Space Exploration Timeline by Cindy P.

By kwsmyre
  • Sputnik 1

    Sputnik 1,a man-made spacecraft, was launched into space by the U.S.S.R. to orbit the Earth until January 4, 1958.
  • Sputnik 2

    Sputnik 2 is luanched into space carrying a dog named Laika for 7 days by the U.S.S.R. until April 13, 1957.
  • Explorer 1

    Explorer 1 discovered the Earth's radiation belt and was also the first U.S. satellite to orbit.
  • Explorer 2

    Explorer 2 fails to orbit.
  • Vanguard 1

    A satellite is launched into orbit for 3 years.
  • Sputnik 3

    Is being launched by the U.S.S.R.
  • N.A.S.A.

    N.A.S.A. is founded.
  • Pioneer 1

    A space probe is launched to a height of 70,700 miles.
  • Luna 1

    The first man-made satellite made to orbit the moon by the U.S.S.R.
  • Pioneer 4

    A space probe was launched and achiveved an Earth-Moon trajectory, passing within 37,000 miles of the Moon. Falling into a solar orbit, Pioneer 4 became the first sun orbiter.
  • Luna 2

    Launched to impact on the Moon on September 13, 1959 carrying a copy of the Soviet coat of arms and also becoming the first man-made object to hit the Moon.
  • Luna 3

    A satellite launched to orbit the Moon and photographing about 70% of the far side of the Moon.
  • Tiros 1

    The first successful weather satellite created by the U.S. is launched into space.
  • Discoverer XIV

    The first camera-equipped Corona satellite by the U.S. is launched into space for spying.
  • Vostok 1

    Launched into space by the U.S.S.R. carrying Yuri Gargain, the first man in space and orbits the Earth olny once.
  • Mercury Freedom 7

    Carrying Alan Jr. the first U.S. astronaut into space in a subordital flight.
  • Vostok 2

    Launched by the U.S.S.R. and carrying Cosmonaut Titov, the first day-long space flight.
  • Mercury Friendship 7

    Is launched carrying John H. Glenn, Jr., the first American in orbit. Orbiting three times around Earth.
  • Mercury Aurora 7

    Launched carrying M. Scott Carpenter, making three orbits around the Earth.
  • Telstar 1

    The U.S. satellite that beams the first transatlantic telecast.
  • Mariner 2

    First succesful planetary spacecraft. Flying past Venus and enters a solar orbit.
  • Vostok 6

    Carrise Soviet Cosmonaut valenti T., the first women in space and orbits Earth 48 times.
  • U.S. Ranger 7

    Relays the first close-range photographs of the Moon.
  • Gemini 3

    The first flight of the Gemini Program Carrying Virgil Grissom and Jhon Young and made three orbits around the Earth.
  • Ranger 9

    Transmit high-quality images of the Moon.
  • Edward White ll

    Person who makes the first U.S. space walkfrom Gemini 4.
  • Mariner 4

    U.S. sapcecraft to return the first close-range images about Mars.
  • Soviet Venus 3

    Launched becoming the first craft to impact Venus an March 1, 1966.
  • Gemini 7

    Launch carrying Frank Borman and James A. Lovell Jr. making 206 orbits of WEarth and proving a trip to the Moon passible.
  • Soviot Luna 9

    First spacecraft to be able to soft-land on the Moon.
  • Soviet Venera 3

    First spacecraft to reach another planet but it fails to return data.
  • Soviot Luna 10

    The first spacecraft to orbit the Moon.
  • Surveyor 1

    The first U.S. spacecraft to soft-land on teh Moon.
  • U.S. Lunar Orbiter 1

    Being able to enter Moon orbit and take the first picture of the Earth from the distance of the Moon.
  • Soviet Soyuz 1

    Carrying Vladimir M. Komarov and on April 24 it crashed, killing Komarov, being the first spaceflight fatality.
  • Venera 4

    Sending a decent capsule into the Venusian atmosphere and returning data about its composition.
  • Soviet Zond 5

    The first spacecraft to orbit the Moon and return to Earth.
  • Apollo 7

    The first manned Apollo mission with Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donn F. Eisele, and Walter Cunnungham and orbits the Earth once.
  • Apollo 8

