Milestones in space
From sending rhesus monkeys into orbit to India's launch of a lunar probe, a hitchhiker's guide to exploration of the universe.
March 16, 1926: American scientist Robert Goddard launches first liquid-fueled rocket.Skip to next paragraph
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June 11, 1948: The US launches a V-2 Blossom rocket carrying a rhesus monkey into space from White Sands, N.M.
Aug. 15, 1951: Dezik and Tsygan become the first canines lifted into suborbit as part of the Soviets' R-1 rocket program.
Oct. 4, 1957: The Soviet Union launches the first space satellite, Sputnik-1.
Jan. 31, 1958: The US launches Explorer 1, a scientific satellite that later reveals that Earth is surrounded by bands of radiation.
Oct. 1, 1958: NASA is created.
Jan. 2, 1959: The Soviet Union launches Luna 1, the first artificial object to leave Earth's orbit.
Aug. 7, 1959: NASA sends aloft Explorer 6, which provides the first photographs of Earth from space.
Oct. 18, 1963: France launches a cat, Felix, into space.
June 3, 1965: Ed White, during the Gemini 4 mission, becomes the first American to walk in space.
March 1, 1966: The Soviet Union lands the first spacecraft, Venera 3, on Venus.
Oct. 10, 1967: 93 countries sign the Outer Space Treaty, declaring the cosmos open to exploration but prohibits military bases.
April 24, 1970: China launches its first satellite, Dongfanghong-1.
July 15-24, 1975: In their first partnership, Russia and the US test docking Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft.
July 20, 1976: America's Viking 1 becomes the first probe to land on Mars.
Dec. 24, 1979: The European Space Agency launches its first rocket, the Ariane 1, into space.
Jan. 28, 1986: US space shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds after liftoff, killing seven astronauts and grounding the program.
Feb. 1, 2003: US space shuttle Columbia disintegrates on reentry, killing seven astronauts and grounding the shuttle program again.
Oct. 15, 2003: China launches its first man into space.
Oct. 22, 2008: India sends a space probe to the moon.