Space – the final frontier. From looking up at the stars to sending satellites to visit them, mankind has come a long way! Let’s look at the journey, celebrating firsts in space along the way.
Sputnik 1 – The First Satellite Into Space
Beep…beep…beep….Sputnik, launched by the USSR on October 4th, 1957, was the first artificial satellite in space. Sputnik transmitted its radio signal for three weeks until its batteries died. It then orbited the Earth after its batteries died for two more weeks, before burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere. Although Sputnik was little more than a small radio transmitter, it started the Space Race between the US and USSR, and ultimately ushered in an age of exploration and discovery.
Sputnik 2 – The First Living Being (Larger Than A Fruit Fly) In Space
The USSR sent what was thought to be the first living being into space not even a month later. On November 3rd, 1957, the Soviets launched Laika the dog into space. She lived a few hours, before her oxygen ran out. The data the Soviets gathered from the flight, however, helped them plan for another first – the first men into space.
However, the actual honor for “first living beings into space” belongs to a group of fruit flies that were on an American V-2 rocket that was launched to an altitude of 108km in 1947. They returned to Earth unharmed, too.
The First Man In Space – Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin became the first man to leave the Earth, and the first man to orbit it. His flight lasted 108 minutes – and he traveled around the world.
The First Woman In Space
Valentina Tereshkova went to space in 1963. She was the first woman and first civilian to leave the Earth.
The First Man To Walk On The Moon
Neal Armstrong’s one small step for man truly was a giant leap for all mankind – and he came up with those words on his own, while in the lunar landing module. In 1969, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two men to step foot on the lunar surface.
The First Man To Golf On The Moon
Alan Shephard turned the moon into the universe’s best, and most exclusive, driving range. He brought a 6 iron to the moon, and probably set a record for farthest drive with a 6 iron in human history.
The First Man To Freefall From Space To Earth
Felix Baumgartner jumped from 127,852 feet above the Earth, and landed on his feet. It’s hard to think of a bigger adrenaline rush than this! Felix broke the sound barrier on his descent (!!!) and was the first human to break the barrier outside a vehicle.
First Car Into Space
Elon Musk sent a Tesla Roadster into space on February 2, 2018. Spaceman was the inspiration for millions of memes, references to Ziggi Stardust, and perhaps reawakened people’s dreams for further space exploration and travel again.