On October 4, 1957, the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into space
April 12, 1961, Russian Lt. Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth in Vostok 1
A national goal to land on the moon was set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and On July 20, 1969, Astronaut Neil Armstrong took “a giant step for mankind” as he stepped onto the moon.
By the end of the decade, the Voyager spacecraft had sent back detailed images of Jupiter and Saturn, their rings, and their moons.
By the early 1970s orbiting communications and navigation satellites were in everyday use, and the Mariner spacecraft was orbiting and mapping the surface of Mars
Skylab, America’s first space station, was a human-spaceflight highlight of the 1970s, as was the Apollo Soyuz Test Project, the world’s first internationally crewed (American and Russian) space mission.
And while the space shuttle will likely continue to carry out important space missions, the Columbia disaster in 2003 signaled the need for Future space launch systems to be designed to reduce costs and improve dependability, safety, and reliability.