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Year
(compiled by Anatoly Zak; Last update: January 29, 2014 )
1900

In Vienna, Austria, Die Zeit magazine publishes a scientifically founded article on the possiblity of space travel by Román Baron von Gostkowski.

 

1901

 

A spaceship in the novel "The First Men in the Moon" by H. G. Wells travels to the Moon by the means of an anti-gravity material.

A novel "Journey to Mars" by Leonid Bogoyavlensky (Afanasiev) is published.

Mars corporation is established in Stockholm, Sweden, to manufacture rockets developed by Baron von Unge.

1902

Tsiolkovsky

Tsiolkovsky

April-July: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky works on "The Exploration of the World's Space with Reactive Instruments."

Robert H. Goddard, then a high-school student, submits an article "The Navigation of Space" to Popular Science News which rejects the work.

M. M. Pomortsev develops solid propellant rockets with stability surfaces and capable of reaching a range from eight to nine kilometers.

Georges Melies directs "Le Voyage dans la Lune," likely the first science fiction film.

1903

May 31: In Russia, the Nauchnoe Obozrenie (Scientific Review) magazine (No. 5) publishes the first chapter of "The Exploration of the World's Space with Reactive Instruments" by Tsiolkovsky. He starts the work on the second part around the same time.

Dec. 17: The Wright brothers achieve the first powered flight of a heavier-than-air vehicle.

1904

In Russia, I. V. Mesherskiy publishes a theoretical work on physics of movement of a body with a changing mass.

In Russia, Ivan Grave defends a disseration evaluating burning of the gun powder in the enclosed volume.

In Germany, Alfred Maul tests a rocket designed to carry a photographic camera for military reconnaissance.

1905

April: In a report to Russia's artillery committee, M. Pomortsev declares his experiments with rockets successfully completed.

May: In a letter to Russia's business newspaper Birzhevue Novosti, Tsiolkovsky condemns American designs for military rockets.

Albert Einstein publishes his papers on the theory of relativity.

Fridrikh Tsander encounters Tsiolkovsky's writings and soon becomes one of the most active developers of space flight ideas in Russia.

1906

1906 or 1907: A Russian engineer, Victor de Karavodine, patents the pulsating ram jet in France.

In the US, Robert Goddard ponders the idea of solar-powered, electric rocket propulsion in his personal notes.

Complete works by Jules Verne in 88 volumes starts publication in Russia.

"Mars and Its Canals" by Percival Lowell is published.

1907

March: Tsiolkovsky works on a series of articles: "The Universe in Essays and Pictures" with a popular description of the Earth as a space body.

N. V. Gerasimov applies for a patent of a solid propellant rocket with gyroscopic stabilization.

A British biologist Alfred Russel Wallace publishes "Is Mars Habitable?," which exposes major flaws in popular theories about life on Mars.

1906 (71) -1907: Fridrikh Tsander conducts his first studies of the possibility of interplanetary travel. (382)

1908

In France, Robert Esnault-Pelterie initiates his research in astronautics.

Publication of the novel "Red Star" by Aleksandr Bogdanov, describing a mission to Mars powered by a "minus-substance" along with an atomic decay-powered jet engine.

"Mars As the Abode of Life" by Percival Lowell is published.

June 30: A space object (probably an iron-rich meteorite) enters the Earth atmosphere and explodes over Siberia in what becomes known as Tunguska event.

August: Tsiolkovsky sends an article "Jet-propelled Instrument as the Tool of Flight in Vacuum and in the Atmosphere" to the Vozdukhoplavetel magazine. (Not published until 1910)

Sept. 18: The date on a manuscript by F. A. Tsander, which considered life support and other issues of the interplanetary travel.

1909

In the US, Robert Goddard starts systematic research in the field of rocket dynamics.

Hermann Oberth drafts his first rocketship.

N. A. Sytenko designs a solid-propellant anti-aircraft rocket, featuring clusters of 5-6 rockets.

1910

Halley Comet makes a spectacular appearance during its close encounter with the Earth, inspiring an interest in space among many, including future German rocket pioneer Johannes Winkler.

A Belgian engineer, Georges Marconnet, pantents a pulse-jet engine for use on the aircraft.

Nikolai Rynin reaches a height of 6.4 kilometers in an air balloon, setting a Russian record.

1911

The American Aeronautical Society is formed in the US.

December: St Petersburg-based magazine Vestnik Vozdukhoplavaniya starts publication of a second part of "Exploration of the World Space with Reactive Instruments" by Tsiolkovsky.

1912

April: I. V. Volovsky, vice-director of Putilov Plant in St. Petersburg, proposes a spinning missile launched from aircraft and automobiles and capable of striking aerial and ground targets.

June: Russia's artillery committee considers Volovsky's missile proposals.

November: Russia's artillery committee considers and rejects Volovsky's missile proposals.

Nov. 15: At the meeting of the French Physical Society, R. Esnault-Pelterie delivers a report entitled "The considerations on the Results of Unlimited Reduction in Engine Weight."

Nikolai Tikhomirov proposes a project of a solid-propellant rocket to the Russian navy ministry.

Engineer V. V. Ryumin publishes article "By the Rocket into the World's Space" in the Priroda i Lyudi magazine, which popularizes work by Tsiolkovsky. (71)

1913

The novel "On the Waves of Ephir" by Boris Krasnogorsky describes a spacecraft propelled by the pressure of light and a water landing. (382)

At age 16, Aleksandr Shargey (Yuri Kondratyuk) initiates research on the possibility of space flight. (385)

1914

1914

In the US, Robert Goddard registers two patents for a liquid-propellant rocket and a two- and three-stage solid-propellant rocket. (298)

Tsiolkovsky publishes the 3rd part of the "The Exploration of the World's Space with Reactive Instruments."

The novel "Islands of Ephir Ocean" by B. Krasnogosky and D. Svyatsky describes an expedition to Venus.

1915

March 3: The US Congress creates Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), precursor of NASA.

May 31: British employ rockets in the defense of London during the first German air raid with Zeppelin air ships. (310)

The publication of "Interplanetary Travel" by Yakov Perelman popularizes Tsiolkovsky's ideas.

1916

In France, Henri Melot works on rocket engines for aircraft. (276)

Feb. 11: Professor Zhukovsky gives a positive review of Nikolai Tikhomirov's solid-propelled rocket proposals. (384)

July 14: Ivan Grave from Russia's Artillery Academy files a patent request No. 746 for a rocket burning smokeless gun powder. (71)

1917

Jan. 5: The Smithsonian Institution awards a $5,000 grant to Robert Goddard to conduct rocket research in the upper atmosphere.

