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Space History introduction

This page is far from complete and should
be considered as a personal notebook.

See also SpaceLaunch

...for more current events.

Note: events listed below are all successful or partially successful.

The beginning

  • 1942, Germany, first rocket in space: V2 missile

Space Race

  • 1957, Soviet Union, first artificial satellite: Sputnik I on R-7 ICBM rocket
  • 1957, Soviet Union, first animal launched into orbit: Laika,
  • 1959, Soviet Union, first successful lunar/moon mission's: Luna 2 and Luna 3 ( List_of_missions_to_the_Moon).
    • Notable fact: Luna 3 provided first image showing the far side of the Moon was very different from the near side in its lack of lunar maria (the dark areas); similar missions by America where done 5 years later in 1964 with Ranger 7 and 1965 with Ranger 8.
  • 1961, Soviet Union, first human to travel into space: Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1 spacecraft
    • 1961, USA, second person in space (for only 15min): Alan Shepard in the Freedom 7 Mercury capsule #7 on Redstone #3 booster (MR-3),
    • 1962, USA, first American in orbit: John Glenn in the Friendship 7 Mercury capsule - 10 months after Gagarin.
  • 1963, Soviet Union, first woman in space: Valentina Tereshkova on Vostok 6.
    • Notable fact: first American woman in space was Sally Ride in 1983 - 20 years (yes, years) after the Soviet Union.
  • 1965, Soviet Union, First Spacewalk or extravehicular activity (EVA): Alexey Leonov from Voskhod-2 spacecraft for 12min (nearly ended in tragedy)

Space Race "revolution"

  • 1965, USA, First Mars flyby and first images of another planet: Mariner 4 (launched end 1964)
  • 1966, USA, first radial acceleration / centripetal force experiment by Gemini XI (11) mission using a tethered satellite to achieve some like "artificial gravity". See also 1996 STS-75.
  • 1967, USA, first Saturn V flight during the Apollo 4 mission.
    • Notable fact: last flight was in 1973 (for the Skylab space station) and remained the most powerful rocket ever for centuries to come.
  • 1968, USA, First orbital manned mission to the Moon (no landing) during Apollo 8 mission on Saturn V rocket with Frank Borman, James Lovell, William Anders.
  • 1969, USA, first man on the moon (including first soft landing & sample return): Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins during Apollo 11 mission on Saturn V rocket.
  • 1971, Soviet Union, First Mars soft landing and surface image: Mars 3 - space probe and rover failed shortly after landing.
  • 1971, Soviet Union, First space station with true docking and crew exchange: Salyut 1 (DOS-1)
    • Notable info: the mission success was mixed, much of the experience was a stage for the later MIR station; Soviet diary is found here.
  • 1972, USA, First human-made object sent on escape trajectory away from the Sun: Pioneer 10
    • thumb: interstellar spacecrafts
  • 1974, USA, First Mercury flyby: Mariner 10

Space Race "the end"

Other Space Race references:

Post Space Race events

  • 1988, first (and only) flight Buran spacecraft (after USA Space Shuttle First flight in 1981).
    • Opinion: Russia stopped the program because they realized it would be a money sink that actually costs more then launching new rockets, while the US continued the "re-usability" story... and eventually that is why we fly people to the ISS (in 2017) on Russian rockets.
  • 1996, Tethered Satellite System experiment during STS-75; this experiment was preceded by the Gemini XI (11) mission in 1966.
    • references: 1, 2
    • opinion: not sure why they they did not try to improve this. Alternative features: primary & secondary backup modules, (dynamic/variable) counterbalanced module, strutted modules with center section for docking.
  • 1998, first launch International Space Station (ISS)
  • 2011, last shuttle flight, the end of a dark space era: Atlantis, STS-135
  • 2012, first commercial docking to ISS: SpaceX CRS-1
  • 202?, Mars and/or back to the moon?

(New/Commercial) Space Race II, a visionary revolution by individuals.

People label these as commercial space evolution, but financially they did not make much sense - if it where not for the chance of a space fairing extinction capability event in the western world; where dino-corporations like Boeing/ULA have to re-invent themselves to stay in business against the new-age space startups.

Exploration & mission info

Venus missions (in short)


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Page last modified on August 17, 2018, at 11:05 AM