The urgency and importance of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center's mission in the 1960s was apparent from the beginning. It became even more apparent on April 12, 1962, when the Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, became the first man in space.
An international trio of astronauts blasted off in a Russian Soyuz rocket Wednesday, and are en route to the International Space Station.
NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers plan to do 57 experiments during five months on the International Space Stations.
Officials from NASA and the European Space Agency have pitched in to help save the Russian Phobos-Grunt probe, which was supposed to fly to a Martian moon to collect soil samples but is instead stuck in orbit around Earth.