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Milestones In Space

TIME magazine


Oct. 4 The Soviet Union launches the first artificial satellite, the 184-lb. Sputnik 1

Nov. 3 Sputnik 2 carries a dog named Laika into orbit. She lives for seven days, proving that animals (and presumably humans) can survive in space


JAN. 31 Launch of Explorer 1, the first U.S. satellite


April 12 Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin is the first person to orbit Earth. His flight in Vostok 1 lasts less than 2 hr.

May 5 Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space, with a 15-min. 28-sec. suborbital flight aboard Freedom 7

May 25 President John F. Kennedy vows to send men to the moon and back by the end of the decade


Feb. 20 John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit Earth. He circles the planet three times in 4 hr. 55 min.


June 16 Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space


March 18 Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov takes the first space walk, a 10-min. tethered excursion outside Voskhod 2

June 3 Edward White II is the first American to walk in space,

floating outside Gemini 4 for 22 min.


March 16 Gemini 8 makes the first docking ever with another space vehicle, an unmanned Agena rocket stage. Gemini 8 later malfunctions, forcing America's first emergency landing


Jan. 27 Flash fire in the Apollo 1 command module during a test on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy, Fla., kills astronauts Virgil ("Gus") Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee

April 24 Soyuz 1 crashes on re-entry, killing Vladimir Komarov. He is the first astronaut to die during a flight


April 3 Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey, based on Arthur C. Clarke's short story The Sentinel, is released

Dec. 21 Launch of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to orbit the moon


July 20 "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin ("Buzz") Aldrin walk on the moon


April 13 Apollo 13 moon mission is aborted when an oxygen tank in the service module ruptures. The crew returns safely to Earth four days later


April 19 The Soviet Union launches the first space station, an orbiting laboratory named Salyut 1

June 30 Salyut 1's first crew is killed when the spacecraft bringing them back to Earth becomes depressurized during re-entry


May 14 Skylab 1, the first U.S. space station, is launched into orbit 271 miles above Earth. The first of three crews arrives 11 days later for a 28-day stay


July 17 The Apollo-Soyuz rendezvous, highlight of the first international manned space mission


July 20 Viking 1 lands on Mars and transmits the first pictures from the planet's surface. Viking 2 will arrive in September 1976


March 5 Voyager 1 makes its closest approach to Jupiter, relaying images of the planet and its moons. Voyager 2 will follow four months later

July 11 After losing altitude for nearly two years, Skylab falls out of the sky and crashes, scattering debris from the southeastern Indian Ocean to western Australia

September Publication of The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe's portrait of the early days of America's manned space program


April 12 Inaugural launch of the U.S. space shuttle Columbia, the first reusable manned spacecraft

Aug. 25 Voyager 2 flies by Saturn, sending home spectacularly detailed pictures of its rings and moons


June 18 Sally Ride becomes the first U.S. woman in space


Feb. 7 Using jet backpacks, astronauts Bruce McCandless and Robert Stewart take the first untethered space walks

April 10-12 Two astronauts from the shuttle Challenger perform the first in-orbit retrieval and repair mission, on the failing Solar Max satellite


Jan. 24 Voyager 2 arrives at Uranus

Jan. 28 Challenger explodes 73 sec. after lift-off, killing all seven shuttle crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe

Feb. 20 Soviet space station Mir launched into Earth orbit


Feb. 8 Mir becomes the first continuously inhabited space station


Sept. 29 First U.S. manned space launch since the 1986 Challenger explosion


May 4 For the first time, a spacecraft is launched from the shuttle, as Atlantis astronauts send the radar mapping probe Magellan toward Venus

Aug. 25 Voyager 2 reaches Neptune


April 25 Astronauts on the shuttle Discovery place the Hubble Space Telescope into Earth orbit. Astronomers realize almost immediately that its mirror has the wrong shape

Aug. 10 Magellan begins to orbit Venus and relay radar images of its surface as well as other data


Dec. 4-10 Astronauts capture the Hubble Space Telescope and repair its optics. To everyone's surprise, the mission is a complete success


Feb. 3 Sergei Krikalev becomes the first Russian to fly on a U.S. spacecraft


March 22 Cosmonaut Valery Polyakov returns to Earth after spending a record 437 days 18 hrs. in space aboard Mir

June 29 As part of America's 100th manned space mission, the shuttle Atlantis docks with Russia's Mir

Dec. 7 After a six-year journey, the Galileo probe reaches Jupiter to begin an extended visit


