The inventors Vitruvius
(Roman) and Heron of
Alexandria (Greek) came
up with a new invention that depended more on the mechanical interaction of heat and water.
They both draw on the much earlier work by
Ctesibius (Greek), a rocket-like
device called aeolipile,
which spins when heated.
Many sources give Heron
the credit for this invention based on its early 1st century AD design.
There are strong evidences of use of
sulfur in many medicinal combinations.
A Chinese alchemical text noted saltpeter burnt with a purple flame, which is a practical and reliable
means of distinguishing it from other inorganic salts.
The first mention of a mixture resembling
appeared in Taishang Shengzu Danjing Mijue by Qing Xuzi; describing a mix of six parts
six parts saltpeter
to one part birthwort herb
Writings indicate that the Chinese used
in battle. Fire arrows at that time, were traditional arrows tipped with flammable materials like
pitch, bitumen or resin.
During the Song Dynasty
(960–1279), the Chinese had adapted the use of gunpowder from
Certain writings of the era indicate that the Chinese used small explosive charges to send other
explosive charges into the air for entertainment.
The first recorded use of
occurred. An official named
wrote a complete account of the Chinese use of gunpowder called The
(Collection of the Most Important Military Techniques).
used by the
invaders during the attack of Qizhou, which were exploding
filled with gunpowder
rather than incendiary bombs filled with molten material.
The Chinese used rockets against the
who were besieging the city of
During this battle, the Mongols employed a potent form of
described as causing "thunder that shakes the heavens". These may have been primitive
launched by gunpowder
propelled fire arrows.
A single one of these was reportedly able to burn a 600 meter area.
an English Franciscan friar, becomes the first European to describe a mixture containing the essential
ingredients of "gunpowder".
To achieve a faster rate of burning, Bacon distills
(the oxygen producing ingredient). The original formula apparently came from
During the Yuan dynasty
(1271-1368), rocket weapons received further development, and many
types were invented.
Hasan al-Rammah, a Syrian military historian, included 107 gunpowder recipes, 22 of which for
rockets in "The Book of Fighting on Horseback and With War Engines".
Muratori, an Italian artificer, created a small
and used the word "rocchetta" (i.e. little fuse) to name it. This is believed to be
the first use of the word later translated in English as
French troops led by Joan of Arc
reportedly used rockets in their successful defense of the city of
A sixteenth-century Chinese official, named
attempted a "flight to the moon" using a large wicker
to which were fastened 47 large rockets.
In a moment after the assistants light the fuses, there was a tremendous roar accompanied by
billowing clouds of smoke. When the smoke cleared, both the flying chair and world's first
recorded "astronaut" were gone.
The use of rockets near
Belgorod city is recorded.
In Russia, Anisim Mikhailov,
a monk of the Ambassador Directorate, completes "The instruction of battle, artillery and other
affairs dealing with military science", which also describes rockets.
The book "La Pyrotechnie"
published by Hanzelet Lorraine, also described the construction of rockets.
1 - Newton's Third Law Of Motion stated, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction".
Which remains the fundamental principle of rocket
2 - Newton theorized that if an object could be fired fast enough and at a high enough altitude, it
would not fall, but could achieve an
3 - Newton theorized that the gravitational pulls of the
and the planets affect the orbits of one another. This led to an accepted "system of the world" which
predicted natural changes in the orbits of the known planets.
The Newtonian "system of the world" which predicted previously unexplained natural variations in
the orbital paths of the planets led directly to the discovery of
Neptune in 1846 and
Pluto in 1930.
examines rockets brought from India
in the Royal Laboratory, Woolwich,
England, but fails to reproduce
reported range or accuracy, some would not even lift from their stands.
Indian Hyder Ali
formed a rocketeer contingent made up of 1,200 men, which his son,
soon increased to 5,000, and have the opportunity to use them quite effectively
against the British in the first
Siege of Seringapatam.
Those rockets, weight from 2.7 to 5.4 kilograms, and have 2.4 to 3 meters balancing sticks
achieving a 2.4 kilometers range.