March 25: Aleksandr Shargey (Yuri Kondratyuk) completes one of his first manuscripts on spaceflight. (100)

August: An envelope containing a proposal of a rocket-propelled flying vehicle by Nikolai Kibalchich is unsealed after 36 years in the archive in the wake of February revolution in Russia.

Nov. 7: The Bolshevik revolution in Russia.

In US, Robert Goddard confirms the feasibility of electric rocket propulsion. (2)

1918

Jan. 14: Robert Goddard writes "The Ultimate Migration" describing the exodus of the human civilization from a dying Solar System onboard a nuclear-powered colony. The work would not be published until 1972.

March: A Russian space flight enthusiast Nikolai Rynin receives a proposal of a rocket-propelled flying vehicle by Nikolai Kibalchich.

April: The Byloye magazine publishes a description of a manned rocket-powered vehicle originally proposed by Nikolai Kibalchich in 1881.

Nov. 7: Goddard demonstrates solid-propellant rocket (Bazooka) at Aberdeen, Maryland.

A sci-fi novel "Beyond Earth" by Tsiolkovsky is published in Priroda i Lyudi magazine.

1919

May 3: In a letter to the Soviet government, Nikolai Tikhomirov proposes to organize a laboratory for the development of powder rockets.

In the US, Robert Goddard submits a progress report entitled "A Method of Attaining Extreme Altitudes," to the Smithsonian Institution. (Dated May 26) (158)

1916- Fall 1919: Yuri Kondratyuk (Aleksandr Shargey) writes "To those who will read to build," examining various aspects of rocketry and space flight. Not published until 1964. (100)

1920

January: The Smithsonian Institution publishes Goddard's "A Method of Attaining Extreme Altitudes," which was misinterpreted by the press as a proposal for a rocket flight to the Moon.

Hermann Oberth develops a concept of a multi-stage liquid propellant space launcher.

A paper "Riches of the Universe" by Tsiolkovsky is published.

1921

Feb. 18: A Russian inventor, A. F. Andreev, requests a patent for a portable personal flight vehicle propelled by a liquid engine burning oxygen and methane.

March 1: Tikhomirov's rocket development lab is established in Moscow.

The Soviet government awards a personal pension to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, which enables him to continue work late in his life.

Dec. 30: Moscow Inventor Conference reviews Fridrikh Tsander's vehicle, which would take off under propeller power and then fire rocket engines consuming onboard metal parts, no longer needed in flight.

1922

Leningrad's State Scientific-Technical Institute initiates the development of the smokeless gun powder for Tikhomirov's laboratory.

University of Heidelberg rejects a dissertation by Hermann Oberth on a space rocket.

1923

Oberth

Oberth

June: In Germany, Hermann Oberth publishes work called "The Rocket into Interplanetary Space."

October: The Soviet newspaper Izvestiya praises Oberth's research on rocketry, prompting Tsiolkovsky to seek a recognition as well.

Nov. 1: In the US, Robert Goddard tests a rocket engine using liquid oxygen and gasoline and supplied by a pump.

The Revolutionary Military Council of USSR issues a request to Tikhomirov's laboratory to test the possibility of using jet propulsion for increasing the range of existing munitions.

In Italy, Luigi Gussalli (1885-1950) publishes "Can We Attempt a Space Journey to the Moon?"

In USSR, Aleksei Tolstoy publishes the novel Aelita, describing a civilization on Mars. A year later, Yakov Protozanov directs a film based on the book.

1924

Tsander

Tsander

June 20: The Society for Studies of the Interplanetary Travel, OIMS, is founded in Moscow. (386)

Tsiolkovsky's work "Rocket into cosmic space" describes multi-stage rockets.

Tsander publishes "Flight to Other Planets."

Tsiolkovsky, Tsander and Kondratyuk propose the use of the atmosphere as a breaking medium for the spaceships returning to Earth.

Vladimir Artemiev conducts launches of 21 solid-propellant rockets at the Chief Artillery Range near Leningrad, which demonstrate the capability of ten-fold increase in the range of existing munitions.

1925

Tikhomirov's lab, later known as Gas Dynamics Laboratory, GDL, moves to Leningrad (St Petersburg).

Oberth learns about Tsiolkovsky's work.

June 19: The first exhibit dedicated to the interplanetary travel is held in Kiev.

November: Walter Hohmann publishes "Die Erreichbarkeit der Himmelskorper" (The Attainability of Celestial Bodies) describing rocket motion in space.

1926

Goddard

March 16: In Auburn, Massachusetts, Robert Goddard launches the world's first liquid-propellant rocket.

April: In the US, Hugo Gernsback, an engineer and businessman, publishes first issue of Amazing Stories, an early sci-fi magazine, which made huge contribution into popularization of space flight.

A new and expanded edition of the "Exploration of the Outer Space with Reactive Vehicles" by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky is published.

In Germany, Willy Ley publishes "Die Fahrt ins Weltall," popularizing astronautics.

A third-year student of Kharkov Technical Institute A. Sherbakov leads the formation of the jet propulsion research group in this eastern Ukrainian city.

1927

Die Rakete

Die Rakete magazine

April 24: The world's first exhibition of technology for interplanetary travel opens in Moscow. A visit to the event sparks an interest in space flight of Mikhail Tikhonravov. (453)

June 27: In France, Robert Esnault-Pelterie advocates space travel before the Societe Astronomique, the organization founded by Camille Flammarion. It was published as a book a year later. (213) (see entry for 1928)

July 5: Johannes Winkler founds Verein fur Raumschiffahrt, VfR, (Society for Space Travel) in Breslau, Germany. Die Rakete magazine is started.

"Space Rockets. Experimental Development" by Tsiolkovsky is published.

In USSR, engineers at Tikhomirov's laboratory propose to use solid-propellant motors to assist in the aircraft takeoff.

1928

March 3: Tikhomirov's lab conducts test launches of rockets, burning smokeless powder, reaching range of 1,300 (71) - 1,500 meters.

April (384)-June: Tikhomirov's lab renamed Gas Dynamics Laboratory, GDL, and formally subordinated to Military Research Committee of the Revolutionary Military Council of USSR.

