You most certainly do not need to be a budding astronomer to be absolutely fascinated and enthralled by space and the existential possibilities, discoveries, and explorations that the sky above provides.
Here then, to tantalize your curiosity tastebuds even further, is a simple timeline of the major breakthroughs in space exploration.
The First Telescopes
Galileo Galilei, an Italian scientist who was absolutely captivated by the untapped potential and possibilities of the universe and space, constructed the very first telescope, all the way back in 1607, from different-sized observation tubes.
After years of honing and improving his new invention, he managed to achieve an impressive 32x magnification and was one of the first people ever to view the satellites of Jupiter, stars in the Milky Way, and the craters on the Moon.
The First Rockets
Around the beginning of the thirteenth century, the Chinese people invented the first rockets, which were made from paper-tubed shells containing gunpowder charge. Five centuries later, in India, inventors started to sheath the rockets in sheet iron.
In England, in 1804, Sir William Congreve created the Congreve Rocket, which armies all across the globe quickly adopted for use in battle. At the same time, talks began on how to develop these rockets for space adventure.
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The First Artificial Satellite
Fast forwarding to the middle of the twentieth century, on 4th October 1957, the Russian people modified their own R-7 ballistic missile to launch the very first artificial satellite before delivering a pennant emblazoned with the USSR coat of arms on the Moon.
In 1961, on the 12th April, Yuri Gagarin made history for the human race by being the first person to circle the earth on a spacecraft, on a flight that lasted a mere 108 minutes, before landing safely back to Earth in Russia.
The Space Race
Until early 1965, the USSR was definitely winning what is now called the ‘Space Race’ against the USA, but all this changed when NASA launched the Gemini Program, the start of ten separate flights into space.
The famous Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon with NASA’s Apollo mission in July 1969 and finally meant that the Americans were ahead in the Space Race, with the Russians suffering accident after disaster in their effort to keep up.
Other Notable Dates in Space Exploration
NASA, standing for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, was founded in 1958 and, as referenced above, quickly gained impressive momentum.
France entered the world of space in late 1965, becoming the third country in the world to successfully launch a satellite, with China achieving the same in 1970. On 7th February 1984, Robert Stewart and Bruce McCandless, both NASA astronauts, conducted the very first untethered spacewalk, 328 feet apart from the Challenger space rocket.