TIME LINE

Date
Country

Event

History

1957-10-04
- USSR
Sputnik 1
- First Satellite
Sputnik 1 launched successfully and became worlds first man made orbiting satellite.
1957-11-04
- USSR
Sputnik 2
- First animals in space
Sputnik 2 with first animals in space a dog named Laika. No facilities were included to return the satellite back to Earth and the animal perished of heat and stress.
Later in August-1960, the next attempt at a live cargo was launched. Sputnik 5 returned its cargo of animals back to Earth alive. Unfortunately Sputnik 6 had problems and the animals of that flight were lost.
1958-01-31
- USA
Explorer 1
- First American Satellite
Explorer 1 launched 31st January was the first American satellite to be put into orbit. It contained a Geiger counter.
1958-05-15
- USSR
Sputnik 3 Sputnik 3 was launched with a cargo of scientific instrumentation.
1959-09-13
- USSR
Luna 2 (Lunnik 2)
- First lunar impact
- First off-world impact
Launched 4th January, Luna 1 missed the moon and went into orbit around the sun.
This was followed by the Luna 2 probe which successfully impacted the lunar surface.
1959-10-07
- USSR
Luna 3 (Lunnik 3)
- First images of non-facing side of moon
Close after the success of Luna 2 came another world first. Three days after its 4th October launch, Luna 3 returned the first images of the unseen side of the moon.
1960-08-12
- USA
Echo 1
- First communications satellite
Echo 1 was the worlds first communications satellite and was launched in August 1960.
1961-04-12
- USSR
Vostok 1
- First man in space
- First manned Earth orbit
Yuri Gagarin flight in Vostok 1 orbited the Earth once taking 108 minutes.
1961-05-05
- USA
Mercury 3
- First American in space
Alan Shepard on board Freedom 7 became the first American in Space. At this stage America lacked the launch vehicle to place a man in orbit.
1961-07-21
- USA
Mercury 4 Virgil Grissom on board Liberty Bell 7 became the second American in Space. Again this was a suborbital flight.
1961-08-06
to -07
- USSR
Vostok 2
- First day in space orbit
Gherman Titov became first man to orbit the Earth for a day, staying aloft for 25 hours and orbiting the Earth 17.5 time.
1962-02-20
- USA
Mercury 6
- First American to Orbit the Earth
John Glenn on board Friendship 7 became the first American to orbit the Earth (actually 3 orbits).
This was the first of four manned Mercury Atlas rockets.
1962-05-24
- USA
Mercury 7 Scott Carpenter's orbital flight on board Aurora 7.
1962-08-11
to -15
- USSR
Vostok 3 and 4
- First multi-ship space mission
Vostok 3 (Nikolayev) and 4 (Popovich) were launched a day apart.
Vostok 4 reported sighting Vostok 3 in orbit at 5km apart and had first space to space radio contact.
1962-10-03
- USA
Mercury 8 Walter Schirra orbital flight on board Sigma 7.
1962-12-14
- USA
Mariner 2
- First Planetary encounter
Launched 27-August-1962 Mariner 2 flew by Venus on 14-December.
1963-05-15
- USA
Mercury 9 Gordon Cooper's day long, 22 orbit flight on board Faith 7. This was the last of the Project Mercury flights before NASA concentrated its efforts on the Gemini Program.
1963-06-14
to -19
- USSR
Vostok 5 and 6
- Longest solo flight
- First woman in space
Vostok 5 and 6 were again multi-flight missions with Valery Bykovsky on board Vostok 5 orbiting for two days before the launch of Valentina Tereshkova on board Vostok 6. Bykovsky took the new record for the longest solo space flight (82 Earth orbits) whilst Tereshkova (48 orbits) was the first woman in space.
1964-10-12
to -13
- USSR
Voskhod 1
- First multi-manned space craft
Voskhod 1 took three cosmonauts into space - Vladimir Komarov, Konstantin Feoktistov, Boris Yegorov.
