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Next Stop: The Stars

Written by: Anjika Fatehpuria

Illustrated by: Urvi Agarwal

Edited by: Anvita Tripathi


In celebration of 60 years of space exploration, Perspectoverse’s Anjika Fatehpuria presents

10 Key Moments in Space Exploration


4 October 1957 - The world's first artificial satellite

The Sputnik 1 satellite was launched on October 4, 1957 by the USSR. It was the first object created by humans to exit the atmosphere. It weighed 180 pounds (83.5 kg) and was hailed as a "remarkable achievement" at the time.

28 May 1959 - First creatures to return alive from space

The first living organisms to return from space were discovered on May 28, 1959.

Able and Baker, two monkeys, were the first living animals to survive a space journey. The US sent Able, a female rhesus monkey, and Baker, a female squirrel monkey, into orbit aboard a Jupiter missile.

12 April 1961 - The first man in space

In a Vostok spacecraft, the USSR launched Yuri Gagarin into orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Traveling at more than 17,000 miles per hour, it completed a single orbit of Earth in 108 minutes. The accomplishment was viewed as a setback for the Americans, who had wanted to be the first to send a man beyond Earth's atmosphere.

16 June 1963 - The first woman in space

Valentina Tereshkova, a former textile worker, was the Soviet Union's first woman to be sent into space. On her three days in orbit, she circled the Earth 49 times and was allegedly wounded during the landing.

18 March 1965 - First-ever spacewalk

From the two-man Voskhod spacecraft, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov performed the first-ever spacewalk. The zero-pressure conditions caused Leonov's suit to inflate minutes after going into space. He couldn't get back into his spaceship via the hatch, so he had to use a valve to partially depressurize his suit and squeeze back inside.

20 July 1969 - First man on the Moon

American Neil Armstrong made history by being the first man to walk on the Moon. Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent two hours installing up observation equipment and collecting rock samples on the lunar surface. The landing craft created a one-foot-deep crater on the surface, which he characterised as powdered charcoal. It took eight days, three hours, 18 minutes, and 35 seconds to complete the mission.

19 April 1971 - The first space station is launched

The first space station, Salyut, was launched by Russia. When the air seeps out of their Soyuz spacecraft on re-entry, the first crew to dock with the orbiting outpost perishes.

7 February 1984 - 'Free-flying' in space

Bruce McCandless made history by being the first person to walk across space without being tethered to the spaceship. During a 90-minute spacewalk, he tested a manned manoeuvre unit that allowed him to move away from the orbiter.

20 November 1998 - Assembly of ISS begins

The first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, was launched from Baikonur aboard a Proton rocket. The International Space Station (ISS) is the world's biggest artificial satellite. Since November 2000, the station has been constantly inhabited. Over 200 visitors from 15 nations have visited throughout that period.

28 April 2001 - First space tourist

Dennis Tito, a California wealthy businessman, became the first paying passenger to travel to space. Mr Tito flew from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station for an eight-day vacation, paying $20 million (£14 million) for the privilege.

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