Maitland Mercury astronomer Col Maybury takes you through the history of space exploration.
1903: Wright Flyer: The first powered flight was by the Wright Brothers on the windswept shores of Kitty Hawk in North Carolina. The Wright Flyer was the first successful heavier-than-air powered aircraft, designed and built by the Wright brothers.
They flew it four times on December 17, 1903, near Kill Devil Hills, about four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Today, the airplane is exhibited in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
1957: Sputnik 1 was the first artificial Earth satellite. It was a 58 centimetres in diameter polished metal sphere, with four external radio antennas to broadcast radio pulses. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on October 4, 1957. It was visible all around the Earth and its radio pulses were detectable.
1959: The Soviet probe Luna 2 was launched on September 12, 1959 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
It weighed about 390 kilograms and collided with the surface of the moon between the craters Archimedes and Autolycus, on September 14, 1959, with inclination angle of 60 º and speed of 3.3km/ s.
The impact site is graphically shown by Professor Vaz Tolentino’s photograph.
This was the first man-made object that reached the moon's surface.
1961: Vostok 1 was launched on April 12, 1961.
The flight took Yuri Gagarin, a cosmonaut from the Soviet Union, into space.
The flight marked the first time that a human entered outer space, as well as the first orbital flight of a manned vehicle.
The spaceflight consisted of a single orbit of the Earth.
According to official records, the spaceflight took 108 minutes from launch to landing.
As planned, Gagarin landed separately from his spacecraft, having ejected with a parachute 7 km above ground.
1962: On February 20, 1962, John Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space.
In 1965, Glenn retired from the military and resigned from NASA so he could be eligible to stand for election to public office.
As a member of the Democratic Party he was elected to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate from 1974 to 1999.
1963: Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman to have flown in space, having been selected from more than four hundred applicants and five finalists to pilot Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963.
In order to join the Cosmonaut Corps, Tereshkova was only honorarily inducted into the Soviet Air Force and thus she also became the first civilian to fly in space.
1969: A moon landing – the arrival of the first spacecraft on the surface of the moon.
This includes both manned and unmanned (robotic) missions.
The first human-made object to reach the surface of the moon was the Soviet Union's Luna 2 mission, on September 23, 1959.
The United States' Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the moon, on July 20, 1969.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to walk on the moon.
There have been six manned US landings (between 1969 and 1972) and numerous unmanned landings.
To date, the United States is the only country to have successfully conducted manned missions to the moon.