Space Race Timeline

  • Launching of Sputnik 1

    Launching of Sputnik 1
    was the first artificial satellite to be put into Earth's orbit.
  • USSR launches Sputnick 2

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

    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.
  • NASA is Formed

    NASA is Formed
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is formed, it replaces the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA).
  • Pioneer 4

    Pioneer 4
    Pioneer 4 is launched on a Earth-Moon trajectory. It passed within 37,000 miles of the Moon before falling into a solar orbit.
  • Luna 2

    Luna 2
    Luna 2 is launched. It impacts the Moon on September 13, becoming the first man-made object to do so.
  • Gus Grissom Splashdown

    Gus Grissom Splashdown
    Gus Grissom is launched on a sub-orbital flight. His Liberty-Bell capsule is lost when it fills with water and sinks after splashdown.
  • President Kennedy speech

    President Kennedy speech
    President Kennedy gives a speech at Rice University reaffirming the importance of the Moon program.
  • Assassination

    President Kennedy is assassinated
  • Alexi Leonov Spacewalk

    Alexi Leonov Spacewalk
    Alexei Leonov spends 12 minutes outside of his Voskhod spacecraft performing the first spacewalk.
  • Mariner 4

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

    Venus 3 is launched
    Venus 3 is launched. It becomes the first man made object to impact Venus on March 1, 1966.
  • Death of 3 astronauts

    Death of 3 astronauts
    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.
  • Vladimir Komarov

    Vladimir Komarov
    Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov is killed when the parachutes of his Soyuz 1 capsule fail to open properly following re-entry.
  • Apollo 17's Return from The Moon

    Apollo 17's Return from The Moon
    Apollo 17 was the eleventh and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program.