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A Brief History



In 1942 the German V2 was the first rocket to reach 100km from the Earths surface
(the boundary of space).
The rocket was designed by Wernher Von Braun, who later worked with NASA as the
creator of the rockets that went to the moon.


In 1947, the first animals were launched into space. Fruit flies were used to study the
effects of space travel on animals, and were chosen because they are more similar to
humans than you might imagine!
The flies travelled with a supply of corn to eat on the flight.


Albert II, was the first monkey in space. He was a Rhesus monkey, a type of monkey
that originally comes from Asia.
Albert went into space on June 14, 1949 in a specially adapted American V2 rocket,
that flew to a height of 83 miles from earth.


On October 4, 1957, Russia launched the first satellite into space; Sputnik 1, and the
space age had properly begun!
Sputnik was the first satellite in orbit around the earth. Today there are over 500
working satellites in space. Sputnik means "Satellite" in Russian.


In November 1957, the Russian space dog Laika became the first animal to orbit the earth.
Laika travelled in a spacecraft known as Sputnik 2. Laika means "Barker" in Russian, and her
mission helped scientists understand whether people could survive in space.


On April 12, 1961, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space.
Gagarin's spacecraft, Vostok 1, completed one orbit of the earth,
and landed about two hours after launch.
Gagarin had to bail out and land using his parachute, because the Vostok 1 was
designed to crash land!


On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong, and then Buzz Aldrin, took "one small step" and
became the first men on the moon. The first words said on the moon were "the Eagle
has landed." Their spaceship, Apollo 11 worked perfectly, flying them 250,000 miles to
the moon, and bringing them all the way back safely to earth.


From 1971, American astronauts on the fourth, fifth and sixth Apollo
enjoyed use of a moon car to explore the moon. Known as the Lunar
it was electric powered, and had a top speed of 8mph.
It was designed and developed in only 17 months, by Boeing,


Until April 12, 1981 all spacecraft were designed to be used only
The Space Shuttle, was designed to be reused for up to 100 visits to
in an attempt to make space travel less expensive.
With five hugely powerful rocket motors, it can fly at more than


On January 28, 1986, tragedy struck. The Challenger exploded shortly after launch,
because of a fuel system failure. All seven astronauts on board were killed,
and all space shuttles were grounded for nearly three years.
This shocking accident reminded the world of the dangers of space travel,
and the incredible bravery of all astronauts.


In 2000, the first permanent crew moved into the International Space Station,
where crews of astronauts have been living ever since.
The ISS is a huge space station for research and space exploration that began
construction in 1986 and was finished in 2010.


On October:15, 2003, China sent its first man, Yang Liwei, into space.
They succeed in becoming the third country ever to send a human into space.

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