Here are some famous firsts in space exploration

Today, 12th April, is International Day of Human Space Flight. This is when astronaut Yuri Gagarin from the Soviet Union became the first human ever to take a space flight.

On this day, we bring to you some notable firsts from the space history of humans.

The world’s first artificial satellite:

The world’s first artificial satellite was Sputnik 1, launched by Soviet Union on 4th October 1957. It was the size of a beach ball – about 58 cms in diameter – and weighed a mere 184 pounds. It took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path.

The first animal to orbit the Earth:

Laika, a dog, was the first animal to orbit the Earth when she went aboard the Sputnik II on 13th November 1957. Unfortunately, she did not survive the mission; however, her flight gave scientists valuable information that served as a precursor for the first human flight into space.

Laika, a mixed-breed dog, was the first living being in orbit. She was launched on the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 2 mission in November 1957.
Image Credit: © NASA

The first person in space:

Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union became the first person in space when he took the journey around the Earth on 12th April 1961 aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1. It took him around 89 minutes to orbit around the Earth.

The first person on the moon:

On 20th July 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong of the United States of America became the first person on the moon. He reached the moon along with Edwin Aldrin on an Apollo 11 spacecraft.

Aldrin followed Armstrong and became the second man to walk on the surface of the moon.

The first woman in space:

Valentina Tereshkova of the Soviet Union became the first woman to fly into space when she piloted the Vostok 6 on 16th June, 1963.

The first space walk:

On 18th March 1965, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov became the first person ever to exit his spacecraft – the Voskhod 2 – and walk in space. He was tethered to his spacecraft by a 5.4-metre tether while walking in space for a duration of 12 minutes and nine seconds.

Archived image from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) report certifying that the first spacewalk was conducted by cosmonaut Alexei Leonov on March 18, 1965. Image credit: Roscosmos/FAI

The first person to walk untethered in space:

On 7th February 1984, American astronaut Bruce McCandless became the first person ever to walk untethered in space. He stepped out of the space shuttle Challenger and hung 320 feet from it, thanks to a jetpack-like device called the Manned Maneuvering Unit.

The first woman to space walk:

On 25th July 1984, Svetlana Savitskaya of the Soviet Union became the first woman to walk in space. She was also the second woman in space, and the first woman to fly in space a second time!

The first all-female space walk:

On 19th October 2019, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made space history by performing the first-ever all female space walk.

Isn’t it just amazing reading about all these stellar firsts? Are there any other space firsts that we have missed? Do let us know in the comments section below.

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