Meet the First People in Space

On April 12, 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first human in space. 

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the American in space aboard his Mercury "Freedom 7" spacecraft. His suborbital mission lasted 15 minutes and 22 seconds:

Valentina Tereshkova was not only the first woman in space, she went on to assume political and diplomatic roles throughout her career.

Over 20 years later, on June 18, 1983, the United States sent the first American woman astronaut to space. 

About the Missions

John Glenn and Scott Carpenter will talk about their selection as astronauts, the first human spaceflights, and their careers in and out of spaceflight.

While best known for the famous first US spacewalk, the Gemini Program met many other objectives that extended the US capability to conduct human spaceflight missions.

Half a century ago, on July 20, 1969, humans walked on the Moon for the first time — and returned to walk on the lunar surface five more times.

The famous “Handshake in Space,” the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was the first American-Soviet space flight, docking the last American Apollo spacecraft with the then-Soviet Soyuz spacecraft.

Skylab was the United States' first space station launched into Earth orbit in 1973. 

The space shuttle democratized and internationalized human spaceflight. It enabled the United States and its partner nations to make near-Earth orbit a home and workplace. 

The Shuttle-Mir program was a collaboration between the American and Russian space programs. Shuttle-Mir missions began in 1994 and helped to prepare the way for the International Space Station. 

Since 2000, we have been sending astronauts to live and work in the orbiting laboratory—an incredible example of scientific achievement and international cooperation.

NASA awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing to develop, build, and operate programs that would carry NASA astronauts to the ISS.

The Artemis program will take the first woman and next man to the Moon. 

What will a trip to Mars be like? What are the challenges? Would you want to visit the red planet? Learn about Mars from NASA Astronauts!

Meet Victor Glover
Making History Today

In November 2020, NASA astronaut Victor Glover launched on his first spaceflight, becoming the first Black astronaut to live on the International Space Station as part of a long-duration mission. However, before that he was a high school athlete, an engineering student , a pilot in the Navy who flew in combat and peacetime and tested aircraft. Discover his path and how he's making history today.

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Video and Lesson Plan
How Astronauts Stay Safe in Space

Watch NASA astronaut Randy “Komrade” Bresnik discuss how spacesuits allow astronauts to function in space. Then, join STEM in 30 hosts Beth and Marty as they create “spacesuits” to protect some very special astronaut stand-ins: potatoes, or, as we like to call them, “Taternauts.”

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