At the second
Siege of Seringapatam,
Indian soldiers launched a huge barrage of rockets against British troops, followed by an assault
of 36,000 men. The British would quickly sieze the opportunity to study these weapons, refine them
and introduce their own wartime rockets.
Rocketry was being developed in several countries and
Sir William Congreve,
at his own expense, began experimenting with rockets providing specifications for the manufacturing of
large rockets at Woolwich,
He designed and developed what will be called:
Within a year, he produces a 10.9-kilogram rocket with a 1,830-meter range. Later, he develops a
14.5-kilogram iron-cased rockets (107 centimeters long and 10-centimeters in diameter).
To increase the range, Congreve creates a faster-burning powder.
He introduced what would be called the
consisting of the practice of fastening a light cord to a rocket, then launching the rocket over a ship in
distress. Sailors then hauled in the cord, fastened a more sturdy rope to it and could either pull themselves
or be pulled to safety. Under certain rescue conditions, a similar practice is still in use today.
Royal Military Academy, Woolwich
publishes "A Treatise on the Motion of Rockets" by
The work includes a mathematical description of rocket trajectories, including their
movement in air and in vacuum.
An isolated account of the use of war rockets during this period occurred in
Russia, where some
Russian ships were reportedly armed with
for battles in the
The first two-stage rocket was introduced, for peaceful purposes.
increasing the range of rockets and allowing transportation of heavier cord.
What became known as the
was developed by British Lt. Colonel E.M. Boxer at the Royal Laboratory.
The rocket incorporated two gunpowder charges separated by a small charge of quick-burning powder.
As the first gunpowder charge "stage" burned itself out in an upward direction, it ignited the quick-burning
powder charge and fell away. The quick-burning powder charge then ignited the second gunpowder charge "stage"
which continued on toward its target.
were able to carry a durable half-inch hemp line a distance of about 300 meters.
The rockets were used in rescue line applications until shortly after World War I.
Sep. 14: The first part of
science fiction novel De la Terre à la Lune
("From the Earth to the Moon")
is published, predicting many aspects of space flight. The second and last part was published a month later.
Nikolai Sokovnin proposes an airship propelled by a jet engine, which uses compressed air.
The earliest known use of weapons specifically made for the anti-aircraft role occurred during the
is believed to have designed the first rocket propelled aircraft, and perhaps the first gimbaled engine.
had been imprisoned for designing the explosive device used to assassinate Czar
While awaiting execution, he apparently drew up a design for a wooden platform that could carry a pilot.
Under the platform was a vertically mounted thrust chamber.
was to be fed continuously into the
chamber and ignited. The resulting thrust would be used to raise the platform and keep it airborne.
In his papers, which did not surface until 1918,
suggested that the chamber could be tilted to
propel the platform and steer it in any direction. Although his designs never left the drawing board,
foresaw the gimbaled engine, a mainstay of modern rocketry.
May 27: German Herman Ganswindt,
gave a public speech in which he introduced his concept of a galactic vehicle (Weltenfahrzeug)
using a similar method to that of
for powering a manned rocket.
did not realize that exhaust pressure thrust downward would be sufficient to raise a vehicle, his idea
was quite interesting.
suggested that steel cartridges containing dynamite should be exploded one after the other within
a combustion chamber to raise the vehicle. Half of each cartridge would be ejected downward, while the
other half would be thrust upward to create lift for the vehicle.
It is perhaps good that the work of
never left the drawing board, because the dynamite thrust chamber he proposed would have doubtless
killed anyone trying to use it.
The first liquid-fueled rocket is proposed (supposedly)
Peruvian Pedro Paulet,
is believed to have conducted experiments in Paris using a rocket motor made of vanadium steel.
Reports written years later indicated that
designed a rocket motor of slightly more than 2 Kg, employing spark gap ignition that burned a combination
of nitrogen peroxide and gasoline within a combustion chamber. It was said to have been capable of producing
a 200-pound thrust at 300 sparks per minute and burn continuously for as much as one hour without suffering
any ill effects.
If true, this would credit
as the designer of the first liquid-fueled rocket.
Those facts have only came up in October 27, 1927 when a letter from
claiming legal ownership of his earlier rocket motor design, appeared in an issue of the Peruvian
publication "El Comercio".
At the time,
recognized that rocketry was beginning to boom in Europe, and he sought potential witnesses to help
verify the work he had done years earlier. The letter was circulated across the world by a Russian
named Alexander B. Scherschevsky in summary form.
As it turned out, the work of
was never authenticated. Had his work been confirmed by witnesses,
Pedro Paulet Mostajo
would today be considered the father of liquid propellant rocketry. But that honor
would go to another.
The Viennese magazine Der Zeit, carried an article about
Ganswindt's space travel ideas,
written by Prof. Dr. Roman Baron von Gostkowski, dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Lemberg.
May 31: In Russia,
the Nauchnoe Obozrenie (Scientific Review) magazine publishes the first part of
"The Exploration of the World's Space with Reactive Instruments" theoretical study of rocket fuels
and motor efficiency, in which he proposed the use of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as propellants.
I. V. Mesherskiy
publishes a theoretical work on physics of movement of a body with a changing mass.
defends a disseration evaluating burning of the gun powder in the enclosed volume.
a student enrolled in the Riga urban technical high school, became acquainted with the work of
and he soon becomes one of the most active developers of spaceflight ideas in
Sep. 18: The date on a manuscript by
which considered life support and other issues of the interplanetary travel.
Feb. 2: In the U.S.,
completes his first writing on the possibility of a liquid-fueled rocket.
By the age of 14
had already envisioned a "recoil rocket" that could propel itself through space by expelling exhaust
gases (from a liquid fuel) from its base.
He had no resources with which to test his model, but continued to develop his theories, all the while
teaching himself, from various books, the mathematics that he knew he’d need if he was to ever challenge
N. A. Sytenko designs a solid-propellant anti-aircraft rocket, featuring clusters of 5-6 rockets.
Apr. 20:Halley's Comet
makes a spectacular appearance during its close encounter with the
an interest in space among many, including future German rocket pioneer
A Belgian engineer, Georges Marconnet, patents a pulse-jet engine for use on the aircraft.
reaches a height of 6.4 kilometers in an air balloon, setting a Russian record.
published plans for a spacecraft built using combustible alloys of aluminum in its structure that
would take off like a conventional aircraft and then burn its wings for fuel as it reached the upper
atmosphere and no longer needed them.
The American Aeronautical Society is formed in the
based magazine Vestnik Vozdukhoplavaniya starts publication of a second part of
"Exploration of the World Space with Reactive Instruments" by
I. V. Volovsky, vice-director of Putilov Plant in
proposes a spinning missile launched from aircraft and automobiles and capable of striking aerial
and ground targets.
Russia's artillery committee
considers and rejects Volovsky's missile proposals.
At the meeting of the French Physical Society,
delivers a report entitled "The considerations on the Results of Unlimited Reduction in Engine Weight".
Nikolai Tikhomirov proposes a project of a solid-propellant rocket to the Russian Navy Ministry.
Engineer V. V. Ryumin publishes article "By the Rocket into the World's Space" in Priroda i Lyudi
magazine, which popularizes
The novel "On the Waves of Ephir" by Boris Krasnogorsky describes a spacecraft propelled by the
pressure of light and a water landing.
At age 16, Aleksandr Shargey
initiates research on the possibility of space flight.
Jul. 7: In the U.S.,
Robert Goddard registers two patents for a liquid-propellant rocket and a two- and
three-stage solid-propellant rocket.
publishes the 3rd part of the "The Exploration of the World's Space with Reactive Instruments".
The novel "Islands of Ephir Ocean" by Boris Krasnogorsky and D. Svyatsky describes an expedition to
Mar. 3: The U.S.
Congress creates Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
precursor of NASA.
Mar. 25: Aleksandr Shargey
completes one of his first manuscripts on spaceflight.