1965-03-18
to -19
- USSR
Voskhod 2
- First Space walk (EVA)
Voskhod 2 took two cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Pavel Belyayev into space.
Leonov became the first man to perform a space walk (EVA)
1965-03-23
- USA
Gemini 3 Grissom and Young's Gemini Titan 3 mission was the first American multi-manned space mission.
1965-06-03
- USA
Gemini 4
- First American space walk
During McDivitt and White's GT-4 mission, Edward White achieved the first American space walk.
1965-07-14
- USA
Mariner 4 Launched 28-November-1964, Mariner 4 flew by Mars on 14-July-1965.
1965-08-21
to -29
- USA
Gemini 5 Conrad and Cooper's Gemini Titan mission. The eight day mission duration would be that of a moon voyage.
1965-12-04
to -18
- USA
Gemini 7 Borman and Lovell's 14 day endurance flight which included a rendezvous with GT-6.
1965-12-15
to -16
- USA
Gemini 6 Schirra and Stafford's Gemini mission, GT-6.
1966-02-03
- USSR
Luna 9 (Lunnik 9)
- First off-world soft landing
Launched 31-January, Luna 9 performed the first successful soft landing on another world.
Once landed, Luna 9 proceeded to fax back images of the lunar surface. This was the first transmission from another world.
1966-03-16
to -17
- USA
Gemini 8
- First space docking to unmanned craft
Armstrong and Scott's GT-8 mission featured the first docking with the unmanned Agena and an emergency landing after a problem with the docking.
1966-04-03
- USSR
Luna 10 (Lunnik 10)
- First Lunar orbit
launched 31-March, Luna 10 was the first lunar orbiter on the 3-April and remaining in contact until 30-May.
1966-06-03
to -06
- USA
Gemini 9 Stafford and Cernan's GT-9 mission featured a docking and an EVA.
1966-07-18
to -21
- USA
Gemini 10 Young and Collin's Gemini mission featured a double rendezvous and EVA.
1966-09-12
to -15
- USA
Gemini 11 Conrad and Gordon's Gemini mission.
1966-11-11
to -15
- USA
Gemini 12 Lovell and Aldrin had the last of the two manned Gemini missions before NASA started its manned Apollo program.
1967-01-27
- USA
Apollo disaster Grissom, Chaffee and White died when oxygen ignited in the crew capsule during a training exercise. The Apollo 1 flight was due to launch 21-February and the disaster set the Apollo program back nearly two years.
1967-04-23
to -24
- USSR
Soyuz 1 disaster
- First spaceflight casualty
Troubled flight in the new class of space ship with many malfunctions.
Soyuz 1 was brought down early and parachute failed killing the pilot Vladimir Komarov.
1968-09-15
to -21
- USSR
Zond 5
- First lunar orbit returning to Earth
Zond 5 was the first unmanned lunar orbiter to return to Earth. It carried a cargo of animals which were returned safely to Earth on 21-September after orbiting the Moon.
1968-10-11
to -22
- USA
Apollo 7 Schirra, Eisele and Cunningham's Apollo mission using a Saturn 1B launch vehicle.
1968-10-28
to -30
- USSR
Soyuz 3 Georgi Beregovoi piloted Soyuz 3 on the first successful manned Soyuz flight although he failed to complete the mission objectives of docking to another craft in space.
1968-12-21
to -27
- USA
Apollo 8
- First manned Lunar orbit
This was the first of the Saturn V launches and took Borman, Lovell and Anders on the first manned flight to orbit the moon.
1969-01-14
to -16
- USSR
Soyuz 4 and 5 On the 16-January Soyuz 4 and 5 made the first manned docking and exchange of crew in space. This was the original mission objective for both Soyuz 1 and later Soyuz 3 missions.
1969-03-03
to -13
- USA
Apollo 9 This mission tested the docking and crew transfer to a lunar lander 'the spider' remaining in Earth's orbit.
1969-05-18
to -26
- USA
Apollo 10 Stafford, Young and Cerman's Apollo 10 mission took the lunar lander and orbited it around the moon.
