Space Exploration

  1. 1865 - Future

A short blurb should go here to explain what the dates below are about.

  1. 1865

    Imagine space flight

    The first space adventure was Jules Verne’s classic novel From Earth to the Moon. It would inspire future rocket scientists to turn the dream into reality.

  2. 1869

    Imagine a satellite

    The science fiction story The Brick Moon imagined the first artificial or man-made satellite.  It would orbit the Earth and be used for navigation.

  3. 1895

    Ride into space

    Impressed by the newly built Eiffel Tower, the Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky dreamt of a space tower where an elevator would take you up to a castle above.

  4. 1926

    Rocket launch

    American rocket scientist, Robert Goddard, launched the first modern rocket from his Aunt Effie’s farm. The US rocket program would grow from this short, two second flight.

  5. 1942

    First time in space

    Germany’s V-2 rocket was the first to reach a height of 100km and enter into space. Its designer, Wernher von Braun, would create the rockets that sent astronauts to the Moon.

  6. 1957

    The first satellite

    Sputnik was the first artificial satellite. It had enough battery power to transmit radio signals for three weeks and crashed back to Earth after three months in orbit.

  7. 1961

    First person in space

    Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Garagrin, was the first person in outer space. Travelling on Vostok 1, he spent 1 hour and 48 minutes in space and made one orbit around the Earth.

  8. 1965

    First close-up view of another planet

    NASA’s Mariner 4 took the first close-up image of Mars. Unable to wait for the computer to process the image, the scientists coloured it in by hand, as a colour-by-numbers!

  9. 1966

    First image of the Earth as a globe

    While researching landing sites for the Apollo program, NASA’s Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first full view of the Earth. This high-resolution version was created in 2008 from the original data.

  10. 1967

    Probe visits Venus

    The USSR’s Venera 4 was the first probe to measure conditions on another planet. Venus was hostile - incredibly hot and the craft was crushed by the thick atmosphere.

  11. 1969

    Moon walks

    There were six manned missions to the Moon, the first in 1969 and the last in 1972. Gene Cernan was the last person to walk (and sing) on the moon.

  12. 1970

    Australian radio satellite

    Australis-Oscar 5 was an amateur radio satellite built by innovative students from Melbourne University. It demonstrated the use of satellites for communication and is still in orbit today.

  13. 1971

    Salyut 1 – first space station

    For 23 days, Soviet cosmonauts lived and worked aboard the first space station, Salyut 1.

  14. 1979

    Skylab descends

    America’s first space station, Skylab, caused a sensation when pieces of it rained down on Western Australia. Launched in 1973, the station operated for nine months and was visited by three astronaut crews.

  15. 1981

    Space Shuttle program

    Columbia was the first of five Space Shuttles, special vehicles that could make numerous trips into space and back. For 30 years they were the workhorse of NASA’s space program including conducting space science.

  16. 1984

    First free floating astronauts

    Astronauts floated freely for the first time, with nothing attaching them to their spacecraft. NASA’s Bruce McCandless was the first to test the Manned Manoeuvring Unit.

  17. 1986

    MIR space station

    The MIR space station was occupied for over 12 years and provided the perfect opportunity for Russia and America to work together in the exploration space.

  18. 1990

    Hubble Space Telescope

    The world’s most well-loved observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, was set into space by the space shuttle Discovery.

  19. 1997

    First Mars rover

    The Mars Sojourner was the first of many rovers to travel across Mars. About the size of a microwave oven, it travelled 100m during its 3 months of operation.

  20. 1998

    International Space Station begins

    The Russian module Zarya was the first of over 30 components that make up the International Space Station. Continuous astronaut crews have lived on the station since November 2000.

  21. 1998

    Ion thrust rocket a success

    Deep Space 1 trialled a new way of travelling through the solar system. Its ion engine, which sends out streams of charged particles, propelled the spacecraft as it visited an asteroid and comet.

  22. 2001

    First Space Tourist

    Dennis Tito, an American multimillionaire, (left) was the first space tourist. He travelled to the International Space Station onboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and experienced eight days in space.

  23. 2004

    Commercial space flight

    SpaceShipOne made two trips into space within two weeks, earning it the Ansari X Prize. It is the first non-government spacecraft and paths the way for future commercial spaceflights.

  24. 2009

    Satellites abound

    There are thousands of satellites now orbiting the Earth. A collision between an inactive Russian satellite and an American communications satellite added a new cloud of debris to all the space junk up there.

  25. 2010

    First solar sail in action

    Japan’s IKAROS spacecraft rode to Venus on a sunbeam, testing out a new space technology. The spacecraft was slowly pushed along by sunlight hitting its large solar sail.

  26. 2012

    Voyager goes far out

    After 35 years of travelling, Voyager 1 arrived at interstellar space. Its weak signals take almost a day to make their way back to Earth.

  27. 2017

    Mining in space

    Mining asteroids or planets could be a way to get valuable minerals in future, especially those that are rare or highly sought-after on Earth.

  28. 2019

    Distant worlds

    We are not alone. Thousands of exoplanets, which are planets beyond our solar system, have been discovered. It’s probable that most of the stars in the Milky Way Galaxy have at least one planet in orbit.

  29. 2020

    Will we make it to Mars?

    One day, astronauts will set foot on Mars. But first we have to figure out how to keep the crew physically safe, especially from damaging space radiation, and also mentally healthy through years of extreme isolation.