Aug. An envelope containing a proposal of a rocket-propelled flying vehicle by
is unsealed by a Russian space flight enthusiast
after 36 years in the archive in the wake of February revolution in
Jan. 14:Robert Goddard
writes "The Ultimate Migration" describing the exodus of the human civilization from a dying
onboard a nuclear-powered colony. The work would not be published until 1972.
Apr. The Byloye magazine publishes a description of a manned rocket-powered vehicle originally proposed by
demonstrates solid-propellant rocket
(Bazooka) at Aberdeen, Maryland.
A sci-fi novel "Beyond Earth" by
is published in Priroda i Lyudi magazine.
In a letter to the Soviet
government, Nikolai Tikhomirov proposes to organize a laboratory for the development of powder rockets.
(Aleksandr Shargey) writes "To those who will read to build", examining various aspects
of rocketry and space flight. Not published until 1964.
Mar. In a letter to the
discussed: photographing the Moon
and planets from rocket-powered fly-by probes, sending messages to distant civilizations on inscribed
metal plates, the use of solar energy in space, and the idea of high-velocity ion propulsion.
In that same letter,
clearly describes the concept of the
ablative heat shield,
which in fact is currently used by all modern spacecrafts.
develops a concept of a multi-stage liquid propellant space launcher.
A paper "Riches of the Universe" by
A Russian inventor, A. F. Andreev, requests a patent for a portable personal flight vehicle propelled
by a liquid engine burning oxygen and methane.
Mar. 1: Tikhomirov's rocket development lab is established in
conducts launches of 21 solid-propellant rockets at the Chief Artillery Range near
which demonstrate the capability of ten-fold increase in the range of existing munitions.
In the U.S.,
an engineer and businessman, publishes first issue of
an early sci-fi magazine, which made huge contribution into popularization of space flight.
A new and expanded edition of the "Exploration of the Outer Space with Reactive Vehicles" by
publishes "Die Fahrt ins Weltall" (Journey Into Space), popularizing astronautics.
A third-year student of
Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute
A. Sherbakov leads the formation of the jet propulsion research group in this eastern Ukrainian city.
Franz von Hoefft
founded in Vienna
the first space related society in Western Europe, the "Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Höhen-forschung"
(The Scientific Society for High Altitude Research) proposed the development of a variety of rocket engines.
The world's first exhibition of technology for interplanetary travel opens in
A visit to the event sparks an interest in space flight of
"Space Rockets. Experimental Development" by
Tsiolkovsky is published.
engineers at Tikhomirov's laboratory propose to use solid-propellant motors to assist in the
and André Louis-Hirsch (the son of an important Parisian banker, Baron Hirsch)
organized a dinner to discuss the future of the emerging science of space travel.
The guests discussed the name that should be given to the new science of spaceflight, when
J.H. Rosny the elder
proposed the word astronautique
This was it! The guest scientists adopted the word at once.
At the same eventful dinner, the guests also worked out the plan to establish an annual award in
also known by his initials as REP and Hirsch provided funds, 5000 francs annually for three years, to the
French Astronomical Society
for the REP-Hirsch International Astronautics Prize, or Prix REP-Hirsch.
In Austria, Baron
Guido von Pirquet
proposes a system of three space stations orbiting
Earth, while his countryman
gives engineering plans for such a station. Meanwhile, another Austrian, Franz A. von Ulinski,
publishes an advanced plan for a space vehicle with an electric propulsion system.
Tikhomirov's lab conducts test launches of rockets, burning smokeless powder, reaching range
of 1,300 (71) - 1,500 meters.
Apr. Tikhomirov's lab is renamed to
Gas Dynamics Laboratory,
GDL, and formally subordinated to
Military Research Committee of the Revolutionary Military Council of
Fritz Stamer's Ente
(Duck), the world's first aircraft powered by a solid-propellant rocket engine,
completes the first 1.2-kilometer flight in
Germany after a takeoff from a catapult.
publishes "L'exploration par fusees de la tres haute atmosphere et la possibilite des
voyages interplanetaires" (The Exploration of the Upper Atmosphere with Rockets and the Possibility of
starts publication of a nine-volume encyclopedia entitled "Interplanetary Communications".
