Civilisation/Space Exploration

From Quiz Revision Notes


Sputnik 1 (‘Satellite 1’) was the first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite. It was launched into a low altitude elliptical orbit by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957 and was the first in a series of satellites collectively known as the Sputnik program. The satellite traveled at 29,000 km per hour, taking 96 minutes to complete an orbit. The radio signals continued for 22 days until the transmitter batteries ran out

Sputnik 2 was the second spacecraft launched into Earth orbit, on 3 November 1957, and the first to carry a living animal into orbit, a dog named Laika (‘barker’)

Explorer 1 was the first satellite of the United States, launched as part of its participation in the International Geophysical Year. Explorer 1 was launched on 31 January 1958. It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt

Telstar 1 was launched on top of a Thor-Delta rocket in July 1962. It successfully relayed through space the first television pictures and telephone calls

Intelsat I (nicknamed Early Bird) was the first commercial communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit, in April 1965. Built by Hughes Aircraft

Hipparcos (for High Precision Parallax Collecting Satellite) was an astrometry mission of the European Space Agency dedicated to the measurement of stellar parallax and the proper motions of stars. The project was named in honour of Hipparchus and launched in 1989

BeppoSAX was an Italian–Dutch satellite for X-ray astronomy which played a crucial role in resolving the origin of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the most powerful events in the universe. In 2003, the satellite ended its life falling into the Pacific Ocean

Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) (formerly known as Triana) is a NASA satellite proposed in 1998 by then-Vice President Al Gore for the purpose of Earth observation. It is intended to be positioned at the Earth's L1 Lagrangian point, at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers. At this location it will have a continuous view of the Sun-lit side of the Earth

Aura – a US space agency satellite designed to check the health of the Earth's atmosphere

Amazonas-1 and Amazonas-2 Brazilian satellites monitor the Amazon rain forest

Uhuru (‘freedom’ in Swahili) – first satellite used for X-Ray astronomy, in 1970

CubeSat – a type of miniaturized satellite for space research. Typically a 10cm cube

Space probes

Pioneer 4 – first US craft in orbit, and the first US probe to escape from the Earth's gravity. Launched in 1959

Luna 3 was a Soviet spacecraft that photographed the far side of the moon in 1959

Ranger program was a series of unmanned space missions by the United States in the 1960s whose objective was to obtain the first close-up images of the surface of the Moon

Ranger 4 was the first US spacecraft to crash land on the Moon, in 1962

Mariner 2 passed within 22,000 miles of Venus in 1962, becoming the first space probe to conduct a successful planetary encounter

Launched in 1964, Mariner 4 performed the first successful flyby of the planet Mars

Venera series probes were developed by the Soviet Union between 1961 and 1984 to gather data from Venus. Among the other results, probes of the series became the first man-made devices to enter the atmosphere of another planet (Venera 4), to make a soft landing on another planet (Venera 7), and to return images from the planetary surface (Venera 9)

Mars program was a series of unmanned spacecraft launched by the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1973. The spacecraft were intended to explore Mars

Mars 3 sent the first pictures from Mars

The missions Zond-4 through Zond-8 were test flights under for the Soviet Moonshot. The unmanned circumlunar Zond-5 flight in September 1968 was part of the reason NASA flew Apollo 8 to the moon in December 1968 instead of the Earth orbital test which had been planned

Upon its arrival at Mars in 1971, Mariner 9 became the first space probe to go into orbit around another planet. First probe to spot ancient riverbeds on Mars

Pioneer 10 – first probe to reach Jupiter, in 1972

Pioneer plaques are a pair of gold-anodized aluminium plaques which were placed on board the 1972 Pioneer 10 and 1973 Pioneer 11 spacecraft, featuring a pictorial message, in case either Pioneer 10 or 11 are intercepted by extraterrestrial life. The plaques show the nude figures of a human male and female along with several symbols that are designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecraft. The Pioneer spacecraft were the first human-built objects to leave the solar system. The plaques were attached to the spacecraft's antenna support struts in a position that would shield them from erosion by stellar dust. Designed by Carl Sagan and Frank Drake. Map of 14 pulsars, picture of hydrogen atom. Picture of pioneer probe behind humans

Mariner 10 was the first probe to Mercury, flyby in 1974. First spacecraft to use a gravitational slingshot

Viking 1 was the first of two spacecraft sent to Mars as part of NASA's Viking program, and took the first pictures of the Martian surface in 1975

Voyager 1 is a probe launched 5 September 1977. It is currently[update] still operational, making it the longest-lasting mission of NASA. It visited Jupiter and Saturn and was the first probe to provide detailed images of the moons of these planets, including the first pictures of volcanic eruptions on Io. After visiting Titan it was sent into deep space

Voyager 1 has three radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) mounted on a boom, each containing plutonium-238 oxide spheres

Family Portrait, or sometimes Portrait of the Planets, is an image of the Solar System acquired by Voyager 1 in 1990 from a distance of approximately 6 billion kilometres. The picture is a mosaic of 60 individual frames. They were the last pictures taken by either Voyager spacecraft. It is the source of the famous ‘Pale Blue Dot’ image of the Earth. Astronomer Carl Sagan, who was part of the Voyager imaging team, campaigned for many years to have the pictures taken. Six planets are visible in the mosaic: Jupiter, Earth, Venus, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

Voyager I is now 152 AU from Earth

Voyager I discovered spokes in Saturn’s rings and three new moons around Saturn (Atlas, Pandora and Prometheus)

Probes launched in 1989 – Galileo (to Jupiter, then to Europa), Magellan (to Venus)

Voyager II – launched on 20 August 1977. First probe to reach Uranus in 1986 and Neptune in 1989. Discovered nitrogen geysers on Triton

Voyager Ii is now 126 AU from Earth

Voyager Golden Record, a much more complex and detailed message using (then) state-of-the-art media, was attached to both the Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. Chosen by Carl Sagan. Disc has a Chuck Berry song (Johnny B Goode). Johann Sebastian Bach is the most represented artist, appearing three times

Clementine – unmanned moon probe, found ice at poles, 1994

The Mars Pathfinder mission of 1997 included Sojourner, the first rover to successfully reach another planet

Galileo was an unmanned spacecraft sent by NASA to study the planet Jupiter and its moons. It was launched in 1989 by the Space Shuttle Atlantis, and arrived at Jupiter in 1995, via gravitational assist flybys of Venus and Earth

NASA lost the $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999 because one engineering team used metric units while another used English units for a key spacecraft operation

Cassini–Huygens is a mission currently studying Saturn and its many natural satellites. The spacecraft consists of two main elements: the NASA-designed and constructed Cassini orbiter, and the ESA-developed Huygens probe. The complete Cassini space probe was launched in 1997, and after a long interplanetary voyage, it entered into orbit around Saturn in 2004. Huygens separated from the Cassini orbiter and landed on Titan in 2005 near the Xanadu region. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer solar system. Named after the discoverer of Titan, Christian Huygens

Beagle II launched from Mars Express in 2003

Methane detected on Mars, by ESA’s Mars Express

Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover found evidence of water on Mars

Opportunity Rover found gypsum on Mars. Other Rover is Spirit

Curiosity Rover is a car-sized robotic rover exploring Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission. The location has been named Bradbury Landing.  Sky crane used to release rover onto surface of Mars

Euclid is a space mission currently under development by the European Space Agency. The objective of Euclid is to better understand the geometry of dark energy and dark matter by accurately measuring the acceleration of the universe. To achieve this, the spacecraft will measure the redshift of galaxies at varying distances from Earth and investigate the relationship between distance and redshift

ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) is a mission by the European Space Agency with collaboration by the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) to search for possible biosignatures of Martian life. The first part of the programme is a mission launched in 2016 that placed the Trace Gas Orbiter into Mars orbit

Dawn is NASA's mission to the two most massive members of the asteroid belt: the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn explore Vesta between 2012 and 2013, and Ceres in 2015. Dawn was the first spacecraft to orbit two planetary bodies other than Earth and the Moon, and the first to visit Ceres

BepiColombo is a joint Cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the planet Mercury. The mission is still in the planning stages

Ion thruster is a form of electric propulsion used for spacecraft propulsion that creates thrust by accelerating ions. The first spacecraft to carry an ion thruster was NASA’s Deep Space 1, launched in 1998, which used xenon as a propellant

LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) is an ESA-NASA mission involving three spacecraft flying approximately 5 million kilometers apart in an equilateral triangle formation. Together, they act as a Michelson interferometer to measure the distortion of space caused by passing gravitational waves

Hubble Space Telescope discovered two new moons (Mab and Cupid) and two faint rings around Uranus

Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) was an American lunar science mission in NASA's Discovery Program which used high-quality gravitational field mapping of the Moon to determine its interior structure. The two spacecraft GRAIL A (Ebb) and GRAIL B (Flow) were launched in September 2011

Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission is a proposed space probe under development by the European Space Agency, which would study the effects of crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid. The target is 65803 Didymos

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) is a space probe designed to study the Martian atmosphere while orbiting Mars

Rosetta is a robotic space probe built and launched by the European Space Agency. Along with Philae, its lander module, Rosetta is performing a detailed study of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P). In November 2014 the mission performed the first successful landing on a comet. Philae lander is named after the Philae obelisk, which bears a bilingual inscription and was used along with the Rosetta Stone to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs

Stardust – photographed and took particles from comet Wild-2, as well as samples of cosmic dust. Launched in 1999

Deep Impact is a NASA space probe launched designed to study the composition of the comet interior of 9P/Tempel, by releasing an impactor into the comet. On July 4, 2005, the impactor successfully collided with the comet's nucleus

Giotto – probe sent to study Halley’s Comet

Project Orion was a USA study of a spacecraft intended to be directly propelled by a series of explosions of atomic bombs behind the craft (nuclear pulse propulsion)

New Horizons was launched in 2006. In July 2015, it flew 12,500 km (7,800 mi) above the surface of Pluto, making it the first spacecraft to explore Pluto. About 30 g of Clyde Tombaugh's ashes are aboard the spacecraft, to commemorate his discovery of Pluto in 1930

Parker Space Probe (previously Solar Probe Plus) will probe the outer corona of the Sun. Launched in 2018. Renamed after solar astrophysicist Eugene Parker; the first time a NASA spacecraft was named after a living person

New Frontiers program is a series of space exploration missions being conducted by NASA with the purpose of researching several of the Solar System bodies, including Pluto

Project Mercury

The Mercury Seven was the group of seven Mercury astronauts picked by NASA in 1959. They are also referred to as the Original Seven and Astronaut Group 1

Astronaut Spacecraft Date of flight
Alan Shepard Mercury-Redstone 3 (Freedom 7) 1961
Gus Grissom Mercury-Redstone 4 (Liberty Bell 7) 1961
John Glenn Mercury-Atlas 6 (Friendship 7) 1962
Scott Carpenter Mercury-Atlas 7 (Aurora 7) 1962
Wally Schirra Mercury-Atlas 8 (Sigma 7) 1962
Gordon Cooper Mercury-Atlas 9 (Faith 7) 1963
Deke Slayton Did not fly

Mercury-Redstone 3 was a U.S. Mercury program human crewed space mission launched on 5 May 1961 using a Redstone rocket, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Mercury spacecraft was named Freedom 7 which performed a suborbital flight piloted by astronaut Alan Shepard, who became the first American in space as a result of this mission. The flight lasted less than 16 minutes

Deke Slayton was selected to pilot the second U.S. manned orbital spaceflight, but was grounded in 1962 by atrial fibrillation

On 21 July 1961, Gus Grissom was pilot of Mercury-Redstone 4, popularly known as Liberty Bell 7, the second American (suborbital) spaceflight

As part of Project Mercury, Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) was the successful first attempt by NASA to place an astronaut into orbit. The MA-6 mission was launched 20 February 1962. It made three earth orbits, piloted by astronaut John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth

Project Gemini

Project Gemini operated between Projects Mercury and Apollo, with 10 manned flights occurring in 1965 and 1966. Its objective was to develop techniques for advanced space travel, notably those necessary for Project Apollo. Gemini missions included the first American spacewalks, and new orbital manoeuvres including rendezvous and docking. The first two Gemini flights were unmanned

Gemini 3 was the first manned Gemini flight, launched on 23 March 1965. Command Pilot – Gus Grissom. Pilot – John Young

Gemini 4 was piloted by James McDivitt and Ed White. First US space walk by Ed White

Gemini 6A achieved the first crewed rendezvous with another spacecraft, Gemini 7

Gemini 8 was the first spaceflight for command pilot Neil Armstrong, and achieved the first space docking with an uncrewed Agena target vehicle

Gemini 12 was the final Gemini flight. Piloted by Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin

Apollo program

The Command/Service Module (CSM) was a spacecraft built for NASA by North American Aviation. The Apollo Lunar Module was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to achieve the transit from lunar orbit to the surface and back. Powered by Saturn V rockets

Apollo 1 Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee died in a fire in the Command Module during a test in January 1967

Apollo 4 first test flight of Saturn 5

Apollo 7 first manned mission in the Apollo program to be launched. Commanded by Wally Schirra, in October 1968

Apollo 8 was the first manned space voyage to achieve a velocity sufficient to allow escape from the gravitational field of planet Earth. The three-man crew of Mission Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to see the far side of the Moon with their own eyes the crew made a Christmas Eve television broadcast in which they read the first 10 verses from the Book of Genesis. Earthrise is probably the world’s most reproduced photograph. It was taken by the crew of Apollo 8 in December 1968

Apollo 9 was the first manned flight of the Command/Service Module (CSM) along with the Lunar Module (LM). Commanded by James McDivitt

Apollo 10 mission included the second crew to orbit the Moon and an all-up test of the lunar module. Commanded by Thomas Stafford

There were seven missions to land men on the moon

Spacecraft Commander LM pilot CM pilot Date of flight Landing site
Apollo 11 Neil Armstrong Buzz Aldrin Michael Collins 1969 Tranquility Bay
Apollo 12 Charles Conrad Alan Bean Richard Gordon 1969 Ocean of Storms
Apollo 13 Jim Lovell Fred Haise Jack Swigert 1970
Apollo 14 Alan Shepard Ed Mitchell Stuart Roosa 1971 Fra Mauro
Apollo 15 Dave Scott James Irwin Alfred Worden 1971 Hadley Rille
Apollo 16 John Young Charlie Duke Ken Mattingly 1972 Descartes Highlands
Apollo 17 Eugene Cernan Harrison Schmitt Ronald Evans 1972 Taurus-Littrow

Charlie Duke was the youngest man to walk on the moon

Alan Shepard was the oldest man to walk on the moon

Dave Scott was the first man to drive on the moon

A Saturn V launched Apollo 11 from the Kennedy Space Center on 16 July 1969

On 20 July Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon in the Lunar Module Eagle, while Michael Collins orbited above in the Command Module Colombia

Pete Conrad was the third man to walk on the moon. Apollo 12 was hit by lightning shortly after take-off

Jack Swigert was a late replacement for the original Apollo 13 CM pilot Ken Mattingly. The lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded

Jim Lovell is the only person to have flown to the Moon twice without making a landing. Lovell was also the first person to fly in space four times

Apollo 14 Commander Alan Shepard used a Wilson six-iron to hit golf balls on the Moon

The Genesis Rock is a sample of original lunar crust from around the time the Moon was formed. It was retrieved from the Moon by Apollo 15

Fallen Astronaut is an 8.5 cm aluminum sculpture of an astronaut in a spacesuit which commemorates astronauts who died in the advancement of space exploration. It is currently at Hadley Rille on the Moon, having been placed there by the crew of Apollo 15 in 1971, along with a plaque bearing the names of eight American astronauts and six Soviet cosmonauts who had died

The crew of Apollo 15 took 398 unauthorized commemorative postage stamp covers with them on their trip to the Moon

Ken Mattingly, who had been scheduled to fly on Apollo 13, but was held back due to concerns about a potential illness, flew as Command Module pilot for Apollo 16

The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of the Earth taken on 7 December 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17, probably by Jack Schmitt

Eugene Cernan was the last man to walk on the moon

President Nixon ordered the distribution of fragments of a rock brought back by Apollo 17 to 135 foreign heads of state and the 50 U.S. states Known as ‘goodwill moon rocks’