July 4 In a culmination of the Pathfinder mission, the Sojourner rover lands on Mars and begins to explore. The spacecraft will fall silent 83 days later

Oct. 15 Nuclear-powered Cassini probe heads to Saturn


Oct. 29 John Glenn, now a 77-year-old Senator from Ohio, is scheduled to go into space a second time, aboard the shuttle Discovery

Nov. 20 First piece of the International Space Station due to be launched

Dec. 10 Planned launch of the Mars Climate Orbiter, which will arrive at its destination in September 1999. It will be followed by the Mars Polar Lander, scheduled to be launched in January 1999


June Mir expected to fall out of orbit and crash to Earth


Planned launches of the Mars Surveyor 2001 orbiter (March 7) and lander and rover (April 3), which will study the planet's climate and geology and search for evidence of life


Planned launch of Europa Orbiter to investigate the existence of water on Jupiter's fourth largest moon


Tentatively scheduled launch of the Pluto-Kuiper Express. The lightweight probe will take at least eight years to reach the last unexplored planet


Proposed launch of the Next Generation Space Telescope, a much larger, more powerful successor to the Hubble

1962 Although he was the third American in space, Glenn was the first to orbit Earth. Here are some statistics about the man and the flight:

The Astronaut

HEIGHT              5 ft. 10 in. (1.8 m)
HAIR COLOR          Red
AGE                 40 
SALARY              $12,000+
DAILY WORKOUT       2-mile (3.2-km) run

The Spacecraft

NAME                Friendship 7
CREW SIZE           1
CREW AREA           36 cu. ft. (1 cu m)
WINDOWS             1
COMPUTERS           0
LIFT-OFF THRUST     360,000 lbs. (163,000 kg)
WEIGHT              4,256 lbs. (1,930 kg)

The Mission

NAME                Mercury 6
LAUNCH DATE         Feb. 20, 1962
LAUNCH TIME         9:47:39 a.m. E.T.
DURATION            4 hr. 55 min. 23 sec.
ORBITAL VELOCITY    17,544 m.p.h. (28,234 km/h)
MAXIMUM Gs          7.7
TIME PER ORBIT      88 min. 29 sec.
DISTANCE FLOWN      75,679 miles (121,794 km)
LANDING SITE        Atlantic Ocean, 800 miles (1,300 km) southeast of Bermuda
RECOVERY            Navy destroyer picked up capsule after splashdown

1998 This fall U.S. Senator Glenn returns to orbit as a crew member on the space shuttle. As these statistics show, many things--though not all things--have changed:

The Astronaut

HEIGHT         5 ft. 10 in. (1.8 m)
HAIR COLOR     White
AGE            77 
SALARY         $136,673
DAILY WORKOUT  2-mile (3.2-km) fast walk

The Spacecraft

NAME              Discovery
CREW SIZE         7
CREW AREA         2,325 cu. ft. (66 cu m)
WINDOWS           10
COMPUTERS         5
LIFT-OFF THRUST   7,000,000 lbs. (3,175,000 kg)
WEIGHT            153,819 lbs. (69,770 kg)

The Mission

NAME                 STS-95
SCHED. LAUNCH DATE   Oct. 29, 1998
LAUNCH TIME          2 p.m. E.T.
DURATION             Approximately 8 days 20 hr.
ORBITAL VELOCITY     17,500 m.p.h. (28,164 km/h)
MAXIMUM Gs           3
TIME PER ORBIT       90 min.
DISTANCE FLOWN       3,600,000 miles  (5,800,000 km)
LANDING SITE         Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
RECOVERY             None necessary


1943 Joins U.S. Marine Corps; serves as a fighter pilot in World War II and the Korean War

1959 Joins astronaut corps

1962 First American in orbit

1964 Retires from astronaut corps and briefly runs for a U.S. Senate nomination, but drops out after being hurt in a fall

1965 Retires from Marine Corps. Later joins Royal Crown Cola company as an executive

1970 Loses Ohio Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate to Howard Metzenbaum

1974 Defeats Metzenbaum in the primary; elected to U.S. Senate

1997 Announces his retirement from the Senate

1998 Named as a payload specialist on space shuttle

In TIME This Week

Cover Date: August 17, 1998

Investigating The President
If He Must, Do It With Flair
Over To You, Bill
No, There's A Trap Waiting
Billy Martin: Monica's Minister Of Defense
Pundits' Jamboree

John Glenn
Back To The Future
The Soul Of A Senator
A Realm Where Age Doesn't Count
Milestones In Space

The Motown Motormouth
If The Going Gets Rough, Gephardt's Got A Scrapper

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