To travel into the unknown of space is a dream for so many children and adults alike, although one that very few will ever reach. Throughout time so many countries, and now private companies, across the world have tried to create a method of getting in amongst the stars and it’s even united countries that previously had such strong conflict. Here we’re going to go through a timeline of the significant moments in the history of space travel, starting way back in the 1940s.


In 1942 the German V2 rocket, designed by Wernher Von Braun, was the first to reach 100km (62 miles) from the Earth’s surface, also known as the boundary of space. Braun later worked with NASA on the rockets that went to the moon.


In 1947, the first animals went into space. Fruit flies were used to study the effects of space travel on animals as they’re very similar to humans. The flies travelled with a supply of corn to eat on the flight.


Albert II was the first monkey in space. Albert II was a Rhesus monkey and boldly went where no primate had been before on the 14th June 1949 in a specially adapted US V2 rocket, that flew 83 miles from Earth.


On 4th October 1957, Russia launched the first space satellite (or sputnik in Russian) named Sputnik 1 and was the first satellite in orbit around the earth.

In November the same year, Laika the Russian dog became the first animal to orbit the earth. Laika is Russian for “Barker”. She travelled in Sputnik 2 and helped understand whether people could survive in space.


By 1959 Both US and Russian scientists were in a race to get a craft to the Moon; the Russians won.

Space-probe Luna 2 crash-landed into the moon at fatal speeds. Ten years later, the first human visited the surface.


On 12th April 1961, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. Travelling in Vostok 1 he completed one orbit of the earth, landing about two hours after launch. Gagarin had to eject and use a parachute to land as the craft was designed to crash land.


John Glenn became the first US man to orbit the Earth aboard the Friendship 7. John actually chose this name; officially the craft is called the Mercury-Atlas 6, for the mission Mercury and it being the 6th flight to use the faster Atlas rocket.


Valentina Tereshkova, a Russian cosmonaut, became the first woman in space. After her mission, she had a crater on the far side of the Moon is named after her.


Who could believe, after just sending men to the moon, NASA managed to successfully conduct the first Mars flyby with their Mariner 4 craft.

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