    Launched with Frank Borman, James A. Schirra, Jr. and William A. Anders being the first Apollo to use Saturn V rovket, and also the first manneed spacecraft to orbit the Moon 10 times on its 6-day mission.
  • Soyuz 4 & 5

    The first Soviet spaceship docking, transferring Cosmmonauts between vehicles.
  • Apollo 11

    Launched carrying Niel Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. and making the first manned soft landing on teh Moon, the first Moonwalk. First person to lay foot on the Moon was Neil Armstrong.
  • Mariner 6

    Returning high-resolution images of the Martian surface, concentrating mainly on the equatorial region.
  • Mariner 7

    Returning high-resolution images of the Martian surface, concentrating mostly on the southern hemisphere.
  • Apollo 7

    Launched but suffered from an exlposion in its SM oxygen tanks and its landing on the Moon is aborted, and the crew members ,James A. Lovell, Jr., Jonh L. Swigert, Jr. and Fred W. Hasie returned safely.
  • Soviet Luna 16

    Launched and conucting the first successful return of lunar soil samples by an automatic spacecraft.
  • Luna 17

    Lands on the moon with the first automatic robot, Lunokhod 1 that was riven by a five-man team on Earth, traveled over the surface on the Moon for 11 days.
  • Soviet Venera 7

    The first probe to soft-land on Venus.
  • Apollo 14

    Launched by the U.S. with Alan Sheperd, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell on board. They landed in the planned Apollo 13 site, the Fra Mauro highlands, which they explore with the help of a two-wheeled cart that permits the transport of a significantly greater quantity of lunar material than previous missions. Shepard becomes the first man to hit a golf ball on the moon.
  • Mariner 9

    The U.S. launches Mariner 9, which becomes the first spacecraft to survey Mars from orbit.
  • Soyux 11

    Carried Cosmonauts G.T. Dobrovolsky, V.N. Volkov, and V.I. Patsayev to Salyut 1, the first manned occupancy of an orbital station. However, on June 29, the Cosmonauts died upon Soyuz 11's reentry.
  • American Mariner 9

    The first spacecraft to orbit another planet, Mars. Over the next year, it maps 100 percent of the Martian surface.
  • Pioneer 10

    Launched on an Atlas/Centaur/TE364-4 towards Jupiter by the U.S., designed to familiarize alien life with humans. It returns the first close-up images of Jupiter in 1973.
  • Pioneer 10

    Becomes the first man-made object to travel through the asteroid belt.
  • Pioneer 11

    Launched on an Atlas/Centaur/TE364-4, flying past Jupiter in 1974, and Saturn in 1979, where it discovers new rings.
  • American Mariner 10

    Launched, on the first dual-planet mission. Over the next year, it returned photographs of Venus and Mercury.
  • Soviet Salyut 3

    First military space station, is launched. It remains in orbit until January 1975.
  • Soviet Salyut 4

    A civilian space station, is launched. It remains in orbit until February 2, 1977.
  • Soviet Venera 9 and 10

    Sends the first pictures of the Venusian surface to Earth.
  • Salyut 5

    A Soviet military space station is launched, remaining in orbit until August 8, 1977.
  • Viking 2

    Lands on Mars on the Plain of Utopia, where it discovered water frost.
  • Soviet Salyut 6

    Launched carrying crews members from Czechoslovakia, Poland, GDR, Bulgaria, Hungary, Vietnam, Cuba, Mongolia, and Romania.
  • Pioneer 11

    Reachesing Saturn, flying to within 13,000 miles and taking the first close-up photographs.
  • Venera 13

    Lands on Venus, and provides the first Venusian soil analysis.
  • Soviet Venera 15

    Returns the first high-resolution images of the Venus polar area, and compiled a thermal map of most of the northern hemisphere.
  • Soyuz-T 12

    Carries Svetlana Savitskaya, who becomes the first woman to walk in space.
  • Discovery

    Lifts off on it's maiden voyage (STS-41D). Crew: Henry W. Hartsfield, Michael L. Coats, Richard Mullane, Steven Hawley, Judith A. Resnik, and Charles D. Walker.
  • Challenger mission STS-41G

    Carries the first crew with two women aboard - Sally Ride and Katherine Sullivan. Sullivan becomes the first American woman to walk in space.
  • Sakigake probe

    Launched by Japan's Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science, becoming the first interplanetary probe as it rendezvous with Halley's Comet.
  • Challenger

    The space shuttle explodes shortly after liftoff of mission STS-51L.

    A Supernova 1987A blazes into view.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis

    Launched (STS-30), deploying the spacecraft Magellan.
  • Soviet/International Phobos 2

    Is launched, which orbits Mars to study its surface, atmosphere and magnetic field.
  • Galileo spacecraft

    U.S. launches the Galileo spacecraft from Shuttle Atlantis flight STS-34, which took infrared images of Venus, and images of the asteroid Ida, before continuing to Jupiter.
  • U.S. Pegasus rocket

    Deployed from a B-52 bomber, and launched the Pegsat satellite in the first demonstration of the Pegasus launch vehicle.
  • Hubble Space Telescope

    Space Shuttle Discovery launches on STS-31, deploying the Edwin P. Hubble Space Telescope (HST) astronomical observatory.
  • Salyut 7

    Falls from orsbit and burns up over Argentina.
  • Shuttle Columbia

    Carries the Spacelab SLS-1 into orbit, to conduct investigations into the effects of weightlessness on humans.
  • Ulysses

    Flies around Jupiter, on its way to the sun.
  • Mars Observer

    Lifts off, the first American probe to Mars in 17 years, since Viking 2. This probe is intended as an orbital mapper to study the red planet's atmosphere, surface, and geological make-up. The spacecraft functions well during its cruise to Mars, then all contact was lost on August 21, 1993, three days before orbital insertion.
  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Launches on STS-61, making the first on-orbit service of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).
  • Clementine

    U.S. launches a new DOD satellite that performs a lunar mapping mission using advanced ballistic missile defense technologies. It suffers a malfunction on May 10, 1994, ending its mission.
  • Spacecraft Ulysses

    Reacheing a maximum Southern latitude of 80.2 degrees at the sun, proceeding towards the Northern latitudes, maintaining an orbital period of six years.
  • Asteroid

    Asteroid XM1 passes within 65,000 miles of Earth.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis

    Lifts off on STS-76, performing the third docking with Space Station Mir. Astronaut Shannon Lucid was left on Mir, becoming the first female Astronaut to crew a Space Station.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis in Space

    Touches down after mission STS-79. It brings back Shannon Lucid, who becomes the longest US astronaut in space, and the longest female astronaut in space.
  • Space Shuttle Discovery

    Lifting off on the second maintenance mission for the Hubble Space Telescope, installing a new spectrograph, infrared camera, new guidance sensors, a new computer and data recorder, and repairing the telescope's insulation.
  • Pioneer 10

    After 25 years of operation, routine telemetry and ground control with Pioneer 10 is terminated. The probe at that moment is 6.7 billion miles from Earth, traveling at 28,000 miles per hour. In two million years, it will reach the red giant Aldeberan in the constellation of Taurus.
  • NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous)

    The probe passes the asteroid Mathilde on its way to meeting up with 433 Eros.
  • Space Shuttle Columbia

    Lifting off again to complete the flight aborted in April. The shuttle is outfitted with Spacelab, set up as a microgravity science laboratory, with 33 different experiments, that fills the cargo bay.
  • Mars Pathfinder

    Becomes the first probe to successfully land on Mars since Viking 2 in 1976. It is also the first planetary probe to include a separate roving robot probe (Sojourner) since the Soviet Union's Luna 21 in 1973.
  • Crista-Spas 2 satellite

    Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off for a 12-day mission to deploy and retrieve the Crista-Spas 2 satellite, which studied the Earth's middle atmosphere. This flight also tested various infra-red and ultraviolet instrumentation, and tested the Japanese robot-arm to be used for the International Space Station.
  • Mars Global Surveyor

    Arrives at Mars and begins the process of adjusting its highly elliptical orbit into a circular one using aerobraking - friction with the top of the Martian atmosphere to slow the craft down. Taking about 2,000 images of the planet, this probe shows the entire life of a dust storm, evidence of Martian streams, ponds, oceans, and underground water drainage systems.
  • Mars Global Surveyor

