Space race

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  • August, 1955

    The United States announces they intend to launch the first artificial satellite into space, and the USSR responds by creating a satellite of their own.
  • October, 1957

    October, 1957
    The USSR successfully launches the first earth-orbiting satellite to space, named Sputnik-1.
    Sputnik had a huge impact on the psychology of the Cold War as many Americans saw it as a Soviet military threat
  • November, 1957

    November, 1957
    The USSR becomes the first nation to successfully send a living organism to space by sending a dog named Laika on satellite Sputnik-2
  • January, 1958

    January, 1958
    The US launches its first satellite to reach orbit: Explorer 1, entering the Space Race. It carried experimental equipment that led to the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belt.
  • October, 1958

    October, 1958
    The US creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in an urge to create something of an equal caliber and bring themselves back ahead the Russians technologically after their success with Sputnik 1
  • December, 1958

    December, 1958
    The US launches the world's first communications satellite, named SCORE. They became the first nation to broadcast a human voice from space by broadcasting a pre-recorded Christmas message from president Eisenhower.
  • January, 1959

    January, 1959
    The USSR launches Luna 1, which becomes the first human-made object to orbit the Sun instead of the Earth
  • September, 1959

    September, 1959
    The USSR creates the first spacecraft to reach the moon's surface, and launches Luna 2
  • October, 1959

    October, 1959
    The US launches the world's first weather satellite and obtains the first pictures of earth from space, named Explorer 6.
  • August, 1960

    August, 1960
    Two dogs and a range of plants are returned alive from space aboard the URSS' Sputnik 5
  • April, 1961

    April, 1961
    The URSS achieves a clear victory on the Space Race by sending Yuri Gagarin to space aboard the Vostok 1. The nation becomes first to send a human to do a single orbit around earth and returning successfully.
  • May, 1961

    May, 1961
    The US achieves the first- controlled journey and first American in space with Alan Shepard.
  • June, 1963

    June, 1963
    Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space and orbits the earth almost three days aboard Vostok 6.
  • March, 1965

    Alexei Leonov leaves his spacecraft on a specialized suit and the URSS becomes the First Nation to perform a moonwalk
  • July, 1965

    July, 1965
    The US satellite Mariner 4 performs the first voyage to Mars, and returns with the first close pictures of the surface.
  • 1967

    This year proves the most deadly of the Space Race for both the US and Soviet Union. American astronauts Ed White, Gus Grissom, and Roger Chaffee die when a fire ignited in their Apollo 1 capsule on the launch pad. A few months later the Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov is also killed when the parachute on his Soyuz 1 capsule fails to open on his reentry into Earth's atmosphere.
  • December, 1968

    December, 1968
    US spacecraft Apollo 8 reaches the moon, orbits it and successfully returns to earth, human-crewed
  • July, 1969

    July, 1969
    Neil Armstrong and later Edwin Aldrin become the first men to walk on the Moon while their crewmate Michael Collins continues to orbit the Moon aboard the Apollo 11. This secured a victory for America in the Space Race with a televised landing witnessed around the world by 723 million people.
  • April, 1970

    April, 1970
    Apollo 13 is known as the first mission where the crew survived after an on-board explosion. The famous "Houston we have a problem".
  • April, 1971

    April, 1971
    The URSS launches the first space station MIR
  • August, 1971

    August, 1971
    David Scott, commander of the Apollo 15 mission, becomes the first person to drive on the moon. He also commemorated the US and URSS men who died during space missions.
  • July, 1975

    July, 1975
    With tensions between the US and USSR softening, the first cooperative Apollo-Soyuz mission is launched. With two separate flights, the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft dock in space and the two commanders Tom Stafford and Alexei Leonov exchange the first international handshake. This act can be seen to symbolically end the Space Race, paving the way for future joint missions, such as the International Space Station and the Shuttle-Mir programme.
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    Space Race