The Rocket Age and the Space Age

V-2 and Sputnik

The V-2 rocket and a model of Sputnik 1.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The first successful launch of Germany’s A-4 ballistic missile and the orbiting of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik-1, took place 15 years and one day apart. The two achievements are related in more ways than their proximity on the calendar.

On Oct. 3, 1942, an A-4 developed by Wernher von Braun and his German Army team reached an altitude of 85 to 90 km (52.8 to 55.9 miles) after launch from Peenemunde on the Baltic Coast.

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Sally Ride – First American Woman in Space 35 Years Ago

Left: The launch of Space Shuttle Challenger on STS-7; center: Ride on Challenger’s Flight Deck; right: Challenger as seen from the SPAS-01 satellite. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — On June 18, 1983, NASA Astronaut Sally K. Ride became the first American woman in space, when she launched with her four crewmates aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-7.  Ride and five other women had been selected in 1978 for NASA Astronaut Group 8, the first American selection class to include females.  With the advent of the space shuttle, NASA expanded astronaut selection from only pilots to scientists and engineers, and women became eligible for selection.  NASA announced Ride and her classmates to the public on Jan. 16, 1978.

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Video: Yuri Gagarin Documentary

This is the first trailer of the Yuri Gagarin fan film produced by Soyuz Fan Film in association with Planet Gagarin Karpov. This fan film is scheduled to release on the day that the world would remember Yuri Gagarin’s flight. Subscriptions and comments are welcome.

Release Date: April 12, 2011