June 11: Fritz Stamer's Ente (Duck), the world's first aircraft powered by a solid-propellant rocket engine, completes the first 1.2-kilometer flight in Germany after a takeoff from a catapult.

Esnault-Pelterie and Andre Hirsch establish the annual Hirsch Prize for best work in astronautics.

Esnault-Pelterie publishes "L'exploration par fusees de la tres haute atmosphere et la possibilite des voyages interplanetaires."

Nikolai Rynin starts publication of a nine-volume encyclopedia entitled "Interplanetary Communications." It covers fiction literature on space, technology and astronomical topics.

1929

Glushko

January: Yury Kondratyuk publishes "The Conquest of the World's Space."

April 18: In USSR, Valentin Glushko submitted the research into the Committee for Inventions entitled "Metal as the Explosive Material" paving the way to his research into the electric jet propulsion.

May 15: A department to develop liquid and electrical rocket engines is formed within GDL.

June 11: Nikolai Tikhomirov submits a patent request to the Department of Military Inventions for a method of manufacturing compressed smokeless powder. (384)

July: Valentin Glushko starts testing an electrical jet engine in GDL.

Sept. 30: Near Frankfurt, Fritz von Opel tests a RAK.1 solid-propellant rocket glider, which exceeds a speed of 100 miles per hour.

October: Tsiolkovsky's work entitled "Space Rocket Trains" is published. He also proposes a jet aircraft to the military, which is deemed unfeasible.

Fritz Lang's "Frau im Mond" (The Girl in the Moon) movie, which inspired many rocket pioneers, is released in Germany.

Karl Becker, chief of the Weapons Board of the German army, initiates a study of solid-fueled rockets.

H. Noordung publishes "The Problems of Navigating Space," which describes space station.

1930

April 4: The American Interplanetary Society is formed in New York by G. Edward Pendray, David Lasser and others.

May 17: German rocket pioneer Max Valier dies as a result of a botched engine experiment. (296)

May 23: In Berlin, Klaus Riedel and Rudolph Nebel test-fire a rocket engine. (294)

Sept. 18: The first test of a liquid-fueled engine developed by Fridrikh Tsander.

Sept. 27: Raketenflugplatz, the first rocket test range, is declared operational near Berlin, Germany.

Glushko develops the first Soviet liquid-fuel engine, ORM-1.

Frank Whittle patents jet engine.

In Italy, at the 19th Convention of the Italian Society for the Progress of Sciences, Luigi Gussalli read his paper on 'Astronautics and Jet Propulsion' and suggested awarding an International Prize for Astronautical Altitude to foster enthusiasm 'towards Astronautics, so little known in Italy.' His suggestion was vetoed by the Scientific Committee of the Convention.

1931

 

 

Feb. 21: Johannes Winkler tests the rocket burning liquid oxygen and methane.

March 14: Johannes Winkler's HW-1 becomes the first liquid-propellant rocket to fly in Europe.

April 15: In Germany, Reinhold Tiling demonstrates solid-propellant rocket with folding wings.

V. Glushko starts tests of liquid-fuel engines in GDL.

August: In Germany, the Repulsor rocket reaches 1,006 meters in altitude and lands with a parachute.

Oct. 13: Goddard launches a rocket, which reaches 518 meters in altitude.

Nov. 13: Group for Study of Rocket Propulsion, GIRD, is formed in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).

Nov. 18: Group for Study of Rocket Propulsion, Mos-GIRD, led by Fridrikh Tsander is established in Moscow under auspices of the Osoaviakhim.

Ettore Cattaneo flies a 280-kilogram rocket-powered glider in Milan. It remains in the air for 34 seconds, covering one kilometer.

1932

HW-2

Winkler's HW-2

Feb. 22: Sergei Korolev leads the tests of a rocket-propelled glider.

April 19: Goddard tests a guided rocket.

May: Publication of the N. Rynin's nine-part series entitled Interplanetary Travel is completed.

June 28: The Heavy Industry Narkomat of USSR orders the creation of Aviation Materials Research Institute.

July 14: The Soviet government begins sponsoring Moscow-based Group of Research in Jet Propulsion GIRD.

September: F. Tsander publishes his work entitled The Problem of Flight by Means of Jet-propelled Vehicles.

Oct. 6: HW-2 rocket designed by Winkler and his associates explodes during tests.

Nov. 2: Wernher von Braun starts his work on rocketry for the German army at Kummersdorf.

E. Sanger tests liquid-fueled engines.

1933

GIRD

GIRD team

March: At Berlin's Raketenflugplatz, the Society for Space Travel, VfR, tests a motor with 250-750-kilograms of thrust. (10)

March 18: In USSR, Fridrikh Tsander starts testing the 50–kilogram OR-2 engine burning benzene and liquid oxygen.

May: In Germany, E. Sanger publishes his work entitled "The Technology of Rocket Flight."

Aug. 17: A Soviet rocket with a hybrid engine, GIRD-09, designed under leadership of Mikhail Tikhonravov is launched in Nakhabino, reaching an altitude of 400 meters.

Sept. 21: GIRD and GDL officially merge to create Moscow-based Scientific Research Institute for Jet Propulsion (RNII) by the order of the Revolutionary Council, Revvoensovet.

Oct. 11: In Germany, the rocket developer Reinhold Tiling and two of his assistants die in the explosion of solid propellant.

October: British Interplanetary Society is founded in Liverpool.

November: In France, Ari Shternfeld completes a manuscript of Initiation la Cosmonautique (Introduction to Cosmonautics).

Nov. 25: GIRD-X, a Soviet rocket with a liquid-propellant engine is launched near the town of Nakhabino reaching 70-80 meters.

Dec. 31: In Leningrad, first and last attempt to launch GDL's RLA-1 rocket with Glushko's ORM-52 engine fails, after severe cold freezes an ignition valve.

1934

January: In Berlin, the Society for Space Travel, VfR, shuts down.

Feb. 17: Head of RNII Ivan Kleimenov visits Tsiolkovsky in his home in Kaluga. (387)

May 5: The 06/1 -- the first unguided cruise missile, equipped with a liquid-fuel engine flies for 100 meters.

All-Union Conference of Academy of Sciences on Stratospheric Research is held in Leningrad. In his report to the conference, Mikhail Tikhonravov proposed a manned rocket flight to the altitude of 30 kilometers. (453)

William Swan reaches an altitude of 200 feet in the aircraft powered by a solid-propellant engine near Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Nov. 27: A new jet propulsion study group, KharGIRD, is formed in Kharkov, Ukraine, under leadership of V. I. Rozov.

