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4, 2007, the Space Age celebrated the 50th anniversary of the historic launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, by the former Soviet Union. May 25, 1961: In a speech before Congress, President John Kennedy announces that an American will land on the moon and be returned safely to Earth before the end of the decade. 27, 1961: Saturn 1, the rocket for the initial Apollo missions, is tested for the first time. March 18, 1965: Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov makes the first spacewalk from the Voskhod 2 orbiter.The space shot also launched the Space Race to the moon between the United States and the Soviet Union. launches Luna 1, which misses the moon but becomes the first artificial object to leave Earth orbit. March 23, 1965: Gemini 3, the first of the manned Gemini missions, launches with a two-person crew on a Titan 2 rocket, making astronaut Gus Grissom the first man to travel in space twice.It marked the cooling of a long era of tense relations between the two world superpowers.
June 24, 1982: French air force test pilot Jean-Loup Chrétien launches to the Soviet Union's Salyut 7 aboard Soyuz T-6. June 18, 1983: Sally Ride aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger becomes the first American woman in space. 7, 1984: Astronauts Bruce Mc Candless and Robert Stewart maneuver as many as 328 feet (100 meters) from the Space Shuttle Challenger using the Manned Maneuvering Unit, which contains small thrusters, in the first ever untethered spacewalks.May 4, 1989: The Space Shuttle Atlantis launches the Magellan space probe to use radar to map the surface of Venus. 18, 1989: Shuttle Atlantis launches with Jupiter-bound Galileo space probe on board. Galileo spacecraft, on its way to Jupiter, successfully encounters the asteroid Gaspra, obtaining images and other data during its flyby. June 21, 1993: Shuttle Endeavour launches carrying Spacehab, a privately owned laboratory that sits in the shuttle cargo bay. 2, 1993: Endeavour launches on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. 17, 1993: Direc TV launches its first satellite, Direc TV 1, aboard an Ariane 4 rocket. 7, 1994: The first Milstar secure communications satellite launches. July 13, 1995: Galileo releases its space probe, which is bound for Jupiter and its moons. 7, 1996: NASA and Stanford University researchers announce a paper contending that a 4-billion-year-old Martian meteorite, called ALH 84001, found in Antarctica in 1984, contains fossilized traces of carbonate materials that suggest primitive life might once have existed on Mars. May 5, 1997: Satellite mobile phone company Iridium launches its first five satellites on a Delta 2 rocket. July 23, 1999: The Chandra X-ray observatory, NASA's flagship mission for X-ray astronomy, launches aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. 13, 1999: Iridium files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, after being unable to pay its creditors. March 23, 2001: After being mothballed in 1999, Mir descends into the Earth's atmosphere and breaks up over the Pacific Ocean. The company emerged from bankruptcy April 14, 2004. 1, 2003: The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates as it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere, killing the crew. July 26, 2005: Discovery becomes the first shuttle to launch since the Columbia disaster more than two years before.April 7, 1990: China launches the Asiasat-1 communications satellite, completing its first commercial contract. The geosynchronous satellites are used by battlefield commanders and for strategic communications. 15, 1994: India launches its four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle for the first time. 26, 1995: A Chinese Long March rocket carrying the Hughes-built Apstar-1 rocket fails. June 25 1997: An unmanned Russian Progress supply spacecraft collides with the Mir space station. Iridium Satellite LLC later acquired the original Iridium's assets from bankruptcy. 19, 1999: China successfully test launches the unmanned Shenzhou 1. Damage from insulating foam hitting the orbiter's leading wing on liftoff is later cited as the cause of the accident. While the crew returned safely, the loss of several pieces of foam debris prompted further investigation, which delayed future shuttle missions. 12, 2005: A two-taikonaut crew launches aboard the Chinese Shenzhou 6.July 17, 1929: Robert Goddard launches a rocket that carries with it the first set of scientific tools — a barometer and a camera — in Auburn, Mass. April 3, 1966: The Soviet Luna 10 space probe enters lunar orbit, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit the Moon. April 5, 1967: A review board delivers a damning report to NASA Administrator James Webb about problem areas in the Apollo spacecraft. May 5, 1961: Mercury Freedom 7 launches on a Redstone rocket for a 15-minute suborbital flight, making Alan Shepard the first American in space. June 14, 1962: Agreements are signed establishing the European Space Research Organisation and the European Launcher Development Organisation. April 8, 1964: Gemini 1, a two-seat spacecraft system, launches in an unmanned flight. 19, 1964: NASA's Syncom 3 launches aboard a Thor-Delta rocket, becoming the first geostationary telecommunications satellite. 12, 1964: The Soviet Union launches Voskhod 1, a modified Vostok orbiter with a three-person crew.