The Space Race

  • USSR launches Sputnik 1.

    USSR launches Sputnik 1.
  • Period: to

    Space Race

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

    USSR launches Sputnik 2 which carried a small dog named Laika into orbit.
  • Explorer 1, the first American satellite to reach orbit, is launched.

    Explorer 1, the first American satellite to reach orbit, is launched.
  • Explorer 2 is launced but it fails to reach orbit.

    Explorer 2 is launced but it fails to reach orbit.
  • The Vanguard 1 satellite is launched. It continues to function for 3 years.

    The Vanguard 1 satellite is launched. It continues to function for 3 years.
  • Sputnik 3 is launched.

    Sputnik 3 is launched.
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is formed

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is formed
  • Luna 1 is launched by the USSR. It is the first man made object to orbit the Sun.

    Luna 1 is launched by the USSR. It is the first man made object to orbit the Sun.
  • e "Mercury Seven" astronauts are selected by NASA.

    e "Mercury Seven" astronauts are selected by NASA.
  • Luna 2 is launched. It impacts the Moon on September 13, becoming the first man-made object to do so.

  • Tiros 1, the first successful weather satellite, is launched.

  • The US launches Discoverer XIV, its first camera equipped spy satellite.

  • John F. Kennedy is elected the 35th President of the United States.

  • Alan B. Shepard becomes the first American in space.

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

  • Gherman Titov spends a day in space aboard Vostok 2.

  • NASA announces the Gemini Program.

  • John Glenn orbits the Earth three times.

  • L. Gordon Cooper spends 34 hours in space. He is the last American to fly in space alone.

  • Scott Carpenter repeats John Glenn's flight aboard "Aurora 7".

  • Cosmonaut Valentia Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space.

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

    In an address at Rice University on September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy rallies support for the race to space by telling his fellow Americans that the reason we endeavor to go to the moon is "not because it is easy, but because it is hard."
  • NASA selects its second group of astronauts.

  • Walter Schirra orbits the Earth six times.

  • Mariner 2 flies past Venus and enters a solar orbit.

  • Ed White performs America's first spacewalk. Jim McDivitt remains in the Gemini capsule.

  • Nov. 22 - President Kennedy is assassinated.

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

  • Ranger 7 transmits the first close range images of the Moon.

  • Gus Grissom and John Young fly the first manned Gemini spacecraft.

  • Ed White performs America's first spacewalk. Jim McDivitt remains in the Gemini capsule.

  • Mariner 4 returns close ranger images of Mars.

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

  • Walter Schirra and Thomas Stafford, in their Gemini 6 spacecraft, make the first space rendezvous with Gemini 7.

  • \Luna 9 becomes the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon.

  • Luna 10 becomes the first satellite to orbit the Moon.

  • Surveyor 1 soft-lands on the Moon.

  • Lunar Orbiter 1 enters orbit around the Moon and takes the first picture of the Earth from that distance.

  • Gemini 12, the last flight of the Gemini Program, launches with James Lovell and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin aboard.

  • 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.

  • Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov is killed when the parachutes of his Soyuz 1 capsule fail to open properly following re-entry.

  • Astronaut Edward Givens is killed in an automobile accident.

  • Venera 4 transmits data about the atmosphere of Venus.

  • Zond 5 is launched. It carried a biological payload (including two turtles) around the Moon and returned to Earth six days later.

  • The crew of Apollo 7 begin a 10 day mission to study the new spacecraft.

  • Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders begin the first manned journey from the Earth to the Moon. On Christmas Eve they take turns reading Genesis in a broadcast heard around the world.

  • Soyuz 4 & 5 perform the first Soviet spacecraft docking

  • Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin become the first men to walk on the Moon while crewmate Michael Collins orbits around the Moon alone.