1969-07-16
to -24
- USA
Apollo 11
- First man on the moon
Armstrong, Aldren and Collins' historic flight resulting in the 20-July moon landing.
1969-10-11
to -16
- USSR
Soyuz 6, 7 and 8 This mission replicated the mission objectives of the earlier Soyuz missions of docking in space and crew transfers, this time with three craft.
1969-11-14
to -24
- USA
Apollo 12 Conrad, Gordon and Bean's Apollo 12 lunar mission.
1970-04-11
to -17
- USA
Apollo 13
- Aborted mission and recovery
Lovell, Haise and Swighert survived a on flight disaster requiring a lunar orbit to return back to Earth.
1970-06-01
to -19
- USSR
Soyuz 9 This mission was the prelude to the Salyut space stations, testing human endurance in space.
1970-09-24
- USSR
Luna 16 (Lunnik 16)
- First unmanned probe to return soil samples
Launched on the 12-September, this mission resulted 12 days later in the first soil samples returned from another world using an unmanned probe.
1970-11-17
- USSR
Lunokhod
First off-world rover
Luna 17 landed and deployed Lunokhod 1, the first Lunar rover. Lunokhod 1 remained operational for 322 days.
1970-12-15
- USSR
Venera 7 Landing
- First softlanding on another planet
Launched 17-August, Venera 7 survived the atmosphere landing on the surface of Venus on 15-December where it attempted to transmit data. This was the first transmission of data from another planet.
1971-01-31
to 1971-02-09
- USA
Apollo 14 Shepard, Roosa and Mitchell's Apollo Lunar mission.
1971-04-23
to 1971-10-11
- USSR
Salyut 1 Launch
- First space station
The first attempt to dock with Salyut 1 using Soyuz 10 was then attempted but aborted due to the hatch jamming.
1971-06-06
to -30
- USSR
Soyuz 11 Disaster After a successful mission on board Salyut 1, the crew of Soyuz 11 were claimed by an air leak some time after undocking.
1971-07-26
to 1971-08-07
- USA
Apollo 15
- Manned Lunar rover
Scott, Irwin and Worden's Apollo mission featured the use of a Lunar rover to transport the crew around the lunar surface increasing their range.
1971-11-13
- USA
Mariner 9
- First planetary orbiter
Launched 30-May, Mariner 9 reached Mars' orbit on 13-November-1971
1971-11-27
- USSR
Mars 2
- First impact on Mars
The Mars 2 probe crashed on 27-November unintentionally becoming the first to impact the planet. Launched on the 19-May, the orbiters mission was completed in August-1972.
1971-12-02
- USSR
Mars 3
- First Mars soft landing
Launched 29-May, Mars 3 on 2-December became the first craft to land a probe on Mars. The Mars 3 lander transmitted data for 2 minutes before communications were lost. The Mars 3 orbiter remained in orbit around Mars until the 22-August-1972.
1972-04-16
to -27
- USA
Apollo 16 Young, Mattingly and Duke's Apollo Lunar mission.
1972-12-07
to -19
- USA
Apollo 17
- Last man on the moon
Cernan, Evans and Schmitt's mission was the sixth and last manned mission to land on the moon.
1973-01-15
- USSR
Lunokhod 2
Lunar lander
Luna 21 landed Lunokhod 2 on the moon where it remained in service for about four months.
1973-04-04
to 1973-05-28
- USSR
Salyut 2 launch Salyut 2 space station never hosted a crew due to a malfunction after the launch. The station failed to deploy, lost pressure and was brought down 28th May.
1973-05-14
- USA
Skylab Launch This was the launch of the American unmanned Skylab space station.
1973-05-25
to 1973-06-22
- USA
Skylab first crew The first Skylab crew Conrad, Kerwin and Weitz had to repair the space station after it incurred damage after launch. This being successfully done they remained until 22-June.
1973-07-28
to 1973-09-25
- USA
Skylab second crew The second Skylab crew Bean, Garriott and Lousma stayed until 25-September.
