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Man on The Moon Project

  • First Jet Propulsion Laboratory Rocket Launch

    On this day, Frank Malina, a aerodynamics student, Jack Parsons, a self taught chemist, and Ed Formans, a mechanic, went to the Arroyo Seco at the bottom of the San Gabriel Mountains. They tried to fire a small rocket 4 times, accidentally setting fire to the oxygen line on the 4th try. It started whipping around, shooting fire. This was basically the marking point of the invention of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from the scientists of CALTECH.
  • First JPL Successful Rocket Launch

    On this day, Frank Malina, Jack Parsons, and Ed Forman tried to , once again, fire a small rocket. But instead of a failure, this experiment was a success.
  • The Official JPL

    CALTECH professor and aerodynamicist Theodore von Karman encouraged these 3 men to continue their work, and he moved them to the CALTECH campus. But soon their work became too noisy and dangerous for the other classes on campus. So, the 3 men moved to a new facility in 1940. This would officially get the name Jet Propulsion Laboratory on November 20, 1943.
  • The Space Race Begins

    On this day, the Soviets launched Sputnik. Sputnik was the 1st space satellite, starting the space race between the US and the Soviet Union.
  • The First US Satellite

    JPL eventually hooked on with the US army, because the army wanted help making rockets and missiles for WWII. In 1957, JPL and the US Army's Ballistic Missile Agency put together a 4 stage rocket. JPL shaped the Explorer 1 satellite, which would be the nose of the rocket. The Explorer 1 launched on January 31, 1958. This was the US's first satellite.
  • The Founding of NASA

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was founded on July 29, 1958.
  • First NASA Launch

    The first launch from NASA was the Pioneer 1, which launched on October 11, 1958.
  • JPL joins NASA

    The director of JPL, William Pickering, convinced President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the army to make JPL a part of NASA. And in December 1958, the army formally transferred the JPL to NASA, though the JPL stayed under CALTECH control.
  • Pioneer 3

    The first US satellite to go 63,580 miles in altitude was named Pioneer 3. It was launched on December 6, 1958.

    The Air Force Atlas put a communications relay satellite, the PROJECT SCORE, into orbit on December 18, 1958. This satellite would relay Eisenhower's Christmas message. This message was the 1st voice sent from space.
  • Vanguard 2

    Vanguard 2 was the 2nd successful Vanguard launch to orbit and the 1st cloud cover satellite. This satellite was made to measure how much sunlight the clouds reflected. This was launched on February 17, 1959.
  • Pioneer 4

    The Pioneer 4 was sent to the moon, making the 1st successful US lunar flyby on March 3, 1959.
  • The Mercury Seven

    The 1st group of astronauts were announced as the Mercury 7 on April 9, 1959. They were also known as the Original 7. The Original 7 were M. Scott Carpenter, Walter M. Schirra Jr., Alan B. Shepard Jr., L. Gordon Cooper Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, Donald K. Slayton, and John H. Glenn Jr. All 7 were were active-duty military test pilots or graduates of Air Force/Navy test pilot school and had atleast 1,500 flying time hours. The first astronaut training was divided into 6 major sections.
  • 1st Unpowered Glide Flight in Joint X-15 Hypersonic Research Program

    Research pilot Scott Crossfield from North American Aviation, Inc. made the 1st unpowered glide flight in joint X-15 Hypersonic Research Program on June 8, 1959.
  • TIROS 1

    The US launched the 1st successful meteorological satellite, the TIROS 1, on April 1, 1960.
  • Transit 1B

    The first experimental orbital navigational system was launched by the United States and was called Transit 1B. Transit 1B was launched on April 13, 1960.
  • Scout Launch Vehicle

    The first launch of the Scout Launch Vehicle took place on July 1, 1960. The Scout Launch Vehicle Program has been a very reliable rocket program for NASA and one of the most successful in the country.
  • Mercury-Redstone 1 Failure

    NASA attempted to launch the Mercury-Redstone 1 on November 21, 1960. But after only going up about 4 inches, the engines cut off, and the vehicle landed back on the launchpad.
  • Success! The Mercury-Redstone 1A

    A few weeks after the failure of Mercury-Redstone 1, using the same machine, NASA successfully launched Mercury-Redstone 1 on December 19,1960. The goal of this mission was to enable the systems for suborbital processes.
  • First Man in Space

    On this day, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the 1st man to go into space. He was on the Vostok spacecraft.
  • Freedom 7

    The Freedom 7 was the 1st piloted American spacecraft. It was piloted by Alan Shepard, and was launched on May 5, 1961.
  • Let's Get Astronauts for Apollo!

