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Apollo 11
The First Manned Mission to Land on the Moon
A Saturn V launched Apollo 11 from the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969 at 13:32 UTC. At 02:56 UTC on July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong made his descent to the Moon's surface and spoke his famous line "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind" six and a half hours after landing.
The First to Orbit Saturn
A joint NASA/ESA/ASI robotic spacecraft mission currently studying the planet Saturn and its moons. It was launched on October 15, 1997 and entered into orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004. On December 25, 2004 the Huygens probe separated from the orbiter & reached Saturn's moon Titan on January 14, 2005 where it made an atmospheric descent to the surface and relayed scientific information. Cassini is the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn and the fourth to visit it.
The First Spaceworthy Space Shuttle
Enterprise was the first shuttle but was used for testing purpose only. Its first mission, STS-1, lasted from April 12 to April 14, 1981. On February 1, 2003, Columbia disintegrated during re-entry over Texas, on its 28th mission, killing all seven crew members.
The First to Orbit Jupiter
An unmanned NASA spacecraft sent to study the planet Jupiter & its moons. Launched Oct. 18, 1989 by the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Arrived at Jupiter on Dec. 7, 1995, via gravitational assist flybys of Venus & Earth. Conducted the first asteroid flyby, discovered the first asteroid moon, & launched the first probe into Jupiter's atmosphere. On Sept. 21, 2003, after 14 years in space, Galileo's mission was terminated by sending it into Jupiter's atmosphere at a speed of nearly 50 kps to avoid contaminating local moons with bacteria from Earth.
Luna 1
The First to Complete a Lunar Flyby
Also known as Mechta (Russian: Мечта, lit.: Dream) was the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and the first of the Luna programme of Soviet automatic interplanetary stations successfully launched in the direction of the Moon. The name "Luna-1" was applied retroactively years later. Luna-1 was originally referred to as the "First Cosmic Rocket", in reference to its achievement of escape velocity.
Luna 2
The First to Reach the Surface of the Moon
The 2nd of the Soviet Union's Luna program spacecraft launched in the direction of the Moon. It impacted the lunar surface west of Mare Serenitatis near the craters Aristides, Archimedes, and Autolycus on Sept. 14, 1959. There were no propulsion systems on Luna 2 itself.
Luna 3
The First to Take Images of Lunar Far Side
Though it returned rather poor pictures by later standards, the never-before-seen views of the Moon's far side caused excitement & interest when they were published. These views showed mountainous terrain, very different from the near side, and only two dark, low-lying regions which were named Mare Moscovrae (Sea of Moscow) and Mare Desiderii (Sea of Desire). Mare Desiderii was later found to be composed of a smaller mare, Mare Ingenii (Sea of Ingenuity), and other dark craters.
Lunar Module "Eagle"
The First Manned Lunar Lander
A Saturn V launched Apollo 11, carrying the Eagle lunar module, from the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969 at 13:32 UTC. On landing Neil Armstrong reported “Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.” At 02:56 UTC on July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong made his descent to the Moon's surface six and a half hours after landing.
Mariner 4
The First to Complete a Mars Flyby
And the first close and high resulution images of Mars. Mariner 4 was designed to conduct closeup scientific observations of Mars and to transmit these observations to Earth. Other mission objectives were to perform field and particle measurements in interplanetary space in the vicinity of Mars and to provide experience in and knowledge of the engineering capabilities for interplanetary flights of long duration.
Mariner 9
The First Mars Orbiter
A NASA space probe orbiter that helped in the exploration of Mars. Mariner 9 was launched toward Mars on May 30, 1971 and reached the planet on Nov. 13, 1971, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet narrowly beating Soviet Mars 2 & Mars 3, which both arrived within a month. After months of dust-storms it managed to send back surprisingly clear pictures of the surface.
Mariner 10
The First to Complete a Mercury Flyby
A robotic space probe launched on November 3, 1973 to fly by the planets Mercury and Venus. The mission objectives were to measure Mercury's environment, atmosphere, surface, and body characteristics and to make similar investigations of Venus. Mariner 10 was the first spacecraft to make use of an interplanetary "gravitational slingshot" maneuver, using Venus to bend its flight path and bring its perihelion down to the level of Mercury's orbit.
The First Consistently Inhabited Space Research Station
Mir holds the record for longest continuous human presence in space at eight days short of 10 years, and, through a number of collaborations, was made internationally accessible to cosmonauts and astronauts of many countries. The most notable of these, the Shuttle-Mir Program, saw American Space Shuttles visiting the station 11 times. Mir was assembled in orbit by successively connecting several modules, each launched separately from 1986 to 1996. Mir is a Russian word, meaning peace and world.
Pioneer 1
The First Spacecraft Launched by NASA
It was intended to study the ionizing radiation, cosmic rays, magnetic fields, and micrometeorites in the vicinity of the Earth and in lunar orbit. Due to a launch vehicle malfunction, the spacecraft attained only a ballistic trajectory and never reached the Moon.
Pioneer 11
The First to Complete a Saturn Flyby
Second Jupiter flyby. Used Jupiter's mass in a gravity assist to alter its trajectory toward Saturn. Made a successful Saturn flyby and then followed an escape trajectory from the solar system. On Dec. 4, 1974, Pioneer 11 passed to within 34,000 km of Jupiter's cloud tops and obtained dramatic images of the Great Red Spot, made the first observation of the immense polar regions, and determined the mass of Jupiter's moon Callisto.
Project SCORE
The First Communications Satellite
Launched in an Atlas rocket on December 18, 1958, SCORE provided a first test of a communications relay system in space and captured world attention by broadcasting a Christmas message via short wave frequency from U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower through an onboard tape recorder. SCORE was an acronym for Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment
The First Space Station Launched by the U.S.A.
The second space station ever visited by a human crew. The 100 ton space station was in Earth's orbit from 1973 to 1979, and it was visited by crews three times in 1973 & 1974. It included a laboratory for studying the effects of microgravity & the Apollo Telescope Mount solar observatory.
The First to Complete Privately Funded Human Spaceflight
On June 21, 2004. It was developed by Scaled Composites. SpaceShipOne was an experimental air-launched suborbital spaceplane that used a hybrid rocket motor. The design featured a unique "feathering" reentry system where the rear half of the wing and the twin tail booms folded upward along a hinge running the length of the wing; this increased drag while remaining stable.
Sputnik 1
The First Artificial Satellite
Launched into geocentric orbit by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957, it was the first of a series of satellites collectively known as the Sputnik program. The unanticipated announcement of Sputnik 1's success precipitated the Sputnik crisis in the United States and ignited the Space Race within the Cold War.
Sputnik 2
The First to Put an Animal in Orbit (a Dog)
The first to carry a living animal, a dog named Laika. It contained several compartments for radio transmitters, a telemetry system, a programming unit, a regeneration and temperature control system for the cabin, and scientific instruments. A separate sealed cabin contained the dog Laika.
Voyager 1
The Farthest Man-made Object from Earth
As of May 9, 2008, Voyager 1 was about 16 billion km (9.87 billion miles) from the Sun. It is a robotic space probe launched Sept. 5, 1977, and remains operational, currently pursuing its current mission, to locate and study the boundaries of the Solar System. Its original mission was to visit Jupiter and Saturn & it was the first probe to provide detailed images of the moons of these planets.

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