Space Race By itskenly Oct 4, 1957 Sputnik The USSR launched Sputnik into space. Sputnik would be the first satellite and man-made object in space. The Space War physically began. Nov 3, 1957 Sputnik 2 First living passenger, Laika (dog), in space. (USSR) Dec 6, 1957 Vanguard TV-3 Unsuccessful response to the launching of Sputnik by the US. Was carrying a small satellite, and it exploded when launching. Jan 31, 1958 Explorer 1 After the USSR launched Sputnik, the US responded with the launching of Explorer 1 (satellite created and operated by the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab). Jul 29, 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act Signed into law; in other words, NASA was created. It would later open for business on October 1st of the same year. (US) Jan 2, 1959 Luna 1 First man-made object to leave Earth's orbit. (USSR) Feb 28, 1959 Discover 1 First spy satellite but film isn't recovered successfully. (US) So, it was an unsuccessful spy satellite. May 28, 1959 Able and Baker First primates in space (US) aboard the Jupiter missile. Able died four days late. Baker died in 1984. Aug 7, 1959 Explorer 6 Takes the first pictures of Earth from space. (US) Sep 14, 1959 Luna 2 Launched by the USSR on September 12th (September 13th, Moscow time). On September 14th, Luna 2, was the first space probe to impact the moon. Feb 12, 1961 Venera USSR launches this space probe to Venus, but it stops communicating after a week. So this was unsuccessful. Apr 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin First person in space and to orbit the earth. He did it in the Soviet Union's Vostok 1 spacecraft. May 5, 1961 Alan Shepard First American in space. Did it in the Freedom 7 spacecraft. May 25, 1961 JFK Announcement President John F. Kennedy made the announcement to Congress, and essentially the American people, that the US should make it possible for a man to land on the moon and return back safely. Feb 20, 1962 John Glenn First American to orbit Earth. Circled it three times on the Friendship 7 capsule. Jul 12, 1962 Telstar First active communications satellite in space. (US) Jul 28, 1962 Cosmos 7 First spy satellite that was successful. (USSR) Jun 16, 1963 Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova First woman in space. Did it in the Vostok 6. (USSR) Mar 18, 1965 Alexei Leonov Completes the first spacewalk aboard Voskhod 2 orbiter. (USSR) Jun 3, 1965 Ed White The first American to do a spacewalk aboard Gemini 4. (US) Feb 3, 1966 Luna 9 First soft landing on the moon, although it didn't have any passengers. (USSR) Mar 1, 1966 Venera 3 Becomes the first spacecraft to land on Venus, but data wasn't able to be returned due to the system of communications failing. (USSR) Apr 3, 1966 Luna 10 First space probe to orbit the moon. (USSR) Jun 2, 1966 Surveyor 1 America's first successful soft landing on the moon. (US) Jan 27, 1967 Apollo 1 The astronauts aboard suffocated from smoke due to a fire in the launching test. (US) Apr 23, 1967 Soyuz 1 There were many problems with this spacecraft, and due to stability problems and parachute failures, Vladimir Komarov dies. (USSR) Oct 11, 1968 Apollo 7 First out of the Apollo missions to have passengers on board. It is also the first live television broadcast of people in space. Dec 21, 1968 Apollo 8 First mission with passengers to orbit the moon. Happened on a Saturn V. (US) Jul 20, 1969 Apollo 11 Aboard the Command Module Columbia, American astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, became the first human beings to land on the moon. (US) Apr 13, 1970 Apollo 13 Failed mission to reach the moon. The spacecraft exploded days after launching. (US) Sep 12, 1970 Luna 16 First successful mission to retrieve lunar examples automatically. (USSR) Nov 13, 1971 Mariner 9 First spacecraft to orbit another planet, Mars. (US) Jul 17, 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project The US and USSR do a joint space flight. Shows detente and marks the "end" of the Space Race. On this day the Apollo Command/Service Module (US) and the Soyuz 19 capsule (USSR) dock.