It covers fiction literature on space, technology and astronomical topics.
Franz von Hoefft
from "Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Höhen-forschung" (The Scientific Society for High Altitude Research)
proposed the development of a variety of rocket engines.
At the end of the year H. Noordung
publishes "The Problems of Navigating Space", which describes space station.
The publisher, printed the year 1929 as a publishing date, probably from a purely business motive
and this date is often mistakenly given as the actual date of publication.
Germans from Opel
tested the first rocket-powered snow sled, called RS-1. Also powered by a cluster of Sander rockets,
the sled glided along the snow on pontoons at a maximum speed of slightly more then 104 km/h
A department to develop liquid and electrical rocket engines is formed within
Nikolai Tikhomirov submits a patent request to the Department of Military Inventions for a method
of manufacturing compressed smokeless powder.
chief of the Weapons Board of the German army initiates a study of both solid-fuel and liquid-fuel rockets.
Later, one of his subordinates,
became important as leader of the V-2
a theoretically ideal rocket combustion chamber, using liquid oxygen and gasoline, is
fired on a test stand.
In Italy, at the 19th Convention of the Italian Society for the Progress of Sciences,
read his paper on "Astronautics and Jet Propulsion" and suggested awarding an International Prize for
Astronautical Altitude to foster enthusiasm "towards Astronautics, so little known in Italy".
His suggestion was vetoed by the Scientific Committee of the Convention.
One exploded at an altitude of 150 meters, two reached altitudes of between 450 and 600 meters and one
reached an altitude of 2 Km at a maximum speed of 1,100 Km/h.
He later launched two more solid-fueled rockets, each more advanced than the first four. These rockets
were launched from Wangerooge,
one of the East Frisian Islands. Details of these tests are not certain, but one of them is believed
to have reached an altitude of more then 9 Km.
Raketenflugplatz, the Society for Space Travel,
tests a motor with 250-750-kilograms of thrust.
publishes his work entitled "The Technology of Rocket Flight".
Jun. 9:German scientists
Rudolf Nebel and
Herbert Schaefer did the first test launch of a rocket for the
This first test fails, but the rocket was recovered undamaged and refashioned into
a design more closely resembling the
This rocket was eventually launched from Lindwerder Island in
near Berlin and reached an altitude of 900 meters before crashing about 90 meters from the launching tower.
Additional test launches were conducted from a boat on
through August,at which time the
was completely abandoned.
rocket with a hybrid engine
(GIRD-09) is launched.
Sep. 21:GIRD and
officially merge to create Moscow-based Scientific Research Institute for Jet Propulsion
by the order of the Revolutionary Council, Revvoensovet.
In Germany, the rocket developer
and two of his assistants die in the explosion of solid propellant.
completes a manuscript of Initiation à la Cosmonautique (Introduction to Cosmonautics).
a Soviet rocket with a
liquid-propellant engine is launched.
The 06/1 -- the first unguided cruise missile, equipped with a liquid-fuel engine flies for 100 meters.
All-Union Conference of Academy of Sciences on Stratospheric Research is held in
In his report to the conference,
proposed a manned rocket flight to the altitude of 30 kilometers.
William Swan reaches an altitude of 200 feet in the aircraft powered by a solid-propellant engine near
Nov. 27: A new jet propulsion study group,
is formed in Kharkov, Ukraine, under
leadership of V. I. Rozov.
The first German A-2 rocket
fly from Borkum Island,
the second, fly the day after. They reached altitudes of 2.2 and 3.5 kilometres respectively.
work entitled "Rocket Flight in Stratosphere" is published.
The construction of early technical facilities is completed at the rocket development center in
Germany. Key rocket specialists move in from
Wernher von Braun
becomes Technical Director of the Army's development plant, a.k.a. East Plant.
