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space travel

First rocket in space.

1942

In 1942 the German V2 was the first rocket to reach 100km from the Earth’s surface (the boundary of space).

The rocket was designed by Wernher Von Braun, who later worked with NASA as the creator of the rockets that went to the moon.

First animal in space.

1947

In 1947, the first animals were launched into space. Fruit flies were used to study the effects of space travel on animals, and were chosen because they are more similar to humans than you might imagine!

The flies travelled with a supply of corn to eat on the flight.

First monkey in space.

1949

Albert II, was the first monkey in space. He was a Rhesus monkey, a type of monkey that originally comes from Asia.

Albert went into space on 14th June, 1949 in a specially adapted American V2 rocket, that flew to a height of 83 miles from earth.

First saterlite in space.

1957

On 4th October 1957, Russia launched the first satellite into space; Sputnik 1, and the space age had properly begun!

Sputnik was the first satellite in orbit around the earth. Today there are over 500 working satellites in space. Sputnik means "Satellite" in Russian.

First dog in space.

1957

On 4th October 1957, Russia launched the first satellite into space; Sputnik 1, and the space age had properly begun!

Sputnik was the first satellite in orbit around the earth. Today there are over 500 working satellites in space. Sputnik means "Satellite" in Russian.

America v Russia (race)

1959

By 1959 Both American and Russian scientists were in a race to get a spacecraft to the Moon; the Russians made it first.

Space-probe Luna 2 crash-landed into the moon at a speed that would kill an astronaut if one had been travelling in it! It was ten more years until a human visited the moon's surface.

First man in space.

1961

On 12th April 1961, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. Gagarin's spacecraft, Vostok 1, completed one orbit of the earth, and landed about two hours after launch.

Gagarin had to bail out and land using his parachute, because the Vostok 1 was designed to crash land!

First women in space.

1963

The first woman in space was Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.

After her 1963 mission, Valentina became an important member of the Russian Government, and has been awarded many honours and prizes for her achievements. A crater on the far side of the Moon is named after her!

Moon landings.

Anouncment of man on moon.

1966

In 1963 US President John F. Kennedy promised the world that the US would land men on the moon before 1970. Before risking people's lives, NASA sent a robot spaceship, to make sure they could land safely.

It was called Surveyor 1, and it made the second soft landing on the Moon on 30th May 1966, a few months after Russian probe Luna 9 landed successfully

Surveyor 1.

1966

Once it had landed on the moon, the robotic spaceship Surveyor 1 started taking photographs of the moon's surface, which it transmitted back to excited scientists in America and around the world.

The scientists used this vital information about the terrain to work out how they might land people on the moon safely.

First man on Moon.

1969

On 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong, and then Buzz Aldrin took "one small step" and became the first men on the moon. The first words said on the moon were "the Eagle has landed". Their spaceship, Apollo 11 worked perfectly, flying them 250,000 miles to the moon, and bringing them all the way back safely to earth. Buzz was a childhood nickname - his real name was Edwin!

Explosion at Apolo 13.

1970

On 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong, and then Buzz Aldrin took "one small step" and became the first men on the moon. The first words said on the moon were "the Eagle has landed". Their spaceship, Apollo 11 worked perfectly, flying them 250,000 miles to the moon, and bringing them all the way back safely to earth. Buzz was a childhood nickname - his real name was Edwin!

Lunar Rover.

1971

From 1971 American astronauts on the fourth, fifth and sixth Apollo missions enjoyed use of a moon car to explore the moon. Known as the Lunar Rover, it was electric powered, and had a top speed of 8mph.

It was designed and developed in only 17 months, by Boeing, the aeroplane company famous for making the Jumbo Jet.

Mars 2.

1973

In 1973, Russian space probe Mars 2 explored Mars, the fourth planet of the solar system.

The probe was made of two parts. One part stayed in orbit for a year, sending pictures of Mars back to earth. The other was to land and explore the surface of Mars, but it was destroyed when its parachute failed to open.

New rocket.

1981

Until 12th April 1981 all spacecraft were designed to be used only once. The Space Shuttle, was designed to be reused for up to 100 visits to space, in an attempt to make space travel less expensive.

With five hugely powerful rocket motors, it can fly at more than 17,000 miles per hour. Six have been built.

Space station facts.

MIR space station

1986

The MIR space station was built in sections, each piece launched by a rocket and then joined together in orbit. Construction started in 1986, with the last piece being fitted ten years later!

MIR was the first consistently inhabited long-term space station. MIR was destroyed in 2001 when it burned up as it crashed back to earth.

Helen Sharman in MIR space station

1991

In 1989, Helen Sharman entered a competition to become the first British astronaut in space. After 18 months of intensive training, Helen was part of a Russian mission to the MIR space station.

She spent eight days in space conducting scientific experiments. She used to work for the sweet company that makes Mars bars!