26 Of The First Things To Ever Happen In Space

To infinity and beyond!

1957: The first artificial satellite is launched into Earth's orbit.

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A Soviet technician works on the mechanics of the Sputnik 1 satellite in 1957.

1957: A doggo named Laika becomes the first animal launched into orbit.

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Laika, a Russian cosmonaut dog, sits in a training module in1957. Sadly, Laika did not survive the mission.

1961: A chimpanzee named Ham becomes the first animal to interact with the module while in space.

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On Jan. 31, 1961, a Mercury-Redstone launch from Cape Canaveral carried a chimpanzee named Ham (seated here in the biopack couch for the MR-2 suborbital test flight) over 640 kilometers down range in an arching trajectory that reached a peak of 254 kilometers above the Earth. The mission was successful and Ham performed his lever-pulling task well in response to the flashing light.

1961: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space.

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Yuri Gagarin is secured tightly in the Vostok 1 capsule.

1961: Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space.

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American astronaut Alan Shepard makes his way to safety aboard the rescue ship, shortly after his splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean on May 5, 1961. Shepard completed a 15-minute suborbital flight to an altitude of 115 miles in the Freedom 7 capsule.

1962: John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth.

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Aboard the rescue ship, Lt. Col. John Glenn smiles with relief after completing his mission in February 1962.

1963: Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space.

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In this picture from June 1963, Valentina Tereshkova is pictures training at Moscow's space center.

1965: Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov becomes the first person to walk in space.

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In this still from the documentary film The Man Walking in Space, which followed Russian astronaut Alexei Leonov on his famous orbit in the spacecraft Voskhod 2, Leonov floats freely in space for a total of 10 minutes.

1968: The US's Apollo 8 becomes the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon.


Col. Frank Borman (left), William Anders (center), and James Lovell (right) celebrate on the flight deck of the carrier USS Yorktown after completing their mission on Dec. 27, 1968.

1969: American astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to step foot on the moon.

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Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the surface of the moon with astronaut Neil Armstrong and the lunar module reflected in his helmet visor.

1970: The aborted Apollo 13 lunar mission makes it home safely after certain doom.

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Apollo 13 astronauts (left to right) Fred Haise, Jim Lovell, and Jack Swigert wave as they emerge frrom a rescue helicopter after ill-fated moon mission.

1971: Salyut 1 becomes the first space station in orbit.

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The Salyut 1 space station before its launch in 1971.

1975: The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project flight becomes the first US-Soviet collaboration in space.

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American astronauts Tom Stafford (left) and Deke Slayton hold up tubes of vodka given to them by Russian cosmonauts during this historic joint venture between the Apollo and Soyuz spacecrafts in 1975.

1977: The Voyager program launches the first satellites to reach interstellar space.

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In this illustration from 1977, the space probe Voyager 2 makes its way through our solar system on its investigative mission. On Aug. 25, 2012, the Voyager 1 probe signaled its crossing of the heliosphere, making it the first human-made object to launch into interstellar space.

1981: The first reusable spacecraft is launched.

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The space shuttle Columbia launches from Kennedy Space Center on April 12, 1981.

1983: Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.

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Sally K. Ride, STS-7 mission specialist, communicates with ground controllers from the flight deck of the Earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983.

1984: American astronaut Bruce McCandless makes the first untethered space walk in history.

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Astronaut Bruce McCandless conducts the first untethered space walk on Feb. 7, 1984.

1997: Mars Pathfinder becomes the first spacecraft to successfully land on the red planet.

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The Pathfinder spacecraft's Sojourner robotic rover prepares to begin exploring the surface of planet Mars.

1998: John Glenn becomes the oldest person ever in space.

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Astronaut Sen. John Glenn participates during a crew escape training on June 1, 1998, at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

2001: NEAR Shoemaker becomes the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.


In this picture, constructed from six images taken on Feb. 29, 2000, the asteroid Eros is seen from a distance of about 124 miles. NEAR Shoemaker touched down on the surface of Eros on Feb. 12, 2001.

2005: NASA nails a comet with a probe for a first look of what's inside.

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NASA's Deep Impact probe collides with comet Tempel 1 in this photograph taken by the spacecraft's medium-resolution camera 16 seconds after impact on July 3, 2005.

2012: The eXtreme Deep Field, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, becomes the deepest photo of space.

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Called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, the photo was assembled by combining 10 years of NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky at the center of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

2013: Commander Chris Hadfield of Canada films the first music video from space, covering David Bowie's "Space Oddity."


Chris Hadfield posted the video to YouTube on May 12, 2013.

2015: Lettuce becomes the first food eaten that was grown in space.

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Engineer Daniel Schubert holds lettuce at the German Aerospace Center on July 21, 2014, in Bremen, Germany. Scientists and engineers from the German Aerospace Center are developing greenhouses for a potential Mars colony.

2016: NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Mikhail Kornienko return home from a historic 340-day mission.

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Scott Kelly of NASA (left) and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos (right) celebrate their 300th consecutive day in space on Jan. 21, 2016. The pair spent a total of 340 days aboard the International Space Station as scientists seek to understand what happens to the human body while in microgravity for extreme lengths of time.

2018: The first consumer car is launched into space.

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In this handout photo provided by SpaceX, a Tesla roadster — launched from the Falcon Heavy rocket with a dummy driver named "Starman" — heads toward Mars on Feb. 6, 2018.