50 years of access to space

Russia U.S. Europe Rest of the world
1957-1961
Oct. 1957 - Russia launches the world's first satellite, Sputnik 1, on an R-7 missile

Apr. 1961 - Vostok 1

Yuri Gagarin is the first man in orbit

Jan. 1958 - First successful U.S. launch to orbit: Explorer 1 is lofted by a Juno rocket Apr. 1960 - The UK cancels the Blue Streak missile programme and proposes to turn it into the first stage of a European launcher  
1962-1966
Jun. 1963 - Valentina Tereshkova is launched aboard Vostok 6 and becomes the first woman to fly in space Feb. 1962 - John Glenn becomes the first U.S. astronaut in space when he orbits the Earth on Friendship 7 Mar. 1962 - Preliminary work begins on ELDO's Europa rocket based on Blue Streak

Jun. 1964 - First development flight of Europa

Nov. 1965 - France launches its first satellite Asterix from the Diamant launcher

 
1967-1971
1969-1972 - Four failed attempts to launch the N-1 rocket Nov. 1967 - First launch of Saturn 5

July 1969 - Apollo 11, first manned Moon landing

1968-1971 - Four failed orbital launch attempts with ELDO's Europa rocket

Oct. 1971 - Prospero on Black Arrow: the first successful UK launch to orbit

Feb. 1970 - Japan launches its first satellite

Apr. 1970 - China launches its first satellite

1972-1976
Jul. 1975 - Apollo-Soyuz: first joint U.S./Soviet manned space mission Aug. 1973 - Europe decides to develop Ariane and Spacelab

1974 - ELDO is merged into ESA

 
1977-1981
Jan. 1978 - First flight of the Soyuz-based Progress freighter

1978-1981 - Astronauts from Eastern Europe are flown on Soyuz missions

Apr. 1981 - First flight of the Space Shuttle Dec. 1979 - First Ariane launch

Mar. 1980 - Arianespace is founded

Jul. 1980 - India's first successful launch to orbit
1982-1986
    Jun. 1982 - Jean-Loup Chrétien becomes the first western European in space when he takes part in the Soyuz T6 mission

Nov. 1983 - Ulf Merbold is ESA's first astronaut in space on Spacelab 1

Apr. 1984 - India's first astronaut flies on Soyuz T11
1987-1991
May 1987 - First launch of Energiya

Nov. 1988 - Unique flight of the Buran space shuttle

  1987-1991 - ESA studies the Hermes spaceplane

Jun. 1988 - First launch of Ariane 4

Sep. 1988 - Israel launches its first satellite

Dec. 1990 - Japan's first astronaut flies on Soyuz TM11

1992-1996
    Jun. 1996 - First launch of Ariane 5

Aug. 1996 - Starsem is founded

 
1997-2001
    Oct. 1998 - Flight of the ARD

Feb. 1999 - Starsem begins launching Soyuz

Dec. 2000 - ESA initiates development of Vega

 
2001-2006
  Jan. 2004 - NASA decides to retire the Space Shuttle by 2010

Aug. 2006 - NASA starts development of the Orion capsule

Feb. 2004 - ESA approves building a Soyuz launch pad in French Guiana Oct. 2003 - Launch of Shenzhou 5 with Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut
2007

Last update: 14 July 2009

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