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The American Experience
Image map: dates 1902 - 1988

Soviet Yuri A. Gagarin, traveling aboard the "Vostok 1", becomes the first human in space. Gagarin spends one hour and forty-eight minutes on his orbital flight.

1961 - MAYMay
Alan B. Shepard, riding the "Mercury-Redstone 3", is the first American astronaut in space. His flight lasts 15 minutes.


John Glenn, a Marine Corps pilot, becomes the first American to orbit the earth. Glenn's mode of transportation is the Mercury capsule, "Friendship 7".


The longest non-stop flight ever completed over the South Pole is made by a U.S. plane. A distance of 3,600 miles is covered in ten hours. The flight path went from McMurdo Station, past the geographical South Pole to Shackleton Mountains, and continued southeast to the "Area of Inaccessibility" before returning to the McMurdo Station.

Valentina V. Tereshkova of the Soviet Union is the first woman in space. Tereshkova enters space aboard the "Vostok 6".


While flying aboard the "Voskhod 2" with cosmonaut Pavel I. Belyayev, fellow Soviet Aleksei A. Leonov becomes the first man to embark on a "space walk." The event lasts approximately ten minutes.

1965 - JuneJune
Spending approximately twenty minutes outside of his "Gemini 4" spacecraft, Edward White becomes the first American astronaut to walk in space.


The "Apollo 8", carrying U.S. astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William A. Anders, becomes the first manned space vessel to orbit the moon.


U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, part of the "Apollo 11" crew, along with astronaut Michael Collins, successfully execute the first manned lunar landing. While Collins stayed in the spacecraft , Armstrong and Aldrin walked upon the surface of the moon. Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon described it this way: "The surface is fine and powdery. It adheres in fine layers, like powdered charcoal, to the soles and sides of my boots. I only go in a fraction of an inch, maybe an eighth of an inch, but I can see the footprints of my boots and the treads in the fine, sandy particles."

1902 - 1915 | 1916 - 1958 |1961 - 1969 | 1975 - 1983 | 1986 - 1998

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