Apollo missions collected 800lbs of rock

Eugene Shoemaker is the only person to have his ashes scattered on the moon

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) was the last mission in the Apollo program and was the first joint flight of the U.S. and Soviet space programs. The mission took place in July 1975. The mission entailed the docking of an American Apollo spacecraft with then-Soviet Soyuz spacecraft

Vostok programme

Vostok 1 (Russian: Orient 1 or East 1) was the first human spaceflight. The Vostok 3KA spacecraft was launched on 12 April 1961, taking into space Yuri Gagarin. Launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Gagarin orbited the Earth once in 108 minutes

Vostok 2 carried cosmonaut Gherman Titov into orbit for a full day on 6 August 1961 in order to study the effects of a more prolonged period of weightlessness on the human body. Titov orbited the earth over 17 times

Vostok 6 was the first human spaceflight mission to carry a woman, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, into space, on 16 June 1963

Voskhod programme

Voskhod was the second Soviet human spaceflight project. Two manned missions were flown using the Voskhod spacecraft and rocket, one in 1964 and one in 1965

Two crewmembers were launched in the Vostok-based Voskhod 3KD spacecraft. On 18 March 1965, Alexei Leonov became the first man to walk in space. Cosmonaut Leonov's spacewalk lasted 12 minutes and 9 seconds


Soyuz is a series of spacecraft designed for the Soviet space programme. The Soyuz succeeded the Voskhod spacecraft and was originally built as part of the Soviet Manned Lunar programme. The Soyuz spacecraft is launched on a Soyuz rocket

Soyuz rocket was introduced in 1966, deriving from the Vostok launcher, which in turn was based on the 8K74 or R-7a intercontinental ballistic missile

Space stations


Skylab was the United States' first space station, and the second space station visited by a human crew. It was also the only space station NASA launched alone. The 100-ton space station was in Earth's orbit from 1973 to 1979. Skylab crashed to Earth and debris landed southeast of Perth in Western Australia

Skylab 2 was the first manned mission to Skylab. Commander – Charles Conrad. Carried out many solar observations

Salyut programme

Salyut was the first space station programme undertaken by the Soviet Union, which consisted of a series of four crewed scientific research space stations and two crewed military reconnaissance space stations over a period of 15 years from 1971 to 1986

Soyuz 11 was the first and only manned mission to board the world's first space station, Salyut 1


Mir was the world's first consistently inhabited long-term research station in space, and the first of the third generation type of space station, constructed from 1986 to 1996 with a modular design. The station was in operation for fifteen years until 2001, when it was deliberately de-orbited, breaking apart during re-entry over the South Pacific Ocean

International Space Station

On-orbit construction of the International Space Station began in 1998

Scientists must exercise for 2 ½ hours a day in space to prevent muscle wastage

Columbus is a science laboratory that is part of the International Space Station and is the largest single contribution to the ISS made by the European Space Agency

The ISS is steered by gyroscopes and orbits earth every 92 minutes

The ISS is maintained in a nearly circular orbit with a minimum mean altitude of 330 km (205 mi) and a maximum of 410 km (255 mi), in the centre of the Thermosphere, at an inclination of 51.6 degrees to Earth's equator

William Shepherd served as commander of Expedition 1, the first crew on the International Space Station

Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin hit a golf ball from the porch of the International Space Station in 2006 as a stunt for the Canadian golf company Element 21

Astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper dropped a tool bag while working on the International Space Station during a spacewalk in 2008

Reusable spacecraft

Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle travels at 17,500 mph and orbits the earth in 90 minutes

Space Shuttle is officially called Space Transportation System (STS)

Microgravity (micro-g) is experienced on the Space Shuttle and on the ISS

1977 – test flight of Enterprise orbiter

1981 – first flight of Colombia. Young and Crippen

1983 – first spacewalk, from Challenger

1983 – first American woman in space, Sally Ride

1984 – first untethered spacewalk, Bruce McCandless

1986 – Challenger disaster. Commanded by Dick Scobee, Teacher – Christa McAuliffe. STS-51-L. Challenger replaced by Endeavour

1988 – return to flight, Discovery

1989 – Magellan is the first planetary mission to be launched by an orbiter

1990 – Hubble telescope launched

1993 – Hubble repaired by Endeavour. New camera fitted with a replacement ‘contact lens’ called COSTAR (Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement)

