This month marks the 50th anniversary of Sputnik, the former U.S.S.R.’s bold launch that sent machinery into space on Oct. 4, 1957. Since Sputnik, 6,039 spacecraft have been flung from Earth.
Following is a brief history of Space exploration in the past 50 years and (my) top 10 high points:
1960: U.S. spy satellite Co rona takes first photograph of the Earth from space.
1961: The first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, on the U.S.S.R.’s Vostok 1.
1968 : Zond 5 makes the first round trip to the Moon – with a payload of turtles.
1969: The Apollo missions take humans out of Earth’s orbit for the first time.
1969: The U.S. – and the world – saw the first humans walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.
1972: Marks the end of the first Moon era, as Apollo 17 Astronauts Captain Gene Cernan and Dr. Harrison Schmitt became the last men to walk on the Moon.
1976: Viking 1 makes first Mars landing.
1998: International space station begins construction – over a
period of 12 years.
1999: China’ puts three men in space and accomplishes soft landing.
2005: The U.S. New Horizons head for Pluto.