December: Two German A-2 rockets fly from Borkum Island, reaching an altitude of 1.5-2 kilometers. (174)

1935

January: Sergei Korolev's work entitled "Rocket Flight in Stratosphere" is published.

June 27: In Germany, Wernher von Braun outlines the design for a rocket development center in Peenemunde.

July 23: Britain's Air Defense Research Committee receives first report on radio direction finding (Radar).

November: Langemak and Glushko of RNII publish their work entitled "Rockets, Their Design and Application."

In Germany, Walter starts a company developing rocket engines for airplanes and gas generators for rockets.

1936

March 15: RNII initiates development of the ORM-65 engine with the thrust of 175 kilograms.

May 9: Sergei Korolev oversees the first test of a winged missile, designated 216.

Oct. 25: In California, a group of Caltech students, led by Frank Malina, conducted the first stand-up rocket engine test in a dirt gulch known to the residents of Pasadena as the Arroyo. The site later became Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL, the world's leading center for robotic exploration of the solar system and beyond.

Nov. 5: Official test firing of the ORM-65 engine for the RP-318 rocket glider and the 212 cruise missile at RNII.

Nov. 19: RNII conducts a test launch of an 217/p anti-aircraft winged missile with a solid-propellant engine.

Robert Goddard publishes "Liquid Propellant Rocket Development."

1937

A3

A-3 test

May: The construction of early technical facilities is completed at the rocket development center in Peenemünde, Germany. Key rocket specialists move in from Kummersdorf. Wernher von Braun becomes Technical Director of the Army's development plant, a.k.a. East Plant.

June 1: Theodore von Kármán, Director of the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology at Pasadena, United States, established the Cal Tech Rocket Research Project that began experiments in design fundamentals of high-altitude sounding rockets. Later became the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

June: Rocket-powered Heinkel He-112 aircraft developed at Kummersdorf flies in Neuhardenberg.

October: "Introduction to Cosmonautics" by Ari Shternfeld is published in the USSR.

Dec. 4-11: Four German A-3 rockets tested at the Greifswalder Oie island in the Baltic Sea.

The Astronautics Exhibit in Paris.

Kleimenov and Langemak, the leaders of RNII, arrested and executed by Stalin's henchmen.

1938

May 29: Sergei Korolev is injured during testing of the 212 cruise missile.

BMW starts the development of rocket engines for airplanes and rockets.

Korolev and Glushko arrested and imprisoned during Stalin's terror.

Eugen Sanger and Irene Bredt initiate a design of a stratospheric rocket-powered bomber.

1939

BIS

BIS moonship

Jan. 29: An experimental cruise missile 212 powered by the ORM-65 No. 2 engine is tested in flight.

May 18 or 19: An R-3 ramjet missile developed by Igor A. Merkulov makes a successful test flight with the help of a solid-propellant booster at the airfield of the Progress plant.

Summer: Soviet I-16 fighter planes fire missiles at Japanese targets during the conflict in the Far East.

June 20: The He-176 aircraft powered by the Walter-built liquid-fueled rocket engine conducts a test flight in Germany's Peenemünde, powered by Walter's HWK R1-203 engine, becoming the first manned rocket aircraft.

British Interplanetary Society, BIS, publishes a study of a manned mission to the Moon.

1940

Feb. 28: The RP-318-1 rocket-powered glider, originally designed by Korolev, is tested in flight and reaches a speed of 200 km per hour.

Sept. 19: During a Tsiolkovsky memorial conference in Kharkov, Ukraine, a local jet propulsion study group launches its second solid-propellant rocket Mirazh-2. A group also works on a "stratospheric" rocket scheduled for construction in 1941.

Dec. 18: Germany tests Henschel Hs 293 radio-controlled bomb.

1941

Me-163

Me-163

May: RUS-1 and RUS-2 air-defense radar start operations.

June 30: The head of the Soviet armament industry orders creation of the design bureau, SKB, at the Kompressor plant for serial production of solid-propellant missiles.

June-October: Russian aviation institutions urgently evacuate to the eastern regions of the USSR in the face of German advance toward Moscow.

July 14: The Red Army employs short-range missiles, BM-13-16, on the battlefield of World War II for the first time.

Aug. 13: German rocket-powered Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet aircraft completes its first test flight.

In Italy, Luigi Gussalli publishes "Jet Propulsion for Astronautics", suggesting the use of a 'solar engine' as an auxiliary motor.

1942

A-4 missile

April 20: The Soviet Defense Council signed a decree No. 089s creating Plant No. 706 responsible for gyroscops and subrodinated to ship-building industry.

May 15: A BI-1 rocket-powered aircraft-interceptor is tested in flight.

June 13: The first (unsuccessful) attempt to launch the V-2 (A-4) ballistic missile from Peenemünde, Germany.

Aug. 16: The second A-4 missile (production No. 3) reaches an altitude of five miles before failing.

Oct. 3: The A-4 missile reaches an altitude of 85 kilometers during a successful test flight.

In Italy, Luigi Gussalli starts work on "Interplanetary Travel through Solar Radiations: a Fuel-Free Propulsion System (that needs no fuel) is the Key to Interplanetary Travel."

1943

March 27: The 7th and last test flight of the Bi-1 rocket fighter piloted by G. Ya. Bakhchivandzhi takes place.

Aug. 17-18: British bombers conduct a surprise raid on the German missile development center in Peenemünde.

Aug. 22 - Nov. 18: The RD-1 rocket engine is tested in USSR onboard the Pe-2R bomber in 40 rocket-powered flights.

Nov. 19: The TsAGI aviation research institute forms a department responsible for jet propulsion.

1944

June 9: The Soviet Army adopts the BM 31-12 battlefield missile system developed by SKB Kompressor.

July 27: Soviet government issues a decree formally releasing a group of key rocket development experts from Stalin's prisons.

September: Germany starts using A-4 ballistic missiles for attacks against London.

Soviet troops capture first remnants of the German A-4 rocket in Poland, which are sent to Moscow for evaluation.

In the US, Caltech initiates development of a high-altitude rocket and launches its first prototype - Private A.

1945

A team of top German ballistic missile designers led by Wernher von Braun surrenders to the US army occupying Germany. They eventually create a core of the missile development team at Redstone Arsenal in Hunstville, Ala.