During a Tsiolkovsky
memorial conference in
Ukraine, a local jet propulsion study group launches its second solid-propellant rocket Mirazh-2.
A group also works on a "stratospheric" rocket scheduled for construction in 1941.
air-defense radar systems start operations.
Russian aviation institutions urgently evacuate to the eastern regions of the
USSR in the face of German
advance toward Moscow.
Production of the A-4 missile started at
now known as the Vergeltungswaffe 2 (Vengeance Weapon 2) or
V-2 for short.
The Operation Hydra
attack then caused the Germans to move production to the
where mass production of the missile starts.
Ago. 22: The
rocket engine is first tested in
USSR onboard the
(variant K RD-1) bomber in 40 rocket-powered flights.
gets a go-ahead for high-altitude rocket research.
Jul. 27:Soviet government issues
a decree formally releasing a group of key rocket development experts from Stalin's prisons.
Aug. 6:Soviet troops
capture first remnants of the German
rocket in Blizna, Poland, which are sent to
Moscow for evaluation.
starts using V-2
ballistic missiles for attacks against Allied targets. Over 3,000 V-2s were launched as military rockets
by the German Wehrmacht,
mostly in London
(1358) and later in
After the European Allied victory,
unofficially begins. Conducted by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency
which worked independently to create false employment and political biographies for the German scientists.
A total of 341 railway cars (around 400 tons of equipment) captured from the German underground
were loaded, containing enough hardware to fabricate about 100
The Red Army took over the
factory, and the
created the Institute Rabe to develop Soviet rocket technology on the basis of the substantially
more sophisticated V-2 rockets.
Sep. 9: German scientists
Erich Putze and Werner Baum, experts in guidance, production and propulsion, respectively. Leading
scientists, joins Soviet
efforts to restore the production of the German
During 1945-46, they turned out around 30 of those missiles.
Over 700 railway waggons of material from Mittelwerk, including parts for
Henschel Hs 293A
and Hs 294 and
Fritz X rockets, were on their way to the
Institute Rabe was subsumed into the new Institute Nordhausen, under an expanded programme
of research across the Soviet
occupation zone, including a new Institute Berlin.
The first successful launch of a captured V-2
(rocket No 3)
for high-altitude research (112 kilometers) is carried out at
May 13: Scientific Research Institute No. 88
is established to develop
Soviet ballistic missiles.
is appointed chief designer of chief designer of section 3 on long-range missiles, later called
the unit in charge of the V-2 program.
Aug. A Lavochkin
fighter plane equipped with
RD-1KhZ rocket engine demonstrated in flight during
Tushino's air show.
Oct. 22:Soviet authorities deport
his team (around 300) of German rocket cientists and thousands of military-related technical specialists to the
USSR by train along with
their families (a total of 6,500 people) as part of
Transplanted along with their equipment, many remained there until the early 1950s.
A German Rocket Collective was established at the localities of Yubileyny, Valentinovka, Pushkino and
Podlipki outside Moscow and
at Gorodomlya Island,
in the Seliger Lake,
northwest of Moscow.
There, the Germans went to work refining and improving the
V-2 to create a similar, yet new, rocket.
U.S. Air Force
Missile Development Center at
Holoman Air Force Base
begins biological experiments directed towards a man-in-space program, sending up a balloon with
fungus spores to expose them to cosmic radiation.
The first of eleven V-2 rockets was launched
from Kapustin Yar
by a Soviet-German team. The V-2
also became the base for a Soviet
At this point 27 V-2
launches have take place in U.S.
In a year-end report, Secretary of Defense
space-satellite studies what was referred to as the "earth
satellite vehicle" which
his office was coordinating between the various services.
The US Air Force
establishes Department of Space Medicine.
Oct. 7:USSR launches a 1RB rocket
with dogs Mishka and Chizhik to the altitude of 88.7 kilometers, whose cabin then parachutes safely
back to Earth
after experiencing an acceleration of 5.5 g during the ascent.
First Physics and Medicine of Upper Atmosphere Symposium is held. On that event, Dr.
