Race For The Moon

1957

Oct. 4: Soviet Union stuns world by putting world's first artificial satellite in orbit. Sputnik (SPOOT-nik; "co-traveler," in Russian) beeps for 21 days before its batteries wear out. It falls to Earth in January.

Nov. 3: Soviets launch Sputnik 2, with dog Laika ("barker") aboard.

Dec. 6: The United States rocket carrying Vanguard, first US satellite attempt, rises two feet off the launch pad before collapsing in flames.

1958

Jan. 31: Explorer I, America's third try, orbits successfully, staying aloft 12 years. In October, NASA is founded.

1959

Feb. 28: US launches its first spy satellite, Discoverer 1, part of top-secret Corona program. Discoverer 13 (Aug. 10, 1960) is first unqualified success.

Sep. 12: USSR's Luna 2 is first to crash-land on moon. In October, Luna 3 takes first photos of moon's far side.

1960

April 1: TIROS 1, first of a series of successful US meteorological satellites, is launched.

Aug. 12: US launches ECHO 1, a radio-reflective balloon 100 feet in diameter. It is first passive communications satellite.

1961

April 12: Yuri Gagarin is first human in space, orbiting Earth once on a two-hour flight. America's Alan Shepard follows with a 15-minute suborbital flight May 5.

May 25: President Kennedy announces the national goal of landing a man on the moon by decade's end.

1962

Feb. 20: John Glenn is first American to orbit Earth in a five-hour, three-orbit flight. Six months earlier, a Soviet cosmonaut had spent 25 hours in space, 17 orbits.

July 10: Telstar 1, first commercial communications satellite, transmits TV images between US and Europe.

Aug. 26: Mariner 2, US probe to Venus, passes within 22,000 miles of the planet on Dec. 14.

1964

Oct. 12: Voskhod I (USSR), first three-man crew to orbit Earth.

1965

March 18: First walk in space (20 minutes) on Voskhod 2.

June 1: US astronaut spends 22 minutes outside Gemini IV.

December: Gemini V rendezvous with Gemini VI on docking test.

1966

More US space walks and docking practice; tests of Apollo lunar-landing craft begin. Soviet manned program is silent.

1967

Jan. 27: Three-man US Apollo crew dies in launch-pad fire during countdown test.

1968

March 2: Practice moon shot by Soviets; unmanned.

December: Man-around-moon flight by Soviets is canceled.

1969

May 18: Apollo 10 crew tests Lunar Module in around-the-moon flight.

July 16: Apollo 11 launched. Four days later, Neil Armstrong is first man to set foot on the moon.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK