April 19, 1971
First Space Station
The Salyut 1 space station is launched by the Soviet Union and become the first space station in orbit. It remains in orbit until May 28, 1973.
June 6, 1971
First Occupation of Space Station
Soyuz 11 carried Cosmonauts G.T. Dobrovolsky, V.N. Volkov, and V.I. Patsayev to Salyut 1, the first manned occupancy of an orbital station. Tragically, on June 29, the Cosmonauts died upon Soyuz 11's reentry.
July 30, 1971
First Lunar Rover Mission
Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin drive the first moon rover while exploring the Moon's surface. The next year, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt drives a similar rover.
November 13, 1971
First Spacecraft to Orbit Another Planet
American space probe Mariner 9 is launched May 30, 1971. Six months later it arrives at the planet Mars and becomes the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. Over the next year, it maps 100 percent of the Martian surface.
First Black Hole Candidate
Astronomers designate Cignus X-1 as the first probable black hole This binary star system emits strong bursts as X-rays as matter is crushed out of existence by the black hole.
May 14, 1973
First U.S. Space Station
The United States launches Skylab, the first U.S. space station. It will be occupied by three crews and over the next few years will be an important arena for a number of scientific experiments.
May 25, 1973
First Skylab Crew
The United States launches Skylab 2, carrying the first crew to visit the Skylab station. The three-member crew repairs damage sustained by Skylab station during its launch. They spend 28 days in space, setting a new space duration record for American astronauts.
July 17, 1975
First International Space Rendezvous
American Apollo and Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock in what is the first international spacecraft rendezvous. Known as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, this important mission proved that U.S. and Russian crews could work together successfully in space.
First Surface Images of Venus
The Soviet Venera 9 and Venera 10 spacecraft land successfully on Venus send the first pictures of the Venusian surface to Earth. The also take measurements of the planet's atmosphere before being destroyed by the intense heat and pressure.
July 20, 1976
First Surface Images of Mars
The first pictures of the surface of Mars are sent back to Earth by Viking 1, the first U.S. spacecraft to successfully land a on another planet. The pictures reveal a rocky, desolate landscape that shows no signs of life.
Discovery of Water Frost on Mars
Following the success of Viking 1, the Viking 2 spacecraft lands on Mars on the Plain of Utopia. It discovers and photographs water frost and sends back stunning images of the Martian surface.
Launch of Historic Voyager Missions
The Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft leave Earth on an epic tour of the Solar System. They will soon meet with Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1980.
U.S. Probes Arrive at Venus
Two U.S. Pioneer spacecraft reach the planet Venus. One drops four probes into the atmosphere, while the other maps the surface.
March 5, 1979
Voyager 1 Arrives at Jupiter
The U.S. Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched in 1977, arrives at Jupiter and begins sending back amazing images of the giant planet and its moons.
July 9, 1979
Voyager 2 Arrives at Jupiter
The U.S. Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched in 1977, arrives at Jupiter and begins sending back images of Jupiter and its moons.
September 1, 1979
First Images of Saturn
The U.S. space probe Pioneer 11 reaches Saturn, flying within 13,000 miles and taking the first close-up photographs of the planet.
November 12, 1980
Voyager 1 Arrives at Saturn
The Voyager 1 spacecraft arrives at Saturn and begins sending back extraordinary images of the ringed planet and its many moons.