David R. Bates
announces the discovery of a band of water vapor 8 to 16 kilometers thick at an
altitude of about 64 kilometers.
Jan. 31: Explorer 1, the first successful
is launched by a Juno 1
rocket. An instrument package provides evidence of high altitude radiation surrounding
the first major scientific discovery of the space age.
The U.S.Transit 4A
enters orbit with the first nuclear power supply system onboard. Its
upper stage explodes into nearly 300 detectable pieces 77 minutes after the orbital insertion.
During Gemini 9,
performs a 127-minute
however working outside the spacecraft proves more difficult than anticipated.
Aug. 13:Lunar Orbiter 1,
the first of five successful U.S.
lunar orbiters, performs a surface survey for future Apollo landings.
Aug. 25:Apollo-Saturn 202
tests the CSM service propulsion system, as well as further testing the Saturn 1B.
Aug.NASA qualifies the F-1 engine
for use on manned missions.
Sep. 12:Gemini 11
attains a new altitude record of 1,374 kilometers.
During Gemini 12,
demonstrates that an astronaut can work effectively outside a spacecraft.
In the U.S.,
the Northrop HL-10
wingless "lifting-body" rocket plane conducts the first flight.
The Luna 13
performs the third Soviet
semi-soft landing on the Moon,
returning surface images and radiation data. It returns a total of five panoramas of the lunar
surface at different Sun
angles, showing a more smooth terrain than seen by
Jan. 27: American astronauts
are killed when fire sweeps through their
spacecraft during a test on the launch pad.
Jul. 14: The explosion of the
rocket on launch pad (with the
spacecraft) in pre-launch processing kills three people, delaying the program.
The SovietZond 5
completes a circumlunar fly-by and returns to
carrying turtles and other biological samples.
Oct. 11:Apollo 7
is the first piloted flight of the Apollo CSM; first American three-man crew.
Oct. 26:Soyuz 3
is the first successful piloted flight of the
spacecraft; rendezvous with unmanned
Three Russian researchers (a physician, a biologist and an engineer) completed a year-long
isolation experiment simulating a deep-space planetary mission.
The SovietZond 6
flew around the
at a minimum distance of 2420 km. Photographs of the lunar near side and far side were obtained with
panchromatic film. Each photo was 130 by 180 mm. Some of the views allowed for stereo pictures.
Because of mechanical problems, a relatively uncommon technique called
to shed velocity upon returning to
didn't work, killing all biologicals aboard.
Only one negative was recovered from the camera container and a small victory obtained over the
For propaganda reasons, the Soviets claimed the flight was a complete success, which in fact wasn't.
In December, Apollo 8
completes a historic mission. First manned launch of a
Saturn V, first human crew to leave
low Earth orbit (LEO),
first manned lunar orbit, and first piloted lunar return reentry.
The first flight of the Britsh
rocket take place.
A second test of the SovietN1 rocket
results in the biggest explosion in the history of rocketry (nearly 7 kilotons of TNT equivalent).
Jul. 20:Apollo 11
performs the first lunar landing by astronauts
Neil Armstrong and
Edwin AldrinEdwin Aldrin.
They stay 21 hours, 36 minutes on the surface, conduct a 151 minute EVA, and collect 22 kilograms
of rock and soil samples.
Jul. 21:Luna 15,
the third Soviet attempt
to retrieve lunar samples, crashes into the moon.
Oct. 11-18:Soyuz 6,
Soyuz 7 and
Soyuz 8 perform the first triple
The mission objective was to have Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8
and transfer the crew from each other
while Soyuz 6 crew would be filming the operation from nearby.
However, this objective was not achieved due to equipment failures.
It is still not known exactly what the actual problem was, but the rendezvous systems failed
on all three spacecraft.
Jul. 29: The
space station fails to reach orbit due to the
rocket second stage failure, it instead fell into the Pacific Ocean.
Dec. 11:Apollo 17
makes the sixth and final manned lunar landing. Sets records for lunar stay time (74 hours, 59 minutes),
time (22 hours, 4 minutes), and lunar samples collected (110 kilograms).
