On October 4 it was announced that the Soviet Union had launched the first satellite, Sputnik. However, it was launched on millitary ballistic missile. Scientists could collect results from experiments performed on it but did not have access to its design or orbital elements.
Sputnik 2 Launched
On Nov 3, the USSR launched Sputnik 2, which carried a dog called Laika.
Explorer I Launched
On Jan 31, the United States launched their first satellite, Explorer I. The US army launched it on a rocket used to test missile components. It carried a small instrument that measured cosmic rays.
Explorer 2 Failed Launch
On March 5, the US launched Explorer 2. However, it failed to reach orbit
Vanguard I Launched
On March 17, Vanguard I became the US' second successful launched satellite and the first non-millitary launched satellite. It was created before Sputnik, but was not launched until after Sputnik and Explorer I.
Sputnik 3 Launched
On May 15 Sputnik 3 was launched. During the flight a radiation belt around Earth was discovered.
NASA Replaces NACA
On Oct 1, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed, replacing the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA).
On Oct, 11 NASA launched Pioneer I. It reached a height 70,700 miles.
On Jan, 2, the USSR launched Luna I, It became the first man made object to orbit the Sun.
Pioneer 4 Launched
On March 3, 1959, NASA launched Pioneer 4 on a course for the Moon. It came within 37,000 miles of the Moon, then fell into orbit around the Sun.
Luna II Launched
The USSR launched the Luna II spacecraft on Sep 12, 1959. The next day it became the first man-made object to land on the Moon.
Luna III orbited the Moon and photographed 70% of its surface.
Tiros I, First Successful Weather Satellite
On April 1 Tiros I was launched by NASA. It was the first successful weather satellite.
Discoverer XIV, the US' first camera-equipped satellite was launched on August 18.
First Man in Space
Yuri Gagarin, a Russian, became the first man in space on April 12, 1961, winning the first big goal of the Space Race for Russia.
First American in Space
On May 5, Alan B. Shepard became the first American to go to space.
Mariner 2, a US spacecraft, flew past Venus and entered an orbit around the Sun.
First Woman in Space
Cosmonaut Valentia Tereshkova became the first woman in woman in space on Oct 16, 1963
First Space Walk
Alexei Leonov, a Russian Cosmonaut, performed the first space walk. He spent 12 minutes outside of his ship.
America's First Spacewalk
Ed White performed America's first spacewalk on June 3, 1965
Russian spacecraft Luna 9 performed the first soft landing on the Moon.
Lunar Orbiter 1
Lunar Orbiter 1, a US spacecraft, entered orbit around the Moon on August 14 and took the first picture of Earth from that distance.
Apollo 1 Tragedy
During a test on the launch pad, the inside of the Apollo 1 spacecraft caught on fire, killing Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee.
Russian spacecraft Zond 5 was launched on Sep 15. It orbited the Moon for 6 days carrying two turtles.
Apollo 11, First Moon Landing
Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon on the Apollo 11 mission, winning the main goal of the Space Race for America. Their crewmate, Michael Collins, stayed in the command module in orbit.