    President Kennedy announced that NASA would start the Apollo program on May 25, 1961. Soon after this day, NASA started getting their astronauts and training them. This time, the agency went to get test pilots again, but they also opened to civilians and NASA employees too. 9 astronauts were selected in September 1962 and were known as Group 2. Group 2 had 2 civilians, 4 men from the Air Force, and 3 from the Navy.
  • 2nd Piloted Flight of Mercury Spacecraft (Liberty Bell 7)

    The 2nd piloted flight of a Mercury spacecraft was piloted by Virgil I. Grissom on July 21, 1961. This spacecraft was the Liberty Bell 7. The flight hit complications on the way down though, causing the landing capsule to sink and Grissom almost dying.
  • The Ranger 1 Failure

    NASA launched Ranger 1 on August 23, 1961. But it was unsuccessful in achieving its planned orbit.
  • First Successful Saturn 1 Rocket Test

    The 1st successful test of the Saturn 1 rocket took place on October 27, 1961.
  • Titan ICBM Launching

    The US Air Force launched a Titan ICBM from Cape Canaveral on November 21, 1961. The Titan ICBM family, including the Titan 2 ICBM program was developed by the military to be used to improve the US weapon storage.
  • First American to Circle the Earth

    John Glenn made history on February 20, 1962 aboard the FRIENDSHIP 7, as the 1st American to circle the Earth.
  • Telstar 1

    The Telstar 1 was the 1st privately built satellite. It was launched on July 10, 1962.
  • 6 Orbits!

    Walter Schirra flew a shocking 6 orbits in the Sigma 7 on October 3, 1962.
  • First Successful Planet Flyby

    On December 14, 1962, the unmanned Manner 2 vehicle flew past a planet for the first time. It flew past Venus.
  • Project Mercury Capstone

    The capstone of Project Mercury was piloted by L. Gordon Cooper on May 15-16, 1963.
  • Altitude Record Set!

    The experimental aircraft X-15 set the altitude record of 354,200 ft (67 miles) on August 22,1963.
  • Group 3

    NASA started recruiting for Group 3 in 1963. 14 new astronauts were announced on October 17, 1963, making the total Astronaut Office headcount 30. Group 3 had 2 civilians and 8 people with advanced degrees. Group 3 candidates had to have atleast 1,000 hours of high performance jet flying time to be allowed to be considered for the job.
  • 19 Tons Sent Into Orbit

    NASA's biggest launch vehicle, Saturn SA-5 sent a record of 19 tons into orbit during a test flight on January 29, 1964.
  • 1st Gemini Flight

    The 1st Gemini flight of the many Gemini missions occurred on April 8, 1964.
  • First Apollo Command Module Orbit

    The 1st Apollo Command Module was put into orbit on May 28, 1964. There were many missions and parts to the Apollo program, including the Apollo 11 mission, which sent man to the moon!
  • 4,300 PICTURES?!

    NASA's Ranger 7 sent 4,300 close-up pictures of the moon on July 28, 1964.
  • First Flight in Lunar Landing Research Vehicle

    NASA pilot Joseph Walker directed the 1st flight in the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle on October 30, 1964. The Lunar Landing Research Vehicle acted as a simulation of the Apollo missions landing on the moon.
  • Mariner 3 Failure

    Mariner 3 was supposed to launch on November 5, 1964 and go to Mars. The launch vehicle didn't release the space craft, though, and the Mariner 3 never got to Mars.
  • Mariner 4

    The Mariner 4 launched on November 28, 1964. The Mariner 4 was the first space craft to fly by Mars, and to take pictures of it. The Mariner 4 stayed in space for 8 months.
  • First Operational Gemini Mission

    Astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young flew the 1st operational mission of Project Gemini. This project was called Gemini III, and was commanded by Gus Grissom. The mission occurred on March 23, 1965.
  • First Commercial Satellite

    NASA launched the 1st commercial satellite for communication, the Intelsat 1, on April 6, 1965. It was sent into geostationary orbit.
  • Second Piloted Gemini Mission

    The 2nd piloted Gemini mission, Gemini IV took place June 3-7, 1965. On this mission, Edward H. White II became the first American to spacewalk.
  • Scientists for Astronauts? Group 4

    Starting in 1964, the National Academy Of Science (NAS) and other outside agencies started trying to get NASA to consider scientists as astronauts for the Apollo missions and Earth orbital missions. The NAS screened and evaluated applications, while NASA made the final selection, which was announced on June 3, 1965. The candidates who weren't qualified to use the T-38 had to take USAF undergraduate pilot training for a year to qualify in the T-38, which was NASA's main aircraft.
  • Orbital Flight Day Record

    While on the Gemini 5 flight, Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad set the record with an 8 day orbital flight from August 21 to August 29, 1965.
  • Gemini 6 Failure

    Gemini 6A was supposed to launch on December 12, 1965, but the launch was called off one second after engine ignition because an electrical umbilical separated too early. This was the first time an astronaut mission was cancelled after they started the rockets up.
  • First Meeting in Space

