Space History

Humans in space: past, present, future

Humans have been visiting space since Yuri Gargarin became the first man in space on April 12, 1961.


John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, and Ed White became the first American to conduct a space walk.

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The 1st segment of the International Space Station launched in November 1998 on a Russian rocket called Zarya.

In December 1998, the US shuttle Endeavor launched a crewed mission dedicated to assembling the ISS.

For the next two years, shuttles Endeavor, Atlantis, and Discovery carried humans to and from the ISS.

Then, in 2003, disaster struck.



NASA’s space shuttle fleet was grounded for the next two years, and major construction on the ISS was also halted until 2006.

Between 2003-2006, crews launched to the ISS on Russian Soyuz rockets.

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The shuttle program resumed on Independence Day 2006, when space shuttle Discovery launched a crew to the ISS.


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For the following 5 years, shuttles carried crew to and from the ISS until August 31, 2011, when the Atlantis shuttle carried its final crew members to the ISS.

Since 2011, the US has relied on Russia to carry crew to the ISS and home again.

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The SpaceX launch was "an important step on our path to expand human exploration to the Moon and Mars," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, in a statement.