Space race

Space Race Timeline

  • Sputnik 1 (First Launch)

    Sputnik 1 (First Launch)
    The Soviet Union, or USSR, launches Sputnik 1, the first human made object to orbit the Earth. This begins the "space war" with the United States. The launch helped with the research of the atmosphere, completed an orbit in 96.2 minutes, and remained in space until January 4, 1958.
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    Space Race Timeline

  • Sputnik 2

    Sputnik 2
    USSR launches Sputnik 2 and carried the first animal to ever be taken into space, Laika. Laika died shortly after entering space from stress and overheating. Sputnik 2 remained in orbit until April 13, 1958.
  • Explorer 1

    Explorer 1
    Explorer 1 was the first U.S. satellite put into earth's orbit. It was launched after the Soviet's Sputnik 1 and 2. The satellite remained in orbit for twelve years and was responsible for the discovery of the Van Allen (Earth's) radiation belt. It was also the first of the 90 Explorer spacecraft series.
  • NASA was Formed

    NASA was Formed
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed by the United States during the space race and replaces the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA). NASA controls all missions and launches to outer space.
  • Discoverer XIV Launched

    Discoverer XIV Launched
    The Discoverer 14 was the first satellite into space. This satellite was successfully launched by the United States.
  • First (Russian) Man in Space

    First (Russian) Man in Space
    Yuri Gagarin is the first man in space. He was sent by the Russians on the Vostok 1 space craft. He became the soviet hero and this advanced the Russians in the space race. He orbited the Earth once (108 minutes).
  • First American in Space

    First American in Space
    Succeeding the Russian's advancement, the United States sent Alan Shepard into space. He became the first American in space and was on board in a capsule called Mercury Freedom 7. He traveled for 15 minutes.
  • First (Russian) Woman in Space

    First (Russian) Woman in Space
    Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman sent into space by the USSR on a spacecraft named Vostok 6.
  • First Spacewalk

    First Spacewalk
    USSR sends out Voskhod 2 and Aleksei Leonov becomes the first man out in actual space. He was outside the spacecraft for 12 minutes and 9 seconds. Upon trying to get back inside the spacecraft, his suit became inflated and barely made it back.
  • First American Spacewalk

    First American Spacewalk
    Ed White was the first American to perform a spacewalk while on Gemini 4 while Jim McDivitt remains in the capsule. He was in space for 23 minutes.
  • Luna 9

    Luna 9
    Luna 9, sent by the Russians, becomes the first space craft to soft-land on the moon.
  • Soyuz I

    Soyuz I
    Soyuz 1, a manned spacecraft carrying Vladimir Komarov, a Russian, becomes the first fatal space flight to have ever exist. After having technical problems on its return to Earth, the spacecraft crashes and Vladimir dies.
  • Apollo 8

    Apollo 8
    Apollo 8, carrying Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders, becomes the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. The mission took three days and on Christmas Eve, the crew took turns reading Genesis while broadcasting the view on television.
  • Apollo 11

    Apollo 11
    Apollo 11 was the first flight that took men to the moon and was a project of the United States. This was a great achievement because the US had reached the moon before the Soviets.
  • Apollo 17's Return from the Moon

    Apollo 17's Return from the Moon
    Apollo 17 was the last or most recent moon landing by the United States. The crew consisted of Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, and Harrison Schmitt. The mission took about 12 days and no one has returned to the moon since.