Rover/NERVA nuclear rocket
program loses its funding and is officially terminated.
May 11: The DOS-3
orbital station fails in orbit soon after the launch by the
The last Saturn V
rocket launches Skylab,
The launch of space station was also known as "Skylab 1" mission.
The station was occupied for 171 days by three crews.
Jun. 22:Skylab 2
crew sets a new endurance record of 28 days aboard the
Sep. 25:Skylab 3
crew sets a new endurance record of 59 days aboard
The U.S.Pioneer 10
spacecraft performs the first successful fly-by of
passing within 130,000 kilometers of the cloud tops. During the encounter, a total of more
than 500 images were transmitted.
Feb. 8:Skylab 4
crew sets a new endurance record of 84 days aboard the
was the first dedicated to the Department of Defense repairing and redeploying a failed navy satellite.
It was also the 100th manned orbital mission.
of the Soyuz T-13
dock and revive the Salyut 7,
after the station had flown powerless and out of control for several months.
They perform the first and so far unique manual docking with a "dead" spacecraft.
Jun. 11 & 15:
The Soviet Union's
and its twin Vega 2
spacecrafts (launched in December 15 and 21 the year before) deploy instrumented balloons in the
atmosphere of Venus.
Europe's first deep-space probe, is launched by an
Ariane 1 rocket.
First ever comet fly-by, of comet
by the International Cometary Explorer (originally named
spacecraft performs the first close encounter with a comet, passing within
596 kilometers of
Mar. 15:Soyuz T-15
was a manned mission to both space stations
Salyut 7 and
This one became the first expedition (EO-1) to
and still the only spacecraft to have visited two space stations during one mission.
Mar.China announces its intention to compete
on the international space launch market
with domestically built rockets.
Constant financial difficulties led the old
Space Station Program being refurbished by
into the Space Station
Project, over the Mir-2.
This one, will later be named the International Space Station
Mar. 14:Soyuz TM-21
(EO-18) mission was launched. This mission carries
which became the first NASA
astronaut to visit the Mir
space station, seting a new U.S.
endurance record of 115 days.
the Mir's last
originally planned module, blasts off toward the station.
Apr. 25:Yuri Koptev,
head of the Russian Space Agency
signs an agreement on space cooperation with
China, during a visit to
Two Chinese trainee taikonauts would soon visit Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center
in Star City.
Nov. 20:Russia launches the
Zarya Functional Cargo Block on a
rocket from Baikonur,
the first module of the
to be placed in space (Mission 1R).
Shuttle mission STS-88
launches and docks the "Unity" module, which has two Pressurized Mating Adapters
on each end, to Zarya FGB
creating the first segment of the
and conducting its first habitation.
In the wake of the
The station starts being supplied only by Russian unmanned
ships, and crews were exchanged using Russian-manned
spacecraft, and forced to operate with a limited crew of two.
Aug. 23:Brazil's third attempt to launch a
definitive version of its Veículo Lançador de Satélites
(VLS-1 V3) from Alcântara Launch Center
take place, resulting in a explosion
on the launch pad, killing 21 people.
The last trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) on
spacecraft was accomplished, directing it to land in
Woomera Test Range,
with soil samples of an asteroid.
Astronaut Sunita Williams
sets new endurance record for women; 195 days aboard
also setting a woman record of 29 hours, 17 minutes of
She was sent back to space in 2012 and will of course surpass those records.
Jun. 18:NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite
(LCROSS) where launched by an
Atlas V rocket.
They both are part of the Lunar Precursor Robotic Program
spacecraft flew at the distance of 3,126 kilometers from asteroid
Images confirmed that the asteroid has an elongated body, with its longest side around 130 kilometers.
spacecraft to enter orbit around asteroid
(Planet-C) orbiter and the IKAROS
solar-sailing probe arrived into vicinity of
Venus, however it
failed to enter Venusian orbit.
rocket launched an unmanned prototype of the
spacecraft. Three hours later the capsule successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean,
becaming the first successfully held