1973-11-16
to 1974-02-08
- USA
Skylab third crew The longest of the three manned Skylab missions was crewed by Carr, Gibson and Pogue.
1973-12-3
- USA
Pioneer 10
Jupiter, Saturn fly by
Launched 3-March-1972, Pioneer 10 reached Jupiter 3-December-1973.
1974-03-29
to 1975-03-16
- USA
Mariner 10
Mercury fly by
Launched 3-November-1973, Mariner 10 flew by Venus on 5-February-1974 taking images and chemical composition of atmosphere before having three flybys of Mercury 29-March, 21-September, 16-March-75.
1974-06-24
to 1975-01-24
- USSR
Salyut 3 Launch Salyut 3 was successfully orbited. Salyut 3 was of a military design and was armed with a gun which it tested on a satellite before being deorbited.
1974-12-04
- USA
Pioneer 11
Jupiter, Saturn fly by
Launched 6-April-1973, Pioneer 11 passed Jupiter 4-December-1974 before reaching Saturn 1-September-1979.
1974-12-27
to 1977-02-02
- USSR
Salyut 4 Launch The Salyut 4 space station was of a original non-military design. The space station was operational and hosting a crew (Soyuz 18) whilst the Apollo-Soyuz mission was occurring.
1975-07-15
to -24
- USA/USSR
Apollo Soyuz mission
- First joint space docking by superpowers
Apollo 18 (Stafford, Slayton and Brand) and Soyuz 19 (Leonov and Kubasov) first US/USSR docking in space.
1975-10-20 and 23
- USSR
Venera 9 and 10
- First photos of Venus surface
The Venera 9 and 10 landers were the first to return images from the planet Venus. Launched 8th and 14-June-1975 the orbiters arrived at their destination in October and continued operating until December that year conducting various measurements on the atmosphere and relaying data from the landers.
1976-06-22
to 1977-08-08
- USSR
Salyut 5 Launch Like Salyuts 2 and 3, this was of the military design and was the last of its kind.
1976-07-20
- USA
Viking mission to Mars Mars Lander, Orbiter Viking 1 was launched 20-August-1975 (9-September-1975 for Viking 2), the Viking landers touched down 20-July-1976 and 9-September for Viking 1 and 2 respectively, relaying data back via the orbiters to Earth.
1977-09-29
to 1982-07-29
- USSR
Salyut 6 Launch Salyut 6 was of a much improved design featuring docking ports an both ends to increase the duration of space missions.
1979-03-05
and 1980-11-12
- USA
Voyager 1
Jupiter, Saturn fly by
Launched 5-September-1977 Voyager 1 visited Jupiter 5-March-1979 and Saturn 12-November-1980
The objectives of both Voyager missions was to fly by the large outer gas giants taking images and measuring the chemical composition of atmosphere.
1979-07-09
to 1989-08-25
- USA
Voyager 2
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune fly by
Launched 20-August-1977, Voyager 2 visited Jupiter 9-July-1979, Saturn 26-August-1981, Uranus 24-January-1986 and Neptune 25-August-1989.
1981-04-12
- USA
Space Shuttle Columbia Launch
- First reusable space vehicle
This two day maiden voyage was the first of four manned test flights for the space shuttle program.
1982-04-19
to 1991-02-07
- USSR
Salyut 7 Launch Salyut 7 was the backup station to Salyut 6 and remained in orbit for eight years before being deorbited in February-1991.
1983-04-04
- USA
Space Shuttle Challenger Launch STS-6 was the maiden flight of the space shuttle Challenger.
1984-08-30
- USA
Space Shuttle Discovery Launch STS-41D was the maiden flight of the space shuttle Discovery.
1985-10-03
- USA
Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch STS-51J was the maiden flight of the space shuttle Atlantis.
1986-01-28
- USA
Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster STS-51L was the ill-fated flight for the space shuttle Challenger, exploding after launch.
