October 4 - The Soviet Union launched the first satellite, Sputnik, into space.
November 3 - The Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 was launched with a dog named Laika on board. Laika did not survive the voyage.
January 31 - Explorer 1 was the first satellite launched by the United States when it was sent into orbit on January 31, 1958. It was designed and built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the California Institute of Technology. The satellite was sent aloft from Cape Canaveral in Florida by the Jupiter C rocket that was designed, built, and launched by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) under the direction of Dr. Wernher Von Braun.
August 19 - The Soviet craft Sputnik 5 was launched, carrying the dogs Strelka and Belka. They became the first living beings to survive a trip into space.
Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.
Astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space.
President Kennedy challenged the country to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
Astronaut John Glenn became the first American in orbit.
Valentina Nikolayeva Tereshkova became the first woman in space.
While tethered to his spacecraft, cosmonaut Alexi Leonov became the first man to walk in space.
Astronaut Ed White became the first American to walk in space.
The spacecraft Mariner 4 transmitted the first pictures of Mars.
The Russian spacecraft Luna 9 became the first spacecraft to land on the moon.
Surveyor 1 became the first American spacecraft to land on the moon.
Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were killed in an accidental fire in a command module on the launch pad.