Space Race

  • USSR launches Sputnik 1.

    USSR launches Sputnik 1
  • Period: to

    Space race

  • USSR launches sputnik 2

    USSR launches Sputnik 2 which carried a small dog named Laika into orbit.
  • Explorer 1

    Explorer 1, the first American satellite to reach orbit, is launched. It carried scientific equipment that lead to the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belt.
  • Explorer 2

    Explorer 2 is launced but it fails to reach orbit.
  • The Vanguard 1 satellite

    The Vanguard 1 satellite is launched. It continues to function for 3 years.
  • Sputnik 3 is launched.

    Sputnik 3 is launched.
  • NASA is formed

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is formed, it replaces the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA).
  • Pioneer 1 is launched

    Pioneer 1 is launched to a height of 70,700 miles.
  • USSR launch Luna 1

    Luna 1 is launched by the USSR. It is the first man made object to orbit the Sun.
  • Pioneer 4 is launched

    Pioneer 4 is launched on a Earth-Moon trajectory. It passed within 37,000 miles of the Moon before falling into a solar orbit.
  • Mercury Seven

    The "Mercury Seven" astronauts are selected by NASA.
  • Luna 2

    Luna 2 is launched. It impacts the Moon on September 13, becoming the first man-made object to do so.
  • Luna 3 orbits the moon

    Luna 3 orbits the Moon and photographs 70% of its surface.
  • Tiros 1

    Tiros 1, the first successful weather satellite, is launched.
  • Discoverer XIV is launched

    The US launches Discoverer XIV, its first camera equipped spy satellite.
  • JFK is elected

    John F. Kennedy is elected the 35th President of the United States.
  • Yuri Gagarin orbits Earth

    Yuri Gagarin orbits the Earth once and becomes the first man in space.
  • First American in space

    Alan B. Shepard becomes the first American in space.
  • JFK addresses Congress

    President John F. Kennedy addresses Congress and challenges the nation to go to the Moon before the end of the decade.
  • Gus Grissom is launched

    Gus Grissom is launched on a sub-orbital flight. His Liberty-Bell capsule is lost when it fills with water and sinks after splashdown.
  • Russian spends a day in space

    Gherman Titov spends a day in space aboard Vostok 2.
  • Gemini Program

    NASA announces the Gemini Program.
  • American orbits Earth

    John Glenn orbits the Earth three times.
  • John Glenn's flight repeated

    Scott Carpenter repeats John Glenn's flight aboard "Aurora 7".
  • JFK at Rice University

    President Kennedy gives a speech at Rice University reaffirming the importance of the Moon program.
  • Second group of astronauts selected

    NASA selects its second group of astronauts.
  • Schirra orbits Earth

    Walter Schirra orbits the Earth six times.
  • Mariner 2 enters solar orbit

    Mariner 2 flies past Venus and enters a solar orbit.
  • American spends 34 hours in space

    L. Gordon Cooper spends 34 hours in space. He is the last American to fly in space alone.
  • First woman in space

    Cosmonaut Valentia Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space.
  • Third group of astronauts

    A third group of NASA astronauts is selected.
  • JFK assassinated

    President Kennedy is assassinated.
  • First close range images of Moon

    Ranger 7 transmits the first close range images of the Moon.
  • Astronaut dies

    Astronaut Theodore Freeman dies in a plane crash.
  • First spacewalk

    Alexei Leonov spends 12 minutes outside of his Voskhod spacecraft performing the first spacewalk.
  • First manned gemini spacecraft

    Gus Grissom and John Young fly the first manned Gemini spacecraft.
  • America's first spacewalk

    Ed White performs America's first spacewalk. Jim McDivitt remains in the Gemini capsule.
  • Close range images of Mars

    Mariner 4 returns close ranger images of Mars.
  • Venus 3 launch

    Venus 3 is launched. It becomes the first man made object to impact Venus on March 1, 1966.
  • Two week stay in earth orbit

    Frank Borman and James Lovell begin a two week stay in Earth orbit aboard Gemini 7.
  • Gemini 6 rendezvous with gemini 7

    Walter Schirra and Thomas Stafford, in their Gemini 6 spacecraft, make the first space rendezvous with Gemini 7.
  • First spacecraft to soft-land on the moon

    Luna 9 becomes the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon.
  • Two astronauts die

    Astronauts Charles Bassett and Elliott See die when their plane crashes in bad weather.
  • First satellite to orbit the moon

    Luna 10 becomes the first satellite to orbit the Moon.
  • Surveyor 1 soft-lands on the moon

    Surveyor 1 soft-lands on the Moon.
  • Luna 1 Orbiter 1 enters orbit around the moon

    Lunar Orbiter 1 enters orbit around the Moon and takes the first picture of the Earth from that distance.
  • Astronauts killed in fire

    Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee are killed when a fire ignites in their Apollo 1 capsule while performing a test on the launch pad.
  • Zono 5 is launched

    Zond 5 is launched. It carried a biological payload (including two turtles) around the Moon and returned to Earth six days later.
  • Astronauts begin their journey to the moon

    Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders begin the first manned journey from the Earth to the Moon. On Christmas Eve they take turns reading Genesis in a broadcast heard around the world.
  • Neil walks on the moon

    Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin become the first men to walk on the Moon while crewmate Michael Collins orbits around the Moon alone.
  • First precision lunar landing

    Pete Conrad and Alan Bean perform the first precision lunar landing, touching down just 600 feet from the Surveyor 3 probe that arrived two years earlier.
  • A legend was born

    The world changed forever