Space Timeline

  • First Liquid Fueled Rocket Launched

    U.S rocket scientists Robert H. Goddard launches the first liquid fueled rocket from his Aunt Effie's farm in Auburn, Massachusetts. the 4-foot rocket dubbed "Nell" reaches an altitude of 41 feet and a speed of about 60 miles per hour. the flight lasts only 2 1/2 seconds, but paves the way for the U.S rocket program.
  • First American-Disgned Rocket Reaches Space

    the United STates lainches its first American-disigned rocket. Known as the Wac Corporal, the rocket reaches the edge of space at an altitude of 50 miles after being launched from the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico.
  • First Animals in Space

    Fruit flies become the first animals in space as a V-2 rocket is launched from the White Sands Proving Ground. Inside are several vials containing fruit flies, rye seeds, and cotton seeds. The flight reaches an altitude of 60 miles, and the payload is later retrieved intact.
  • First Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

    The Soviet Union launches the first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Known as the R-7 Semyorka, it travels a total distance of 6000 km (3728 miles). A modified version of this missile would be used later to launch the world's first artificial satellite,
  • First Artificial Satellite

    The USSR beat the United States into space by launching Sputnik 1. At 184 pounds, it was only a short time, but it was a major accomplishment.
  • First Live Animal in Space

    Following the success of Sputnik 1, the Soviets launched Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957. The spacecraft contained a pressurized container that housed a dog named Laika. The capsule contained a controlled atmosphere, food supply, waste collection system and biological sensors. Laika lived 8 days until the food supply ran out, and proved that animals could survive in space.
  • First American Satellite

    America launched its first satellite. weighing only 30 pounds, Explorer 1 was launched into orbit by the Army on a Jupiter-C rocket. The satellite contained several scientific instruments. This mission discovered the radiation belts surronding the Earth.
  • NASA is Born

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is founded, taking over the responsibilities of the existing National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics.
  • First Spacecraft to Achieve Solar Orbit

    The Russian satellite Luna 1 is luanched in an atttempt to hit the Moon's gravity. It becomes the first man-made object to achieve an orbit around the Sun.
  • First Spacecraft to Impact on the Moon

    The Russian satellite Luna 2 is launched. On September 13, it becomes the first man-made object to hit the Moon. The spacecraft was sterilized to avoid contaminating the Moon with terrestrial bacteria
  • First View of Moon's Far Side

    The Russian satellite Luna 3 is launched, orbiting the Moon and photographing 70 percent of the Moon's far side.
  • First Weather Satellite

    Tiros 1, the first successful weather satellite, is launched by the United States. Two television cameras in the satellite returned views of clouds above the Earth. Tiros 1 was only operational for 78 days, but proved that satellites could be useful tools for surveying weather conditions from space.