1995 – Shuttle-Mir docking

1998 – John Glenn flies on Discovery, aged 77

1998 – construction of ISS begins

2003 – Colombia disaster. Commanded by Rick Husband. STS-113

2005 – Eileen Collins and her crew take Discovery back into space. STS-114

2007 – Barbara Morgan, who was the back-up to Christa McAuliffe in 1986, flies

2008 – Atlantis takes the Columbus space lab to the ISS

2011 – Discovery’s last flight. Flew more missions, 39, than any of the other orbiters

2011 – Endeavour’s last flight

2011 – Atlantis STS-135, commanded by Chris Ferguson, lands at Cape Canaveral ending the Space Shuttle programme

Buran programme

The first and only orbital launch of the (unmanned) shuttle Buran 1.01 was on 15 November 1988. It was lifted into orbit by the specially designed Energia booster rocket. The shuttle orbited the Earth twice in 206 minutes of flight. On its return, it performed an automated landing on the shuttle runway at Baikonur Cosmodrome


First US woman in space – Sally Ride

First non-USSR/non-U.S. person in space – Vladimir Remek, son of the Czechoslovakian defense minister. He flew in 1978 for eight days in Salyut 6

First person of African heritage in space – Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, a Cuban of African descent, who flew in Salyut 6 in 1980

First African American astronaut – Guion Bluford, who flew for six days in 1983 in the U.S. shuttle Challenger.

First Westerner in Soviet space – French cosmonaut Jean-Loup Chretien was the first from a Western industrial democracy at a USSR space station. He flew in 1982 for eight days at the Salyut 7 station

First woman in space – Valentina Tereshkova, who was a textile mill worker

First American to walk in space – Ed White

First woman to walk in space – Svetlana Savitskaya

First American woman to walk in space – Kathy Sullivan

First East German cosmonaut – Sigmund Jahn, 1978

First Canadian in space – Marc Garnaeu, 1984

First Chinese taikonaut – Yang LiWei. His mission, Shenzhou 5, made China the third country to independently send people into space

First to die landing – Vladimir Komarov died in 1967, as his Soyuz 1 capsule crashed on the central-Asian plain

First Indian in space – Rakesh Sharma, 1984

First mother in space – Anna Fisher in 1984

First married couple to fly in space together – N. Jan Davis and Mark C. Lee, 1992

First Briton in space – Helen Sharman. Also the first woman to visit the Mir space station

First Briton to walk in space – Michael Foale

First British astronaut to visit ISS – Tim Peake

Sultan bin Salman flew aboard a Space Shuttle mission as a payload specialist in 1985, and is a member of the House of Saud. He is thus the first astronaut of royal blood, and the first Arab and Muslim to fly in outer space


The first living creatures that the United States ever sent into space were two mice, named Benjy and Laska, in 1958

Able and Baker were the first monkeys to successfully return to Earth after traveling in space, in 1959. Abel was a rhesus monkey. Baker was a squirrel monkey

The Nedelin catastrophe or Nedelin disaster was a launch pad accident that occurred on 24 October 1960, at Baikonur Cosmodrome during the development of the Soviet R-16 ICBM

On January 31, 1961, Ham the Chimp was secured in a Project Mercury capsule labeled MR-2 and launched from Cape Canaveral. First hominid launched into outer spaceSpace tourists – Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Gregory Olsen, Anousheh Ansari, Charles Simonyi (twice), Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor (Malaysian), Richard Garriott, Guy Laliberte

Piers Sellers is a British-born Anglo-American meteorologist and a NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of three space shuttle missions

SpaceShipOne is a rocket-powered aircraft that completed the first privately funded human spaceflight in 2004. It was developed by Scaled Composites. Designed by Burt Rutan. Flown by Mike Melvill

Virgin Galactic – formed by Richard Branson and Dick Rutan. Plane is a modified version of Spaceship 1, which won the X prize

VSS Enterprise – Richard Branson’s first spaceship

Astronauts breathe oxygen for an hour before take-off to remove nitrogen from the blood

Whipple shield – type of hypervelocity impact shield used to protect manned and unmanned spacecraft from collisions with micrometeoroids and orbital debris