    While on the Gemini 6 mission, Wally Schirra and Thomas P. Stafford made the first meeting in space by flying only a few feet away from the Gemini 7. This happened December 15-16, 1965.
  • Duration Record

    Another record was set in a Gemini mission in 1965! This time, while on the Gemini 7 mission, Frank Borman and James A. Lovell set a duration record of 14 days in Earth's orbit from December 4 to December 18, 1965. This record lasts for 5 years.
  • First Orbital Docking

    Neil Armstrong and David Scott completed the 1st orbital docking during Gemini 7 on March 16, 1966.
  • Gemini 8 Failure

    Gemini 8 was flown by Neil Armstrong and David Scott. The mission was to attach itself to the Agena spacecraft. Everything went well, and they attached to the Agena, but then the thrusters on Gemini 8 started going crazy, causing Gemini 8 to crazily spin out of control. The 2 astronauts then had to make an emergency landing in China, but that didn't work. Thankfully, the 2 astronauts landed in the ocean and got picked up by a Navy destroyer. Gemini 8 was launched on March 16, 1966.
  • Group 5

    NASA announced the 5th group of astronauts on April 4, 1966. This group included 11 holders of advanced degrees.
  • Surveyor 1

    Surveyor 1 was the first spacecraft launched in the Surveyor program and marked the 1st time a US spacecraft had made a soft landing on the moon. Surveyor 1 was launched on May 30, 1966, and landed on the moon on June 2, 1966.
  • Lunar Orbiter Launching

    The Lunar Orbiter was made to map out good places for Apollo landing sites on the moon. This project was conducted for a year from August 10, 1966 to August 1, 1967. This project was also unmanned.
  • Last Gemini Flight

    The last and 10th Gemini flight, Gemini 12, was launched on November 11, 1966. The purpose was to try many docking procedures, do tethered stationkeeping exercises, do automatic reentry, and do 3 EVA operations. Jim Lovell and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin flew the Gemini 12.
  • First Deaths Directly Connected to US Space Program

    While performing a simulation on the Apollo Saturn 204, a flash fire broke out, killing Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Robert Chaffe on January 27, 1967.
  • Group 6

    Group 6 was announced on August 11, 1967. In spring 1968, the candidates started going to flight school. 2 men dropped out here, and the other 9 future astronauts went back to Houston in the summer of 1969.
  • X-15 Reaches 4,534 mph!

    The X-15 experimental rocket plane set a speed record for piloted vehicles at a speed of 4,534 mph on October 3, 1967.
  • First Piloted Flights of Apollo 7 and Saturn IB Launch Vehicle

    The 1st piloted flights of the Apollo 7 and Saturn IB launch vehicle occurred October 11-12, 1968. Wally Schirra, Donn F. Eisele, and Walter Cunningham took part in these flights.
  • Apollo 8

    The Apollo 8 took off with Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr., and William A. Anders on December 21, 1968. This mission was very historic, for these 3 astronauts were going to orbit the moon. The Apollo 8 arrived at the moon on Christmas Eve of 1968, and the project ended on December 27, 1968.
  • Mariner 6

    The Mariner 6 was an unmanned mission, that was used to explore Mars. It studied the surface and atmosphere of the red planet. The Mariner 6 was launched on February 25, 1969. About a month later, the Mariner 7 also studied Mars.
  • Apollo 9

    James McDivitt, David Scott, and Russell Schweickart orbited the Earth from March 3 to March 13, 1969 in the Apollo 9. The main point of the Apollo 9 was to test out the first crewed lunar module. The astronauts checked out the module's launch vehicle and spacecraft's systems, the crew, and the procedures.
  • The Last Dress Rehearsal

    On the Apollo 10, Eugene Cernan, John Young, and Tom Stafford ran the last dress rehearsal for the moon landing. This dress rehearsal took place from May 18 to May 26, 1969.
  • Apollo 11 Lift-Off

    Apollo 11, the 1st lunar landing mission, was launched on July 16, 1969. The mission was commanded by Neil Armstrong. The other crew members were Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins.
  • Cronkite News Broadcast

    The Cronkite News Broadcast was hosted by Walter Cronkite. This program lasted many years, and one of the programs this broadcast was well known for was on the Apollo 11. There was live footage of the launching of Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon. This broadcast started on July 16, 1969. Walter Cronkite was on for the next 27 hours, then he later covered Armstrong stepping on the moon.
    Part 1 of Broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpgIaWbA-vs
  • Man Has Landed On The Moon!!!

    Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the moon at 4:18 pm EST on July 20, 1969. They stayed on the moon's surface for over 21 hours, before returning to the Columbia and to Michael Collins. The next day, the astronauts began their long trip home. They all splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969.
  • Armstrong's Famous Words

    Armstrong stepped on the moon on July 20, 1969. As he was taking his first step, he quoted ,"This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."