April-August: Russian engineers and scientists come to Germany to search and evaluate Nazi missile programs.

September: Helmut Gröttrup, a leading Peenemünde engineer, joins Soviet efforts to restore the production of the German A-4 missiles.

1946

May 10: The first A-4 missile blasts off from White Sands, NM, reaching an altitude of 112 kilometers.

May 13: The Soviet government launches a wide-scale missile development program based on the German technology.

Aug. 18: A Lavochkin fighter plane equipped with Glushko's RD-1KhZ rocket engine demonstrated in flight during Tushino's air show.

Oct. 22: Soviet authorities deport dozens of German rocket engineers to the USSR.

1947

X-1

March 7: The 20th A-4 (V-2) rocket launched in the US obtains first photos of the cloud cover from the altitude exceeding 100 kilometers, during a mission from White Sands, New Mexico.

Oct. 14: The X-1 plane piloted by Charles Yeager breaks the sound barrier.

Oct. 18: The first German A-4 rocket is launched from Kapustin Yar.

The development of a long-range ballistic missile (MX-774) canceled as "not promising."

1948

July 14: At the summer session of the Academy of Artillery Sciences, AAN, Tikhonravov presents a report entitled "Means of reaching long range of firing with missiles." (247)

Sept. 17: The R-1, the Soviet copy of German A-4 is launched for the first time.

Fall: Sergei Korolev discusses a possibility of launching dogs on ballistic missiles with the expert in aviation medicine V. I. Yazdovsky. (453)

British Interplanetary Society initiates studies of the launch vehicle for the artificial satellite.

1949

Feb. 24: A Bamper-5 rocket reaches an altitude of 393 kilometers (244 miles).

The Viking rocket is launched for the first time from White Sands test range in the US.

The US Air Force establishes Department of Space Medicine.

Sept. 21: The first R-2 ballistic missile is launched.

1950

Orbital R-3

April 26: Sergei Korolev officially becomes a chief designer of OKB-1, the developer of the Soviet long-range ballistic missiles.

Within R-3 ballistic missile program, Korolev team studies a multistage version of a rocket capable of launching a satellite.

July: The first rocket (German A-4 with a WAC "Bumper" second stage) blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Sept. 30: The First International Astronautics Congress convenes in Paris, creating International Federation of Astronautics.

Oct. 7: USSR launches a 1RB rocket with dogs Mishka and Chizhik to the altitude of 88.7 kilometers, whose cabin then parachutes safely back to Earth after experiencing an acceleration of 5.5 g during the ascent.

1951

July 29: The launch of the "geophysical" rocket in the USSR carrying live animals onboard.

K. Gatland, A. Dixon and A. Kunesh present a project of a "minimal" spacecraft at the meeting of the International Astronautical Congress in London.

First Physics and Medicine of Upper Atmosphere Symposium is held.

The International Astronautical Federation is established.

1952

May 21: Hubert M. Drake and L. Robert Carman from NACA release a proposal to build hypersonic research vehicle which could reach a speed of 6.4 Mach.

Space Biology Branch of the Aeromedical Field Laboratory is established at Holloman AFB.

August - September: the USSR conducts final test flights of the R-2 ballistic missile.

Sept. 20: Eric Burgess and C.A. Cross present the Martian Probe paper at the meeting of the northwestern branch of the British Interplanetary Society, coining a term "planetary probe."

1953

Feb. 18: The commission on space science is organized within the Academy of Sciences of USSR.

Aug. 20: Redstone missile flies its first test mission.

October: The US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board recommends the development of the research vehicle capable of Mach 7.

The X-1A research plane reached the altitude of 27 kilometers and speed of 2,655 kilometers per hour.

1954

June 25: The Orbiter project is considered by Navy in Washington.

The Viking rocket reaches the altitude of 254 kilometers (158 miles) and a speed of 6920 kilometers per hour (4,300 mph).

The US government authorizes the development of the Atlas ICBM.

The development of the R-7 ICBM is approved by the Soviet government.

1955

Feb. 12: The government approves the development of the NIIP-5 test range near Tyuratam (Baikonur Cosmodrome).

April: The NII-4 research institute issued a preliminary report No. 571 on the Subject No. 72, entitled "The research on the issue of creation of artificial Earth satellite" commissioned by Korolev. (126)

September: The Vanguard project is officially approved as the program of launching a satellite in the US.

Qian Xuesen, an MIT-trained rocket scientist, returns to his native China, after accusations of spying in the US.

1956

Jan. 30: The Soviet of Ministers of the USSR approves the development of the scientific satellite (Object D)

January: "The Mechanics of Photon Rockets" by E. Sanger is published in West Germany.

The X-2 experimental plane reaches the altitude of 38 kilometers (126,000 feet) and the speed of 3,540 kilometers per hour (2,200 mph).

The Aerobee-Hi AGUL-0113C rocket reaches the altitude of 264 kilometers (164 miles).

1957

Sputnik-1

March 10: Scientists at the NACA Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory (now NASA's Glenn Research Center) begin ion engine research.

May 1: US Navy conducts a test launch of a Vanguard rocket.

May 15: The first test launch of the R-7 ICBM (failed after 20 seconds in flight).

May 16: The R-2A research rocket equipped with the AFA-39 camera produces first Soviet photos of the Earth surface during a high-altitude ballistic flight.

June 11: The Atlas rocket flies its first test mission. It failed 22 seconds after launch.

August: R-7 ICBM completes the first successful test flight.

Oct. 4: World's first artificial satellite is launched.

Oct. 23: US Navy conducts a test launch of the Vanguard rocket.

Nov. 3: Sputnik-2, carrying dog Laika, is launched.

Dec. 6: US Navy attempts to launch the Vanguard (TV-3) satellite. The launcher fails after 2 seconds in flight.

1958

Sputnik-3

Jan. 31: Explorer-1, the first US satellite, reaches orbit.

Feb. 5: US Navy attempts to launch the Vanguard (TV-3 backup) satellite. The launcher fails after 57 seconds in flight.

March 17: The Vanguard (TV-4), the first satellite to use solar energy, reaches orbit.

May 15: Object D (Sputnik-3), a geophysical lab, reaches orbit.

Aug. 17: A Thor-Able rocket, carrying US Air Force's Pioneer lunar orbiter, explodes 77 seconds after launch.

