Image of an astronaut and the Lunar Rover.
Click on image for full size
Aris Multimedia Entertainment, Inc 1994.
It was not long after the first space satellites were launched that we
succeeded in getting a human being into space. These first astronauts
and cosmonauts (the Russian word for astronaut) were test pilots who were
very familiar with flying in fast and dangerous planes! The first human
being to travel into space was Yuri Gagarin (USSR, 1961), followed a month
later by the US astronaut Alan Shepard.
Once we found out that humans could travel in space, a "space race"
quickly developed between the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States
main interest was to land on the moon. The Soviet Union was more interested in
setting endurance records and doing scientific research.
Russia, the United States, and 14 other countries are now working together on the International Space Station project.
For a brief history of the United States and Soviet Union human spaceflight programs, click
Discover more about human spaceflight through the links below!
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, and Earth system science
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