects the Kyoto Protocol

  • First space tourist

     First space tourist
    Dennis Tito, a billionaire businessman from California, became the first paying passenger to go to outer space. Mr. Tito set off from Kazakhstan for an eight-day holiday aboard the International Space Station and paid $20m (£14m) for his trip.