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The Space Age is a period encompassing the activities related to the Space Race, space exploration, space technology, and the cultural developments influenced by these events, beginning with the launch of Sputnik 1 during 1957, and continuing to the present.
The Space Age was an era of new military, political, technological, and scientific developments which began with the Soviet Union's October 4, 1957 launch of Earth's first artificial satellite Sputnik 1. Weighing 83.6 kg (184.3 lb) and orbiting the Earth once every 98 minutes,. The Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union began in 1957 with the launching of the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1. The race resulted in rapid advances in rocketry, materials science, and other areas. Much of the technology developed for space applications has been spun off and found additional uses, such as memory foam. In 1958 the United States launched its first satellite, Explorer 1. The same year President Dwight D. Eisenhower created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, commonly known as NASA.
Prior to the first attempted human spaceflight, various animals were flown into outer space to identify potential detrimental effects of high g-forces in takeoff and landing, microgravity, and radiation exposure at high altitudes.
The Space Race reached its peak with the Apollo program that captured the imagination of much of the world's population. From 1961 to 1964, NASA’s budget was increased almost 500 percent, and the lunar landing program eventually involved some 34,000 NASA employees and 375,000 employees of industrial and university contractors. The Soviet Union proceeded tentatively with its own lunar landing program which it did not publicly acknowledge, partly due to internal debate over its necessity and the untimely death (in January 1966) of Sergey Korolev, chief engineer of the Soviet space program.
The landing of Apollo 11 was watched by over 500 million people around the world and is widely recognized as one of the defining moments of the 20th century. Since then, public attention has largely moved to other areas.
The last major leap of the Space Age was the Skylab and Salyute programs, which established the first space stations for the U.S. and USSR in Earth Orbit following termination of both country's moon programs.
The 1970s to 2010sEdit
At this point, the space age had largely declined and was for the most part over, as public attention was no longer focused on this area. In the 1970s, there was a very large decline in manned space flights in the U.S. as the shuttle program was getting ready to kick into gear, and the space race had been over since the Apollo-Soyuz test project of 1975.
The shuttle program restored spaceflight to the U.S. following the Skylab program, but the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986 marked a significant decline in crewed Shuttle launches. Following the disaster, NASA grounded all Shuttles for safety concerns until 1988. During the 1990s funding for space-related programs fell sharply as the remaining structures of the now-dissolved Soviet Union disintegrated and NASA no longer had any direct competition.
Since then, participation in space launches has increasingly widened to include more governments and commercial interests. Since the 1990s, the public perception of space exploration and space-related technologies has been that such endeavors are increasingly commonplace.
In the early 21st century, the Ansari X Prize competition was set up to help jump-start private spaceflight. The winner, Space Ship One in 2004, became the first spaceship not funded by a government agency.
Several countries now have space programs; from related technology ventures to full-fledged space programs with launch facilities. There are many scientific and commercial satellites in use today, with thousands of satellites in orbit, and several countries have plans to send humans into space. Some of the countries joining this new race are France, India, China, Israel and the United Kingdom, all of which have employed surveillance satellites. There are several other countries with less extensive space programs, including Brazil, Germany, Ukraine, and Spain.
As for the United States space program, NASA is currently constructing a deep-space crew capsule named the Orion. NASA's goal with this new space capsule is to carry humans to Mars. The Orion spacecraft is due to be completed in the early 2020s. NASA is hoping that this mission will “usher in a new era of space exploration.”
Another major factor affecting the current Space Age is the privatization of space flight. A significant private spaceflight company is SpaceX which became the proprietor of one of world's most capable operational launch vehicle when they launched their current largest rocket, the Falcon Heavy in 2018. Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, has put forward the goal of establishing a colony of one million people on Mars and the company is developing its Starship launch vehicle to facilitate this. Since the Demo-2 mission for NASA in 2020 in which SpaceX launched astronauts for the first time to the International Space Station, the company has maintained an orbital human spaceflight capability. Blue Origin, a private company founded by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, is developing rockets for use in space tourism, commercial satellite launches, and eventual missions to the Moon and beyond. Richard Branson's company Virgin Galactic is concentrating on launch vehicles for space tourism. A spinoff company, Virgin Orbit, air-launches small satellites with their LauncherOne rocket. Another small-satellite launcher, Rocket Lab, has developed the Electron rocket and the Photon satellite bus for sending spacecraft further into the Solar System.
The Space Age marked a major comeback and return with the launch of NASA's Space Launch system during the Artemis 1 mission on November 16th, 2022; it marked the first time a human rated spacecraft had been to the Moon in nearly 50 years, as well as the return of United States capability to get astronauts to the Moon with the Space Launch System and Orion. 