    Arrives at Mars and begins the process of adjusting its highly elliptical orbit into a circular one using aerobraking - friction with the top of the Martian atmosphere to slow the craft down. Taking about 2,000 images of the planet, this probe shows the entire life of a dust storm, evidence of Martian streams, ponds, oceans, and underground water drainage systems.
  • Cassini/Huygens

    Double probe ,Cassini/Huygens, aimed at Saturn, Costing more than $2.5 billion and involving 17 nations and hundreds of scientists from the U.S. and Europe. It carries a sophisticated camera package and 11 other instruments to performing 19 experiments on the ringed planet. It will arrive at Saturn in 2004,orbitting Saturn up to 60 times sending back close-up photographs of Saturn's rings and its 18 moons.Huygens will be dropped through Titan, Saturn's largest moon, atmosphere.
  • Space Shuttle Columbia

    Lifting off with three American astronauts, one Japanese, and the first Ukrainian astronaut, Leonid Kadenyuk. This mission, mostly dedicated to science and the testing of new space technologies, releases one free-flying satellite.
  • Lunar Prospector

    The first NASA mission to the Moon in 25 years, and the first dedicated to lunar research since Apollo 17 in 1972. The spacecraft is placed in lunar orbit to make a careful spectroscopic analysis of the entire lunar surface, including its North and South poles, and soon confirms what the Department of Defense Clementine mission had found in 1994 - that trapped within some of the craters at the Moon's two poles is about 6.6 trillion tons of permanently frozen water ice.
  • Satellites Globalstar 1, 2, 3, and 4

    The first in Globalstar's planned 44-satellite constellation of medium-Earth-orbit (~900 miles altitude) communications satellites for providing voice and data links worldwide from both remote and home telephones. This system is planned as a direct competitor to Iridium's cluster, which began launching in May of 1997.
  • Nozomi

    Japan launches the probe to Mars, the first planetarty mission by a country other than the U.S. or the Soviet Union/Russia. Uses a combination of lunar gravity, Earth gravity, and roclet burns, Nozomi is scheduled to reach Mars in December 2003.
  • Space Technology EXperiment (STEX)

    Launched by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, the satellite tests 29 new spacecraft designs, including an almost four-mile-long tether, advanced solar panels, and an ion engine test.
  • Deep Space 1

    NASA launches Deep Space 1, a technology test spacecraft which evaluates a dozen advanced spacecraft engineering designs, from mirror-enhanced solar panels to the first use of an ion engine to leave Earth orbit and rendezvous with the asteroid Braille.
  • Space Shuttle Discovery

    Lifts off with John Glenn aboard, first American to orbit Earth and at 77, the oldest man to fly in space. The flight is the last purely scientific shuttle flight, focusing on astronomy, life sciences, and materials. One satellite is deployed, one is released and retrieved. Most subsequent shuttle flights are ferry and construction flights for the International Space Station.
  • Mars Climate

    Is launched by NASA, with the objective of studying Martian weather. The probe is lost as it approaches Mars on September 23, 1999, due to an error in propulsion software, using English instead of metric units. The probe passes too close to Mars and burns up in the atmosphere.
  • NEAR

    The space probe flies to within 2400 miles of the asteroid 433 Eros, taking 222 photographs of nearly two-thirds of its surface. A software problem prevents the spacecraft from going into orbit around the asteroid, but a second engine burn on January 3, 1999 brings the spacecraft back to Eros in February of 2000.
  • Mars Polar Lander

    Lifts off on its ill-fated mission to Mars. This NASA probe is to land within about 600 miles of the Martian South Pole, along with dropping two surface-penetrating darts. Contact with the probe is lost on December 3, 1999 as it is descending through the Martian atmosphere and it is never heard from again, the first failure of a U.S. planetary soft landing in 30 years.
  • Space Shuttle Columbia

    Lifts off, carrying the Chandra X-Ray Observatory into orbit.
  • Deep Space 1

    Flies to within 16 miles of the asteroid Braille and continues on its course to rendezvous with Comet Wilson-Harrington in January 2001.
  • Shenzhou

    China launches Shenzhou, the first unmanned test of their manned capsule.
  • Galileo Space Probe

