List of space exploration milestones, 1957–1969
||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Timeline of the Space Race and Timeline of space exploration. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2013.|
This is a list of first achievements in spaceflight from the first artificial satellite through the Moon landing. It focuses primarily on Space Race accomplishments that led to the first manned landing on the Moon. Missions are given in order of launch date.
|First ICBM (used to launch Sputnik, etc.)||August 1957||USSR||R-7 Semyorka|
|First artificial satellite in Earth orbit||October 1957||USSR||Sputnik 1|
|First animal in orbit (Laika)||November 1957||USSR||Sputnik 2|
|First communications satellite (lasted 12 days)||December 1958||USA||SCORE|
|First solar probe||March 1960||USA||Pioneer 5|
|First weather satellite ||April 1960||USA||TIROS-1|
|First object successfully recovered from orbit||August 1960||USA||Discoverer 13|
|First animals returned safely from orbit||August 1960||USSR||Korabl-Sputnik 2|
|First operational navigation satellite||1960||USA||Transit|
|First person (and man) in space Yuri Gagarin||April 1961||USSR||Vostok 1|
|First person to land inside his spacecraft therefore completing the first complete human spaceflight. First person to manually pilot his spacecraft. Alan Shepard||May 1961||USA||Freedom 7|
|First crewed mission lasting a full day. Gherman Titov||August 1961||USSR||Vostok 2|
|First commercially useful communications satellite||July 1962||USA||Telstar|
|First simultaneous flight of crewed spacecraft. Andriyan Nikolayev and Pavel Popovich||August 1962||USSR||Vostok 3 and Vostok 4|
|First woman in space. Valentina Tereshkova||June 1963||USSR||Vostok 6|
|Longest crewed solo orbital flight. Valery Bykovsky||June 1963||USSR||Vostok 5|
|First geosynchronous satellite||July 1963||USA||Syncom 2|
|First successful rocket capable of sending a mission to land on the Moon (Saturn V)||November 1967||USA||Apollo 4|
|First human space mission to travel beyond Earth's influence. First human space mission to another celestial body.||December 1968||USA||Apollo 8|
|First human space mission that involves manned landing on another celestial body.||July 1969||USA||Apollo 11|
The Soviet space program pioneered many aspects of space exploration.
Two days after the United States announced its intention to launch an artificial satellite, on July 31, 1956, the Soviet Union announced its intention to do the same. Sputnik 1 was launched on October 4, 1957, beating the United States and stunning people all over the world.
- 1957: First intercontinental ballistic missile, the R-7 Semyorka
- 1957: First satellite, Sputnik 1
- 1957: First animal to enter Earth orbit, the dog Laika on Sputnik 2
- 1959: First firing of a rocket in Earth orbit, first man-made object to escape Earth's orbit, Luna 1
- 1959: First data communications, or telemetry, to and from outer space, Luna 1.
- 1959: First man-made object to pass near the Moon, first artificial satellite in Solar orbit, Luna 1
- 1959: First probe to impact the Moon, Luna 2
- 1959: First images of the Moon's far side, Luna 3
- 1960: First animals to safely return from Earth orbit, the dogs Belka and Strelka on Korabl-Sputnik 2.
- 1960: First probe launched to Mars, Marsnik 1 (failed to reach target)
- 1961: First probe launched to Venus, Venera 1
- 1961: First person in space (International definition) and in Earth orbit, Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1, Vostok programme
- 1961: First person to spend over a day in space Gherman Titov, Vostok 2 (also first person to sleep in space).
- 1962: First dual crewed spaceflight, Vostok 3 and Vostok 4
- 1963: First woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, Vostok 6
- 1964: First multi-person crew (3), Voskhod 1
- 1965: First EVA, by Aleksei Leonov, Voskhod 2
- 1965: First probe to hit another planet (Venus), Venera 3
- 1966: First probe to make a soft landing on and transmit from the surface of the Moon, Luna 9
- 1966: First probe in lunar orbit, Luna 10
- 1967: First automated, crewless rendezvous and docking, Cosmos 186/Cosmos 188. (Until 2006, this had remained the only major space achievement that the US had not duplicated.)