1986-02-20
to 2001-03-23
- USSR
Mir Space Station Launch The Mir space station was operational from February-1986 until its deorbit in March-2001. From 1989 it was crewed continuously for ten years.
1986-05-11
- International
Halley's Comet Halley's comet passed closest to the Earth 11-April-1986. At various points in its journey near to the Earth Halley's comet was visited by five different space probes from around the world.
1988-11-15
- USSR
Soviet Space shuttle Buran Launch The Buran only had one flight before the collapse of the Soviet Union and being grounded for financial reasons. The Buran was destroyed in a hanger fire where it was housed.
1989-05-04
- USA
Magellan mission launched
Venus orbiter
Launched from shuttle mission STS-30, Magellan reached Venus' orbit 10-August-1990. The mission was ended 1994.
1989-10-18
- USA
Galileo mission launched
Jupiter orbiter
Launched from shuttle mission STS-34, Galileo reached Jupiter's orbit in December 1995, deploying a probe to test Jupiter's atmosphere.
1990-04-24
- USA
Hubble telescope launched The Hubble space telescope was launched on the shuttle mission STS-31.
1990-10-6
- USA
Ulysses mission launched Ulysses was launched on the shuttle mission STS-41 with a mission to study the Sun's poles. The mission is likely to end in 2009.
1992-05-07
- USA
Space Shuttle Endaevour Launch STS-49 was the maiden flight of the space shuttle Endaevour.
1995-06-04
- USA/RUS
STS-71 Shuttle Atlantis / Mir Docking STS-71 was the first docking of the US space shuttle to the Russian Mir space station. This was the first docking since the Apollo Soyuz mission 20 years earlier and was the start of many such joint missions which eventually lead to the International Space Station.
1997-07-4
to 1997-09-27
- USA
Mars Pathfinder launched Launched 4-December-1996 Mars pathfinder robotic explorer landed on the 4-July-1997. Unfortunately contact was lost after just two months.
1998-11-20 International Space Station started Work started on constructing the International Space Station in 1998 as a joint venture involving many nations. Work is scheduled to be complete in 2011.
1999-02-07
to 2006-01-15
- USA
Stardust mission launched Its mission was to obtain samples from the tail of comet Wind-2 which it returned to Earth in 15-January-2006.
2001-05-07
- USA
Mars Odyssey launched
Mars Orbiter
Mars Odyssey reached Mars' orbit 23-October-2001 with the mission of locating evidence of water and volcanic activity.
2003-02-01
- USA
Space Shuttle Columbia disaster After a successful 16 day mission (STS-107) the Space shuttle Columbia broke up on reentry.
2003-10-15
- China
Shenzhou 5 launched
- China's first manned space flight
Shenzhou 5 was crewed by one astronaut Yang Liwei who orbited the Earth for 21 hours (14 orbits).
2004-01-04
- USA
Mars Rovers
Mars Landers
After their July-2003 launched the two robotic rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars January 4th and 25th respectively and are both still operational, sending back data.
2004-03-02
- ESA
Rosetta Launched Rosetta is the ESA's unmanned probe designed to study some asteroids and finally, in November-2014, a comet. The mission will include launching a lander and escorting the comet around the sun.
2004-07-01
- USA
Cassini-Huygens launched
- First Saturn orbiter
Launched on 15-October-1997, finally in July-2004 Cassini became the first man made Saturn orbiter. It featured the Huygens probe which landed on Titan 14-January-2005.
2004-08-03
- USA
Messenger
Mercury Orbiter
In the first Mercury mission since Mariner-10 some 30 years earlier, Messenger performed a total of three fly-bys of Mercury on 14-January-2008, 3-July-2008 and 29-September-2009 before finally settling into orbit on 18-March-2011. It successfully completed its primary mission in 2012 and following two mission extensions, the spacecraft impacted the surface of Mercury on April 30, 2015.
2005-10-12
to -17
- China
Shenzhou 6 launched China's second manned space flight saw a crew of two orbited the Earth for 5 days.