Oct. 1: The US Congress creates NASA.

Qian Xuesen, the father of the Chinese rocketry, proposes a satellite project to the Chinese government.

1959

Luna-3

Luna-3

Jan. 1-2: Luna-1, the first spacecraft to escape Earth orbit, is launched.

March 3: Pioneer-4 passes within 60,000 kilometers from the Moon.

May 22: The Soviet government issues a decreee authorizing the development of the first manned spacecraft.

May 28: First primates (Able and Baker) complete a suborbital flight onboard a Jupiter ballistic missile.

Sept. 12: Luna-2 the first man-made object to impact the Moon.

Oct. 3: Luna-3 photographs far side of the Moon.

1960

Vostok

Vostok prototype

March 11: The US launches Pioneer 5, which would succeed in transmitting radio signals from the distance of 22.5 million miles -- a record for that time.

April 1: The US launches Tiros-1 from Cape Canaveral, the first weather-monitoring satellite.

April 13: The US successfully launches Transit 1B, the first navigation satellite.

May 15: The first prototype of the Vostok spacecraft reaches orbit.

Aug. 18: The Discoverer satellite successfully returns capsule from orbit (captured in mid-air).

Aug. 19: Two dogs, Belka and Strelka, landed onboard the prototype of the Vostok spacecraft (Korabl Sputnik-5), becoming first animals returning from orbit.

October 24: Around 100 people die during and in the aftermath of the explosion of the R-16 ICBM in Baikonur.

1961

Gagarin

Jan. 31: Chimpanzee Ham flies a suborbital flight inside the Mercury-Redstone 2 capsule.

Feb. 12: Venera-1 probe lifts off toward Venus.

April 12: Yuri Gagarin completes world's first manned space flight onboard Vostok spacecraft.

May 5: Alan Shepard completes a suborbital flight onboard Mercury spacecraft.

June 29: The US Transit-4A navigation satellite enters orbit with the first nuclear power supply system onboard. Its Ablestar upper stage explodes into nearly 300 detectable pieces 77 minutes after the orbital insertion.

July 21: Gus Grissom completes a suborbital flight onboard Mercury spacecraft.

Aug. 6-7: Gherman Titov completes a 25-hour orbital flight onboard Vostok-2.

1962

Vostok-3-4

Vostok-3 and 4

Feb. 20: John Glenn completes the first US manned orbital space flight onboard Mercury-Atlas-6 spacecraft.

April 26-Aug. 1: The first successful mission of the Soviet Zenit-2 reconnaissance satellite announced as Kosmos-4. Landed at the village of Avgustovka in Kuibushev Region.

May 16: Korolev approved a preliminary design of the N1 rocket, which envisioned a 2,200-ton, three-stage vehicle capable of launching 75 tons of payload.

Aug. 11-15: Two manned spacecraft, Vostok 3 and 4, orbit the Earth simultaneously.

October: The US and USSR face a standoff in the Cuban missile crisis.

Dec. 14: Mariner-2 completes the first Venus flyby.

1963

Tereshkova

May 15-16: NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper conducts a 34-hour, 22 orbit mission, the longest and the last in the Mercury program.

June 14-19: Valery Bykovsky completes longest 199-hour, 81-orbit manned space flight to date, during the Vostok-5 mission.

June 16-19: Valentina Tereshkova, the world's first woman in space completes orbital flight onboard Vostok-6 spacecraft.

July 26: The Syncom-2 communications satellite reaches synchronous orbit.

1964

April 8: NASA launches an unmanned Gemini-1 spacecraft on a first test mission of the program.

April 13: The Soviet government authorizes the production of 3KV and 3KD (Voskhod) spacecraft.

Aug. 14: USSR test fires the Romashka thermo-electric generator designed for space applications.

Aug. 19: The Syncom-3 communications satellite becomes the world's first geostationary satellite.

Oct. 12-13: A first three-member crew orbits Earth onboard Voskhod spacecraft.

1965

Leonov's EVA

March 18: Alexei Leonov conducts world's first spacewalk during the 24-hour, 16-orbit Voskhod-2 mission.

March 23: NASA astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young fly a three-orbit mission onboard Gemini-3 spacecraft, the first manned launch in the program.

April 3: The US Atlas rocket launches a Snapshot satellite, carrying into orbit the first nuclear reactor SNAP-10A and ion engine.

July 15: Mariner-4 completes flyby of Mars.

July 16: The first Proton rocket blasts off from Site 81 in Tyuratam (Baikonur) carrying the Proton-1 spacecraft.

Sept. 3: The USSR launches Kosmos-80 spacecraft carryng an isotope generator onboard. It was expected to remain in orbit for 10,000 years.

Nov. 2: The second Proton rocket delivers the Proton-2 spacecraft.

Nov. 26: A Diamant rocket orbits the first French satellite, the A-1, making the country the third space power.

1966Luna

Luna-9

Feb. 3: Luna-9 conducts soft-landing and scientific research on the surface of the Moon.

March 16: Gemini-8 completes world's first manual docking with Agena-8.

June 30: The USSR and France sign an agreement on space cooperation.

In the US, the Northrop HL-10 wingless "lifting-body" rocket plane makes its first flight.

1967

L1 spacecraft

Jan. 27: Three US astronauts die in the fire inside Apollo spacecraft during on-pad tests.

March 10: A Proton rocket launches a first prototype of the L1 circumlunar spacecraft announced as Kosmos-146.

April 24: Vladimir Komarov dies on landing during a test flight of the Soyuz-1 spacecraft.

June 12: Venera-4, the first probe to enter the atmosphere of Venus, blasts off from Baikonur.

The first Saturn-5 rocket blasts off, carrying the unmanned Apollo-4 spacecraft.

Oct. 27: The USSR launches an unmanned prototype of the Soyuz spacecraft (Kosmos-186) intended to test an automated docking in orbit.

1968

Earthrise over the Moon

March 2: Proton launches a prototype of the L1 circumlunar spacecraft announced as Zond-4.

March 27: Yuri Gagarin dies in a plane crash.

Sept. 18: Zond-5, the prototype of the L1 spacecraft for manned circumlunar flight swings around the Moon.

April 23: The Proton rocket fails to deliver prototype of the L1 circumlunar spacecraft.

July 14: The explosion at the Proton launch complex with L-1 (Zond) spacecraft in pre-launch processing kills one person, delaying the program.

Oct. 11: The Apollo-7 with the crew of three orbits Earth.

