SputnikSputnik was the first artificial satellite and started off the space race. It was launched on October 4, 1957, by Russia at 7:28 PM. It was about the size of a beach ball and 184 lbs. This is small compared to spacecraft as of recent but was a huge feat for those times. As a result of the immense competition that Sputnik caused we now have NASA and DARPA, two major space-related programs/organizations.
The ExplorerThe Explorer was the first satellite was launched by the United States. It was launched on January 31, 1958, and set off the Space Age for the U.S. The Explorer contained a Cosmic Ray Detector and a Micrometeorite detector. Thanks to these tools we discovered the radiation belts that surround the earth. This extremely successful launch was just the beginning of many prosperous launches.
Addition Info: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/explorer-1/
Apollo 11Apollo 11 was launched on July 16, 1969, by the U.S. This mission was the mission that got us to the moon. This was a Goal set by the former president, John Kennedy. This mission was very successful, we were able to get 12 men on the moon and several variations of moon rocks to bring back and study. The mission lasted a few days and they all made it back safe.
Additonal Info: https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/nasa-knows/what-was-apollo-program-58.html
The Hubble Space TelescopeThe Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space on April 24, 1990. This telescope was the first major optical telescope. It is known as the most significant advancement in astronomy since the Galileo Telescope. The telescope is still in use and has had 5 missions and over 25 years of operation so far.
Space XSpace X was founded on May 6, 2002, by Elon Musk. Elon is a tech billionaire and also founded Tesla. The company was created on the mission to get a man on Mars. The company is working hard to get there and they are progressing gradually. The goal date to reach mars is currently unknown and probably far in the future, as is took 6 years just to get a rocket in orbit.
Additional Info: https://www.cnet.com/news/spacex-everything-to-know-about-elon-musk-space-company/
Mars RoversMars Rovers were launched on July 6, 2003, by NASA. The first two were named Spirit and Opportunity. Although they launched in July they didn't reach Mars until January. They gave NASA sustainable reasons to believe that Mars once had a wetter climate and the possibility of life on Mars. They eventually launched two more rovers, Curiosity, and Sojourner who are still providing info currently.
Additional Info: https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/F_2003_Mars_Rover.html
Boeing Space TaxiBoeing and Space X are in the process of building a faster way to get to the Space Station, they are calling this spacecraft Space Taxis. These taxis are being eyed by NASA and if they choose to buy it it will improve commercialization of space operation in low Earth Orbit. There have been many setbacks and problems. So the launch date is at the earliest December 17, 2019, but could be later.
Additional Info: https://www.boeing.com/space/starliner/