2006-01-19
- USA
New Horizons Launched
- first Pluto flyby
Sent to study Pluto the New Horizons mission is the fastest space probe launched to date. It performed its primary mission of a Pluto flyby on 14-July-2015. Its mission now continues to the Kuiper belt.
2007-09-27
- USA
Dawn Launched Launched 27-September-2007 with the mission of studying two of the three known protoplanets of the asteroid belt, Vesta and Ceres.Dawn entered Vesta orbit on July 16, 2011, and completed a 14-month survey mission before leaving for Ceres in late 2012. Dawn entered Ceres orbit on March 6, 2015, and is predicted to remain in orbit perpetually after the conclusion of its mission.
2007-10-24
- China
Chang'e-1 Launched
- China's first lunar orbiter
Chang'e-1 is China's first unmanned lunar orbiter. Its mission is to map the lunar surface.
2008-09-25
to -28
- China
Shenzhou 7 launched
- China's first space walk
This is China's third manned mission and featured a crew of three orbiting Earth. Of which Zhai Zhigang performed China's first space walk (EVA).
2008-10-22
- India
Chandrayaan-1 Launched
- India's first lunar Orbiter/Impactor
Chandrayaan-1 is India's first unmanned lunar orbiter and included an impact probe. It achieved Lunar orbit 8-November and remained in orbit for 312 days before the mission was called short. On the 14-November an impact probe was released making India the fourth country to impact the moon. Communication was lost on 29-August-2009 and the mission was declared to be at an end.
2009-06-18
- USA
LCROSS and LRO Launched Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) are two unmanned lunar orbiters launched from the same rocket. On 9-October-2009 LCROSS impacted to moon in an attempt to throw up debris in an attempt to find water. After analysis this was confirmed by NASA 13-November. LRO is currently making detailed 3D maps of the lunar surface.
2011-02-24
- USA
Last Discovery shuttle mission STS-133 was the last mission for the space shuttle Discovery. The Discovery returned on the 9th-March-2011.
2011-05-16
- USA
Last Endeavour shuttle mission STS-134 was the last mission for the space shuttle Endeavour. The Endeavour was launched on the 16-May and landed on the 1st-June.
2011-07-08
- USA
Last Atlantis shuttle mission STS-135 was the last mission for the space shuttle Atlantis. The Atlantis landed 21-July for its retirement.
2011-07-21
- USA
End of Space Shuttle Programme With the landing of the space shuttle Atlantis from its STS-135 mission, the US space shuttle program was ended. The last three shuttles Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis were retired to various museums around the US.
2011-08-05
- USA
Juno Launched The Juno mission to Jupiter was launched on 5th-August-2011 and should reach Jupiter around August 2016 for a one year mission.
2011-09-29
- China
Tiangong Launched Tiangong was China's first orbiting docking station. Launched 29-September-2011 it was first visited by Shenzhou-8 for an unmanned docking practice on 3-November-2011.
2011-11-26
- USA
Curiosity Launched
Mars Landers
Launched 26-November-2011, the Mars Science Lab with the largest and heaviest Mars rover to date (Curiosity) landed with the aid of a sky crane on Mars 6-August-2012.
2012-06-16
- China
Shenzhou 9 launch Shenzhou 9 was the first manned craft to dock with the Tiangong space station. It was also the first mission to feature a female Taikonaut and the first time an existing Taikonaut was to return to space. The docking occurred on the 18th-June and the mission returned to Earth on the 29-June lasting some 13 days, making it their longest mission to date.
2013-12-01
- China
Chang'e 3/Yutu launch Chang'e 3 was China's first lunar orbiter/lander and featured China's first lunar rover (Yutu). Launched on December 1st Chang'e 3 entered lunar orbit December 6th and the landing occurred December 14th, making China the third nation to achieve a soft landing on the Moon and the first since 1976.


SPACE VEHICLE COMPARISONS


An approximate scale comparison of the major manned space vehicles of the last fifty years
LAUNCH VEHICLES
SPACE ORBITERS


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