1967 Nov. 5 - Nov. 5: Three Russian researchers completed a year-long isolation experiment similating a deep-space planetary mission.

Dec. 24: The Apollo-8 with the crew of three completes world's first translunar flight and orbiting of the Moon.

1969

Man walks on Moon

Jan. 14: Soyuz-4 blasts off on a mission to practice first docking of the two manned spacecraft and crew transfer between two ships.

Feb. 21: The N1-L3 moon rocket (No. 3L) fails after 68.7 seconds in flight.

March 3: The Apollo-9 blasts off to Earth orbit on mission to practice lunar landing maneuvers.

May 18: The Apollo-10 blasts off toward the Moon to practice lunar landing maneuvers.

July 3: The N1-L3 moon rocket (No. 5L) fails at launch.

July 20: The Apollo-11 astronauts land and walk on the surface of the Moon.

Oct. 11: The Soyuz-6 blasts off starting the first triple mission of manned spacecraft. Soyuz-7 and 8 follow.

Nov. 14: The Apollo-12 blasts off to conduct the second successful expedition to the Moon.

1970

Jan. 13: The Soviet government approves the development of the Bion retrievable satellite for life-science experiments in space.

April 24: China launches an artificial satellite onboard a domestically built Chang Zheng 1 rocket, converted from CSS-3 ICBM.

Oct. 3: The first Soviet satellite (US-A/Kosmos-367) enters orbit with a Buk nuclear power system onboard.

Nov. 17: A Soviet Lunokhod-1 unmanned lunar rover made a successful soft landing on the Moon.

Dec. 15: Venera-7 lander transmits first data from the surface of Venus.

1971

Mars-3 lander

 

April 19: Salyut-1, the first orbital station is launched. Its crew of three dies on landing.

Oct. 28: Great Britain launches the Prospero satellite onboard the Black Arrow rocket from the launch site in Australia.

Dec. 2: The Mars-3 lander reaches the surface of Mars. Only few seconds of data had been received on Earth, before the spacecraft fails.

1972

Jan. 5: President Nixon approved development of the Space Shuttle.

March 2: NASA launched the Pioneer-10 space probe, the first spacecraft to capture close-range images of Jupiter and the first to travel outside our solar system.

March 27: The USSR launches Venera-8 probe toward Venus.

July 22: The Soviet Venera-8 probe reaches Venus.

July 29: The DOS-2 (Salyut) space station fails to reach orbit due to the Proton rocket failure.

December: The Apollo-17, the sixth and last lunar expedition of the 20th century, visits the Moon.

1973

Pioneer-10

 

May 11: The DOS-3 (Kosmos-557) orbital station fails in orbit soon after the launch by the Proton rocket.

May 14: The last Saturn-5 rocket launches the Skylab orbital lab. Three crews visit and work onboard the station.

Oct. 31: The USSR launches the first Bion spacecraft designed for retrievable life-science experiments in orbit.

Dec. 4: The Pioneer-10 completes flyby of Jupiter.

1974

March 29: Mariner-10 completes flyby of Mercury.

July: The first Soviet crew works onboard the military space station (Salyut-3).

Aug. 13: Valentin Glushko outlines a new strategy for space exploration to industry and government officials.

Oct. 28: The USSR launches the Luna-23 lunar-soil sample return mission.

Dec. 26: The Salyut-4 orbital station is launched. Two crews visit the lab.

1975

Apollo-Soyuz

Apollo-Soyuz

March 16: Mariner-10 completes its third and last flyby of Mercury.

April 19: USSR launched the first Inidian satellite, Ariabkhata, from Kapustin Yar test range.

July: Two cosmonauts work onboard Salyut-4, as Soviet Soyuz-19 and the US Apollo spacecraft dock elsewhere in space.

July 17: The Soviet Soyuz and US Apollo spacecraft dock in space.

Oct. 22: Venera-9 transmitted first ever images from the surface of Venus.

Nov. 25: The USSR launches Bion No. 3 spacecraft (Kosmos-782) carrying a centrifuge to generate artificial gravity onboard.

China recovers a remote-sensing satellite from orbit.

1976

Feb. 17: The Soviet government officially approves the Energia-Buran development.

March 16: The Soviet government officially approves the development of the Zenit rocket.

Two Viking spacecraft land on Mars and transmit first images from the surface.

1977

Sept. 29: The Salyut-6 space station is launched.

October: The Shuttle Enterprise conducts first atmospheric flights after separation from the Boeing-747 carrier aircraft.

1978

January 20: The Progress-1 the first cargo ship to resupply the space station is launched.

The Pioneer-Venus spacecraft is launched toward Venus.

1979

Sept. 1: Pioneer-11 completes flyby of Saturn.

Sept. 5: The USSR launches its first Resurs-F1 satellite dedicated to high-resolution imaging of the Earth's surface.

Dec. 16: The first Soyuz-T spacecraft is launched into unmanned test flight.

Shaghai-based newspaper Wen Hui Bao publishes a photo of a spacesuited Chinese astronaut in training. More photos would follow.

1980

June 5-9: The Soyuz-T spacecraft carries the crew for the first time (Soyuz-T2).

July 18: India launches Rokhini satellite onboard its own SLV-3 rocket from its own launch site.

Aug. 25: The RD-170 engine for the Energia and Zenit rockets is test-fired for the first time.

1981

Columbia

 

April 12: The US Shuttle Columbia blasts off into the first test flight.

The TKS heavy transport ship docks with unmanned Salyut-6.

Nov. 12: The US Shuttle Columbia returns to orbit, becoming the first reusable spacecraft.

 

1982

April 19: The Salyut-7 space station is launched.

Oct. 12: The USSR starts deployment of its GLONASS global positioning system.

Nov. 11: The Shuttle Columbia launches two communications satellites during its first operational mission.

1983

April: NASA launches Challenger, its second reusable orbiter.

Sept. 26: The Soyuz rocket with two cosmonauts onboard explodes on the launch pad. The emergency escape system saves the crew.

November: The European Spacelab conducts its first orbital mission onboard the US Shuttle.

1984

February: Shuttle astronauts conduct untethered spacewalk, with the help of a manned maneuvering unit, MMU.

April: The Shuttle Challenger crew retrieves, repairs and redeploys the Solar Maximum Mission satellite.

The 3rd expedition to Salyut-7 remains onboard the station for 237 days.

