Today is the International Day of Human Space Flight. Initiated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2011, it marks the anniversary of man’s first journey into space.
On April 12th 1961, the Russian pilot, Yuri Gagarin, was launched in the Vostock 1 rocket. He became the first human to venture beyond our atmosphere and completed an orbit of the Earth before returning safe and sound.
To celebrate the International Day of Human Space Flight, I’ve put together a list of mankind’s first achievements in the field of space exploration – enjoy!
- On May 5th 1961, Alan Shepard became the first person to return to Earth in their space capsule. Before then astronauts had parachuted from their craft
- On August 7th 1961, Gherman Titov became the first person to spend 14 hours in space
- The first woman in space was Valentina Tereshkova. She went up on June 16th 1963
- The first person to leave their craft and do a spacewalk was Alexei Leonov on March 18th 1965
- On August 29th 1965, Pete Conrad and Gordon Cooper became the first humans to spend a week in space
- Walter Schirra became the first pilot to successfully rendezvous one spacecraft with another. He guided Gemini 6 to within 30cm of its sister ship, Gemini 7
- The first docking of two spacecraft was performed by Neil Armstrong on March 6th 1966. He joined his Gemini 8 to the unmanned Agena
- Between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1968, Jim Lovell, Frank Borman and Bill Anders became the first people to orbit the Moon
- The first man to walk on the Moon was Neil Armstrong. He landed on July 20th 1969
- Paul Weitz, Joseph Kerwin and Pete Conrad were the first to spend four weeks in space. They were up there from May 25th to June 22nd 1973
- Vladimír Remek was the first non-Russian and non-American in space. He was a Czechoslovakian who went up on March 2nd 1978
- On June 18th 1983, Sally Ride became the first non-Russian woman to go into space
- On December 21st 1988, Musa Manarov and Vladimir Titov became the first to spend a year in space
- Japanese journalist, Toyohiro Akiyama, became the first commercial passenger on a spacecraft on December 2nd 1990
Mankind has not been going into space for very long at all, in the grand scheme of things. There are plans afoot to take tourists to the Moon within the next few years, and a manned mission to Mars is in the offing too. Would you like to make the journey? Let Education Quizzes know what you think in the box below. And keep an eye out – we’ve got a fun family quiz all about outer space coming very soon. A must for any wannabe astronauts!