- 1969: First docking between two crewed crafts in Earth orbit and exchange of crews, Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5
Robotic lunar missions
|First probe to go near the Moon (5995 km), went into heliocentric orbit||January 1959||USSR||Luna 1|
|First probe to impact the Moon||September 1959||USSR||Luna 2|
|First probe to photograph the far side of the Moon||October 1959||USSR||Luna 3|
|First automated landing on the Moon, first to transmit from the Moon's surface||January 1966||USSR||Luna 9|
|First probe to orbit the Moon||March 1966||USSR||Luna 10|
|First probe to land using retrorockets||June 1966||USA||Surveyor 1|
|First probe to map the Moon||August 1966||USA||Lunar Orbiter 1|
|First person in space, first person to orbit the Earth||April 1961||USSR||Vostok 1|
|First manual control of a crewed spacecraft, first person to land inside his spacecraft therefore completing the first true complete human spaceflight||May 1961||USA||Freedom 7|
|First one-day flight||August 1961||USSR||Vostok 2|
|Two spacecraft launched into nearly intersecting orbits.
(Mistakenly reported as first rendezvous.)
|August 1962||USSR||Vostok 3 and Vostok 4|
|First flight over three days long||August 1962||USSR||Vostok 3|
|First woman in space||June 1963||USSR||Vostok 6|
|First multi-person crew (3) aboard one spacecraft||October 1964||USSR||Voskhod 1|
|First spacewalk (EVA)||March 1965||USSR||Voskhod 2|
|First crewed spacecraft to change orbit||March 1965||USA||Gemini 3|
|First crewed mission over seven days long (long enough for a mission to the Moon and back)||August 1965||USA||Gemini 5|
|Two spacecraft maneuvering to close proximity under fine control.
The first rendezvous in space.
|December 1965||USA||Gemini 6A|
|Longest flight of the decade (13 days, 18 hours)||December 1965||USA||Gemini 7|
|First docking with another spacecraft||March 1966||USA||Gemini 8|
|First crewed mission to leave Earth orbit, first to orbit the Moon, first human spaceflight mission to escape Earth's influence and first spacecraft of any type to perform Trans-Earth injection||December 1968||USA||Apollo 8|
|First docking between two crewed spacecraft in Earth orbit, also the first crew exchange in space||January 1969||USSR||Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5|
|First successful crewed flight of a spacecraft capable of landing on the Moon (Apollo Lunar Module)||March 1969||USA||Apollo 9|
|First crewed landing on the Moon||July 1969||USA||Apollo 11|
Robotic planetary missions
|First flyby of Venus (< 100,000 km), but contact was lost||February 1961||USSR||Venera 1|
|First successful flyby of Venus (less than 35,000 km)||August 1962||USA||Mariner 2|
|First Mars flyby (11,000 km) but contact was lost||November 1962||USSR||Mars 1|
|First successful Mars flyby (returned pictures)||November 1964||USA||Mariner 4|
|First impact of Venus (contact lost)||November 1965||USSR||Venera 3|
|First to enter Venus's atmosphere||June 1967||USSR||Venera 4|
|First to parachute in Venus's atmosphere, lost contact before landing.||January 1969||USSR||Venera 5|
- Project SCORE (December 1958) broadcast a delayed relayed message and tested satellite communications.
- Vanguard 2 returned data on the amount of cloud cover in February 1959
- Used an airbag to survive 15 meter/second impact
- G. Salakhutdinov, in a Russian periodical from 1990, relates the following quote :
"The group flight ... well, a day after the launch, the first craft was over Baykanur. If the second craft were launched now with great precision, then they would turn out to be next to each other in space. And that's what was done ... The craft turned out to be 5 kilometers from each other! Well, since, with all of the secrecy, we didn't tell the whole truth, the Western experts, who hadn't figured it out, thought that our Vostok was already equipped with orbital approach equipment. As they say, a sleight of hand isn't any kind of fraud. It was more like our competitors deceived themselves all by their lonesome. Of course, we didn't shatter their illusions."
- First Deputy Chief Designer Vasily Mishin
-- G. Salakhutdinov, "Once more about space, interview with Academician Vasiliy Pavlovich Mishin former chief designer of rocket-space equipment" (English title), Ogenek 34 (August 18–25, 1990):4-5.
Translation at http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20000088626_2000122281.pdf , page 379.
- The USSR's supposed rendezvous was two spacecraft launched into nearly intersecting (but not identical) orbits, but never coming closer than five kilometers. Space historians indicate that the first true rendezvous was in 1965, when Gemini 6A shifted its orbit and maneuvered to and remained within 30 cm (about 1 foot) of Gemini 7. (A rendezvous is a precursor to docking, although Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 did not dock.) For further clarification and references, see Space rendezvous.
- Vostok 3
- Gemini 6