1985

April 16: The USSR launches the first retrievable Foton satellite for material science research in space.

June: Two cosmonauts dock and revive the Salyut-7, after the station had flown powerless and out of control for several months.

August: A Shuttle crew captures, repairs and redeploys a failed navy satellite.

1986

Mir

Jan. 28: The Shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds after the launch killing seven crew members onboard.

Jan. 24: The Voyager-2 becomes the first and only spacecraft in the 20th century to flyby and study Uranus.

February 20: The core module of the Mir space station is launched. Its first expedition shuttles between Mir and Salyut-7.

March 13-14: Europe's Giotto spacecraft sweeps to within 600 kilometers of Halley's comet.

China announces its intention to compete on the international space launch market with domestically built rockets.

1987

March 31: The Kvant-1 module docks to Mir.

May 15: The Energia super-heavy-lift booster flies its first mission.

In the wake of the Challenger disaster, NASA works on Shuttle upgrades. Shuttle launches with commercial payloads, the Centaur space tug for the Shuttle and all Shuttle missions from Vandenberg AFB in California, canceled.

1988

Buran

 

Sept. 19: Israel's Shavit rocket successfully launches Ofeq-1 (Oz-1) -- country's first satellite.

Sept. 29: NASA resumes Space Shuttle missions after the Challenger disaster.

Nov. 15: The Energia booster launches the unmanned Buran reusable orbiter, which lands automatically after two orbits during its first and only mission.

1989

August: The Voyager-2 becomes the first spacecraft to flyby and study Neptune.

October 18-23: The Shuttle Atlantis launches Galileo spacecraft toward Jupiter (STS-34).

Dec. 1: The USSR launches the Granat X-ray observatory.

Dec. 2: The Kvant-2 module docks with Mir.

Russia and China normalize relations, reopening opportunities for cooperation in space.

1990

Jan. 9-20: The Shuttle Columbia retrieves LDEF spacecraft and returns it to Earth (STS-32).

Jan. 24: Japan launches the 195-kilogram Muses-A (Hiten) spacecraft into a highly-elliptical orbit, which periodically takes it into the vicinity of the Moon.

February: Cosmonauts onboard Mir test manned maneuvering unit in tethered flights.

March 19: Japan's Muses-A (Hiten) spacecraft conducted its first flyby of the Moon, inserting Hagoromo micro-satellite into its orbit.

April 24-29: The Shuttle Discovery deploys Hubble Space Telescope (STS-31).

June 11: The Kristall module carrying docking port for Buran orbiter docks with Mir.

China launches and recovers a biological satellite, carrying 60 animals and plants, including rats, and guinea pigs.

1991

April: The Shuttle Atlantis deploys Gamma Ray Observatory (STS-37).

May: The first commercial passenger, British citizen Helen Sharman, visits Mir.

December: The Soviet Union is officially dissolved in the aftermath of the communist coup attempt in Moscow.

1992

Feb. 15: Japan's Muses-A (Hiten) probe enters orbit around the Moon.

May 7-16: The crew of the Shuttle Endeavor (STS-49) captures, repairs and redeploys the Intelsat VI communications satellite.

Sept. 11: The Mir crew mounts an auxiliary propulsion unit on the station's extendable boom.

Chinese government approves Project 921, the precursor to the manned space program.

1993

April 10: Japan's Muses-A (Hiten) probe ends its mission, impacting lunar surface.

April 27: Moscow-based KB Salyut and London-based Inmarsat sign the first agreement for the launch of a Western commercial satellite by a Russian Proton rocket.

Russia joins the International Space Station program.

Dec. 2-13: The Shuttle crew (STS-61) retrieves, repairs and redeploys the Hubble Space Telescope.

1994

Jan. 8: Valery Polyakov boards Mir starting world's longest (year-and-a-half) space flight.

Feb. 3-11: Sergei Krikalev becomes the first Russian cosmonaut to fly onboard the US Shuttle (STS-60).

Aug. 9: A rocket engine using three propellant components is live-tested in Sergiev Posad, Russia.

1995

May 20: The Spektr module is launched toward Mir.

June 27-July 7: The US Space Shuttle (STS-71) docks to the Mir space station for the first time.

Dec. 7: The Galileo spacecraft enters orbit around Jupiter.

1996

Xichang

Feb. 15: China's Chang Zheng-3B rocket, carrying the Intelsat-708 communications satellite, veers off course immediately after launch and crashes into a village near the Xichang launch site, killing as many as 500 people.

April 23: Priroda, the Mir's last originally planned module, blasts off toward the station.

April 25: Yuri Koptev, head of the Russian Space Agency, signs an agreement on space cooperation with China, during a visit to Beijing. Two Chinese trainees would soon visit Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City.

May: Shuttle launches the Spartan spacecraft with an inflatable antenna experiment.

November: Mars-96 spacecraft left stranded in the Earth orbit after launch.

1997

Feb. 11-21: Shuttle (STS-82) completes second servicing of Hubble Space Telescope.

Feb. 23: A fire breaks out onboard the Mir space station.

June 25: A Progress cargo ship collides with Mir during docking exercise, depressurizing the Spektr module.

Mars Pathfinder lands on Mars and deploys the first rover on the Red Planet.

1998

Aug. 31: North Korea launches Daepodong-1 (Taepodong-1) rocket, officially announced as carrying Kwangmyongsong satellite, which apparently did not reach orbit.

Sept. 14-16: Space Research Institute, IKI, conducts an international conference in Moscow on the human expedition to Mars.

Oct. 12: The first launch of the Euroepan ARD capsule, during the third test launch of the Ariane-5 rocket.

Nov. 20: The Zarya/FGB control module, the first element of the International Space Station lifts off from Baikonur (Mission 1R).

Dec. 4-15: US Space Shuttle (STS-88/1A) launches and docks the Unity module and PMA-1 and 2 docking ports to Zarya FGB to create the first segment of the ISS.

1999

May 27-June 6: NASA Space Shuttle (Mission STS-96/2A) resupplies the nascent International Space Station.

August: Space Station Mir is left unmanned for the first time since 1989.

November: Japan's H-2 rocket carrying a weather satellite goes off course and has to be destroyed during launch.

Nov. 20: China launches the first prototype of the manned spacecraft, Shenzhou-1, conducting a successful one-day mission without crew.

Dec. 3: Mars Polar Lander disappears during its descent to the surface of Mars.

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