The Space Race

  • USSR Launches Sputnik 1

    USSR Launches Sputnik 1
    The world's first artficial satellite was about the size of s beach ball, weighed 184 pounds, and could orbit the Earth in 98 minutes. It's purpose was to help identify the upper atmosphericee layer's density.
    Sputnik 1 Launch
  • Period: to

    The Space Race

  • USSR Launches Sputnik 2

    USSR Launches Sputnik 2
    This time, the Russians sent a small dog named Laika into orbit.There was enough room for Laika to lie down or stand. She wore a harness, her food came in gelatin form, and a bag collected waste. An air regeneration system provided oxygen, and electrodes monitored vital signs. She died within the first few hours from overheating and stress.
  • USA Launches Explorer 1

    USA Launches Explorer 1
    The first American satellite to reach orbit. It's scientific equipment discovered the Van Allen radiation belt, which is a field of plasma around Earth.
    Explorer 1 Launch
  • USA Launches Explorer 2

    USA Launches Explorer 2
    Explorer 2 is launched but fails to reach orbit.
  • USA Launches Vangard 1

    USA Launches Vangard 1
    Achieved the highest altitude of any man-made vehicle to that time. It was also the first orbiting vehicle to be powered by solar energy, however, it stopped functioning in 1964. Vanguard I orbits Earth today and is the oldest man-made satellite. It will remain into orbit well into the 22nd century.
  • USSR Launches Sputnik 3

    USSR Launches Sputnik 3
    Sputnik 3 was a research satellite and was meant to explore the upper atmosphere and the near space. It carried a large array of instruments for geophysical research.
  • NASA is Formed

    NASA is Formed
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) replaces the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) in the U.S. When it first began operation, it employed 8,000 people and had an annual budget of $100 million. It consisted of three major research laboratories and two small test facilities.
  • USA Launches Pioneer 1

    USA Launches Pioneer 1
    Pioneer 1 was the first spacecraft launched by NASA. It's original mission was to orbit the moon, but due to a launch malfunction, it never reached its target.
  • USSR Launches Luna 1

    USSR Launches Luna 1
    Luna 1 becomes the first man-made object to orbit the sun.
  • USA Launches Pioneer 4

    USA Launches Pioneer 4
    Pioneer 4 is launched on a Earth-Moon trajectory with the same mission as Pioneer 1. It passed within 37,000 miles of the Moon before falling into a solar orbit. Success.
  • NASA Selects "Mercury Seven"

    NASA Selects "Mercury Seven"
    This was the only astronaut group with members that flew on all classes of NASA manned orbital spacecraft of the 20th century: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the STS-95 Space Shuttle mission. Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr., Virgil Ivan (Gus) Grissom, John Herschel Glenn Jr., Malcolm Scott Carpenter. Walter Marty (Wally) Schirra Jr., Leroy Gordon Cooper Jr., and Donald Kent (Deke) Slayton were the seven members. Most all had some kind of military experience.
  • USSR Launches Luna 2

    USSR Launches Luna 2
    Luna 2 impacted the Moon, becoming the first man-made object to do so.
  • Luna 3 Orbits the Moon

    Luna 3 Orbits the Moon
    Luna 3 orbits the Moon and photographs 70% of its surface.
  • USA Wins

    USA Wins
    (July 20, 1969) We land on the Moon!!!