    Safelt completes its encounter with Jupiter's ice moon, Europa, at an at an altitude of 343 km. Later in the year, on May 30, Galileo flies by Jupiter's largest moon Ganymede at an altitude of 808 km.
  • Shenshou

    The first launch of the "true" millenium is Chinese, with the second test flight of the manned Shenshou spaceship, reported to be carrying a monkey, a dog, and a rabbit.
  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Lifts off to carry out the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, cosponsored by NASA and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency. A large radar antenna in the payload bay and a smaller element deployed on a 60-meter boom work together in the synthetic-aperture mode to produce the effect of a much larger antenna. The mission produces a three-dimensional map of about 80% of the world's landmass.
  • NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous)

    The probe settles into orbit around the asteroid 433 Eros, producing a series of stunning close-up images. Ground controllers start tightening its orbit for an eventual soft impact with the tumbling, potato-shaped asteroid.
  • Soyuz TM30

    Lifts off on a return mission to Mir, reversing Russia's actions of the previous year to shut the space station down. The idea is to re-open the space station for commercial operations, including a Mir version of the Survivor TV show. The cosmonauts remain until mid-June, and two Progress freighters are flown up (one in April, one in October) before financial support disappears and the venture falls through.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis

    Lifts off for the International Space Station for maintenance on the crane and a faulty antenna, installation of a Russian boom arm, handrails and upgrades to the ventilation system, and delivery of new batteries, supplies and equipment.
  • Zvezda

    Zvezda service module for the International Space Station (ISS) is launched from Russia on a Proton rocket. The automated docking of this unit with the first linked pair of modules already in orbit - Zarya and Unity - allows the U.S. to start a series of space shuttle launches to add American-built components, which will be followed by laboratory modules from Europe and Japan. Zvezda will act as the control center and living quarters for the initial space station crews.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis

    Lifts off on a 12-day mission to outfit the ISS, completing the installation of the Zvezda module.
  • Space Shuttle Discovery

    Lifts off on a 14-day mission to install the Z1 segment, the first piece of the space station truss, and a third docking port (PMA-3) for the Unity adapter. They also test the new 'SAFER' spacesuit backpack propulsion units.
  • Expedition One Crew

    The crew is launched on a Soyuz transport to become the first crew of the ISS.
  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Lifts off on a 12 day mission to the ISS. They install the first set of ISS's solar panels and radiators for removing heat.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis

    Lifts off for the ISS, carrying the U.S.'s Destiny laboratory module. In three space walks the astronauts install Destiny, a grappler for the station's robotic arm, and radio antennae.
  • NEAR

    NEAR Soft impacts on the asteroid 433 Eros, at 2 m/s. Signals continue to be received from the probe hours after the landing, confirming its survival.
  • Space Shuttle Discovery

    Launched on a 14-day ISS construction mission. In two spacewalks the astronauts install new equipment including the Leonardo logistics module, built by the Italian Space Agency to move racks of experimental equipment to the ISS, docking to the station as the equipment is used & transferred, then carrying equipment back in the shuttle after use.
  • Mars Odyssey Probe

    Launched on a trajectory for Mars orbit to be achieved in October, with a mission similar to that of the Mars Climate Orbiter launched December 1998. Mars Odyssey successfully enters Mars orbit on October 24th.
  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Lifts off for the ISS on a construction mission. The crew will install the mobile robotic arm on the station (Canadarm 2) and supply the Destiny laboratory module with new experiments, using the Rafaello logistics module.
  • Soyuz

    Soyuz spacecraft TM-32 lifts off for the ISS with the first space tourist, business executive Dennis Tito, who pays the Russians $20 million for the ride.
  • NASA's Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP)

    Launched on a trajectory for a gravity boost past the moon to a position 1.5 million km outside Earth's orbit. From that position it is to measure cosmic background radiation from the dark extragalactic sky.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis

    Lifts off in the pre-dawn darkness for the ISS with the Joint Airlock which will enable space walks to be performed directly from the space station itself.
  • Deep Space 1

    Successfully completes its flyby of comet 19P/Borrelly.
  • Galileo

    Completes another flyby of Jupiter's moon Io, passing only 181 km from Io's south polar region.
  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Launched carrying the Raffaello logistics module back to the ISS with new supplies.