A BRIEF HIS­TORY OF NASA

Sky at Night Magazine - - 60 YEARS OF NASA -

1 Oc­to­ber 1958

The Na­tional Aero­nau­ti­cal and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion be­gins op­er­a­tions with a $100 mil­lion an­nual bud­get

11 Oc­to­ber 1958

Pi­o­neer 1, NASA’s first space­craft, launches to­wards the Moon from Cape Canaveral

5 May 1961

Alan Shep­ard be­comes the first Amer­i­can in space in the Mer­cury cap­sule Free­dom 7

24 De­cem­ber 1968

Lu­nar mod­ule pi­lot Bill An­ders takes the iconic ‘Earthrise’ photo as Apollo 8 or­bits the Moon

20 July 1969

Apollo 11 lands on the Moon. A day later Neil Arm­strong is the first man to set foot on the Moon

14 Novem­ber 1971

Mariner 9 en­ters Mar­tian or­bit, be­com­ing the first space­craft ever to or­bit an­other planet

17 July 1975

US Apollo and Soviet Soyuz crews dock in space, sig­nalling the end of the Space Race

12 April 1981

The launch of Columbia marks the in­au­gu­ral mis­sion of NASA’s Space Shut­tle pro­gramme

6 De­cem­ber 1993

Jef­frey Hoff­man and Story Musgrave in­stall cor­rec­tive op­tics in the Hubble Space Tele­scope

2 Novem­ber 2000

Ex­pe­di­tion 1 ar­rives at the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion, the start of con­tin­u­ous ISS oc­cu­pa­tion

4 & 25 Jan­uary 2003

Spirit and Op­por­tu­nity land on Mars for a 90-day mis­sion. Op­por­tu­nity is still op­er­a­tional 15 years later

1 July 2004

Cassini en­ters Saturn’s or­bit, mark­ing the be­gin­ning of 13 years of ob­ser­va­tions

7 March 2009

The launch of the Ke­pler space­craft, a mis­sion to search for Earth-sized ex­o­plan­ets

21 July 2011

With At­lantis land­ing at Kennedy Space Cen­tre, the Space Shut­tle pro­gramme closes

25 Au­gust 2012

Voyager 1 leaves the Sun’s mag­netic sphere (Voyager 2 is cur­rently ex­pected to join it in 2019)

5 De­cem­ber 2014

First test flight of Orion, NASA’s space­craft that will take hu­mans be­yond low Earth or­bit

14 July 2015

New Hori­zons makes its clos­est ap­proach to Pluto. It is cur­rently head­ing to­wards the Kuiper belt

4 July 2016

The Juno space­craft ar­rives in or­bit around Jupiter and starts send­ing back amaz­ing images

22 Fe­bru­ary 2017

NASA re­veals the Spitzer Space Tele­scope has found seven, Earth-sized plan­ets around star TRAPPIST-1

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