||One of the most significant
events of the 20th century occurred on this day. Yuri A.
Gagarin; the Soviet cosmonaut ventured into the depths of space on the
spacecraft; Vostok 1. The first ever person to do so, in fact,
which makes this event so significant. He spent a total of 1 hour and 48
minutes in space, making a height of 327km in orbit above the Earth.
Yuri later landed safely in Siberia and five more Vostok flights
were made after him.
||A mere month after the launch
of Vostok 1 by the USSR, the United States sent their first
person into (near) space. Alan B. Shepard Jr and his Mercury
spacecraft named Freedom 7 flew a ballistic trajectory and made a
15 minutes suborbital flight around the Earth before re-entering the
||Valentina Tereshkova was the
first women to fly in space. She was the pilot of the Russian Vostok
6, orbiting the Earth 48 times.
||One of the most successful moon
missions was accomplished by the Ranger 7 probe which, just
before hitting the side of the moon, took and transmitted 4316 photos of
the lunar surface.
||The US launched the Mariner
4 probe which flew past Mars on the July of 1965 and transmitted the
first close up photographs of the Martian surface, which was revealed to
be pockmarked with craters. This mission was followed by the launches of
Mariners 6 and 7 which also flew past Mars and added to
the data that was previously accumulated.
||The first space walk
(extravehicular activity) was performed on this mission with Aleksei A.
Leonov leaving the space craft while it was in orbit and ventured out
into space, tethered to Voskhod 2 with an umbilical chord like
|Jan 31, 1966
||In this year, the USSR made the first soft
landing on the Moon (meaning that the probe landed on the lunar surface
without being destroyed) with the Luna 9. It transmitted close up
visuals of the lunar surface.
||Following the USSRís successful
soft moon landing mission, the USA sent the Surveyor 1 which also
made a soft landing on the moon. It sent back 11 150 photos of the
||The United States sent a series
of Lunar Orbiters to the moon whilst taking thousands of
photographs of the surface. From these images the landing sites for the
Apollo moon-landings were chosen.
||The United States sent two soft landing
craft to the moon in this year. Both craft sent back a large number of
photographs, however each had its own specially assigned tasks.
Surveyor 3 took samples of the lunar soil; examining it using a
television camera whilst Surveyor 5 chemically analysed the
surface, using an alpha particle scattering process.
||During a training exercise, the three
member crew of an Apollo spacecraft died when a fire broke out in
their capsule. Due to the pure oxygen atmosphere inside the spacecraft
and that one of the capsule doors malfunctioned, the fire killed all
three personnel. Because of this accident, the Apollo programme was
postponed by more than a year while the spacecraft design underwent a
||Cosmonaut Komarov was the pilot of the new
Soviet spacecraft the Soyuz. The Soyuz had a capacity for
three people and a working compartment that was accessible through a
hatch. The compartment had a purpose of providing a place for doing
experiments. Following re-entry into the Earthís atmosphere, the
parachute lines became caught with each other and Komarov fell to his
death. The USSR space programme was delayed by nearly two years because
of this tragedy.
||Several Apollo missions were
undertaken during this year doing such things as transmitting pictures
of the Moon and Earth, practising rendezvous of the CM and LM and
finally, the orbiting of the Moon. This was all in preparation for
landing astronauts on the Moon.
||As with the launch of the first person in
space earlier this decade, landing the first people on the moon was also
an incredibly significant event, realising the dreams of thousands of
years of humanity; to know what is on the moon and to journey there. At
10:56pm eastern standard time on July 20th, Neil A. Armstrong
descended from the ladder of the Apollo 11 LM (lunar module) in
his bulky white space suit while millions watched from their TV sets.
His first words were, "Thatís one small step for man, one giant leap for
mankind". Edwin Aldrin followed close behind him. After two hours of
collecting samples on the surface, they rendezvoused back with Michael
Collins, who was in the command module, using the top half of the LM to
do so (by firing its rockets so as to escape the gravity of the Moon).
The Astronauts splashed down in the Sea on July 24 in the Pacific Ocean
near Hawaii and were promptly recovered.
||The USSR launched the Luna 16 and
17 spacecrafts in this year. Luna 16 soft landed on the moon
and placed 113g of lunar soil in a sealed container which was then
launched from the Moon, being recovered in the USSR. Luna 17 also
soft landed however it carried an automated solar powered lunar roving
vehicle fitted with a video camera, which explored the moon, traversing
more than 10.5km (over a period of 321 Earth days) relaying data its to
||The Apollo 13 mission of the
United States was supposed to be the third moon landing, however the
mission was met with disaster. During the flight, one of the oxygen
tanks ruptured. The crew were forced to abort the mission and to get
themselves safely back to Earth. While still connected to the LM (which
was providing some of the Oxygen and power for the crew), Apollo 13
swung around the moon and safely re-entered the Earthís atmosphere,
splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
||The USSR sent a probe,
Venera 7 to Venus which lasted for about 23 minutes before losing
contact. During this time it gave humans the first glimpse at the
environment of Venus through the transmitting of temperature data. In
the subsequent decades, Venera 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 also
landed on Venus and gave more in depth analysis of the Venusian surface.