|September 30, 1929||Successful public flight of a manned rocket-powered aircraft (Opel RAK.1)||Opel-RAK, world's first large-scale rocket program||Julius Hatry (designer), Fritz von Opel (pilot and program head), Max Valier (program head)||Germany|
|June 20, 1944||Artificial object in outer space, i.e. beyond the Kármán line||V-2 rocket MW 18014 test flight||– N/A||Germany|
|October 24, 1946||Pictures from space (105 km)||U.S.-launched V-2 rocket from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.||– N/A||United States|
|February 20, 1947||Animals in space||U.S.-launched V-2 rocket on 20 February 1947 from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.||- fruit flies||United States|
|October 4, 1957||Artificial satellite||Sputnik 1||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|November 3, 1957||Animal in orbit||Sputnik 2||Laika the dog||Soviet Union|
|January 2, 1959||Lunar flyby, spacecraft to achieve a heliocentric orbit||Luna 1||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|September 12, 1959||Impact on the Lunar surface; thereby becoming the first human object to reach another celestial body||Luna 2||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|October 7, 1959||Pictures of the far side of the Moon||Luna 3||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|January 31, 1961||Hominidae in space||Mercury-Redstone 2||Ham (chimpanzee)||United States|
|April 12, 1961||Human in space||Vostok 1||Yuri Gagarin||Soviet Union|
|May 5, 1961||Manual orientation of crewed spacecraft.||Freedom 7 (Mercury-Redstone 3)||Alan Shepard||United States|
|December 14, 1962||Successful flyby of another planet (Venus closest approach 34,773 kilometers)||Mariner 2||– N/A||United States|
|March 18, 1965||Spacewalk||Voskhod 2||Alexei Leonov||Soviet Union|
|December 15, 1965||Space rendezvous||Gemini 6A and Gemini 7||Schirra, Stafford, Borman, Lovell||United States|
|February 3, 1966||Soft landing on the Moon by a spacecraft||Luna 9||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|March 1, 1966||Human-made object to impact another planet||Venera 3||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|March 16, 1966||Orbital docking between two spacecraft||Gemini 8 & Agena Target Vehicle||Neil Armstrong, David Scott||United States|
|April 3, 1966||Artificial satellite of another celestial body (other than the Sun)||Luna 10||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|October 18, 1967||Telemetry from the atmosphere of another planet||Venera 4||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|December 21–27, 1968||Humans to orbit the Moon||Apollo 8||Borman, Lovell, Anders||United States|
|July 20, 1969||Humans land and walk on the Moon||Apollo 11||Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin||United States|
|December 15, 1970||Telemetry from the surface of another planet||Venera 7||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|April 19, 1971||Operational space station||Salyut 1||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|June 7, 1971||Resident crew||Soyuz 11 (Salyut 1)||Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, Viktor Patsayev||Soviet Union|
|July 20, 1976||Pictures from the surface of Mars||Viking 1||– N/A||United States|
|April 12, 1981||Reusable orbital spaceship||STS-1||Young, Crippen||United States|
|February 19, 1986||Long-duration space station||Mir||– N/A||Soviet Union|
|February 14, 1990||Photograph of the whole Solar System||Voyager 1||– N/A||United States|
|November 20, 1998||Current space station||International Space Station||– N/A||Russia|
|August 25, 2012||Interstellar space probe||Voyager 1||– N/A||United States|
|November 12, 2014||Artificial probe to soft-land on a comet (67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko)||Rosetta||– N/A||European Space Agency|
|July 14, 2015||Space probes to explore all major planets recognized in 1981||New Horizons||– N/A||United States|
|December 20, 2015||Vertical landing of an orbital rocket booster on a ground pad.||Falcon 9 flight 20||– N/A||United States|
|April 8, 2016||Vertical landing of an orbital rocket booster on a floating platform at sea.||SpaceX CRS-8||– N/A||United States|
|March 30, 2017||Relaunch and second landing of a used orbital rocket booster.||SES-10||– N/A||United States|
|January 3, 2019||Soft landing on the lunar far side||Chang'e 4||– N/A||China|
|May 30, 2020||Human orbital spaceflight launched by a private company||Crew Dragon Demo-2/Crew Demo-2/SpaceX Demo-2/Dragon Crew Demo-2||Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley||United States|
|April 19, 2021||First powered controlled extraterrestrial flight by an aircraft||Ingenuity as part of NASA's Mars 2020 mission||– N/A||United States|
|July 11, 2021||Commercial space tourism flight||Virgin Galactic Unity 22||David Mackay, Michael Masucci, Sirisha Bandla, Colin Bennet, Beth Moses, Richard Branson||United States|
|October 5, 2021||Feature-length fiction film shot in space (The Challenge)||Soyuz MS-19||Anton Shkaplerov, Klim Shipenko, Yulia Peresild||Russia|
|November 16, 2022||Artemis 1 launch restoring American capability to get humans to the Moon||Artemis 1||- N/A||United States|
This article or section appears to contradict itself on the start of the Space Age.(August 2022)
The Space Age might also be considered to have begun much earlier than October 4, 1957, because in June 1944, a German V-2 rocket became the first manmade object to enter space, albeit only briefly. Some even consider March 1926 as the beginning of the Space Age, when American rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard launched the world's first liquid fuel rocket, though his rocket did not reach outer space. Also already in the 1920s the world's first large-scale experimental rocket program, Opel-RAK, was initiated under the leadership of Fritz von Opel and Max Valier. Speed records for ground and rail vehicles were achieved in 1928 and von Opel piloted the world's first public flight of a rocket plane, Opel RAK.1. The Great Depression put an end to the Opel-RAK program but it nevertheless had a strong and long-lasting impact on later spaceflight pioneers, in particular on Wernher von Braun who would eventually head the Nazi era V2 program.
Since the V-2 rocket flight was undertaken in secrecy, it was not public knowledge for many years afterward. Further, the German launches, as well as the subsequent sounding rocket tests performed in both the United States and the Soviet Union during the late 1940s and early 1950s, were not considered significant enough to start a new age because they did not reach orbit. Having a rocket powerful enough to reach orbit meant that a nation could place a payload anywhere on the planet, or to use another term, possessed an intercontinental ballistic missile. The fact that after such a development nowhere on Earth was safe from a nuclear warhead is why the orbital standard is commonly used to define when the space age began.
Arts and architectureEdit
The Space Age is considered to have influenced:
- Automotive design: Virgil Exner's Forward Look, 1957-1961
- Googie architecture
- Space Age fashions by André Courrèges, Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne, Rudi Gernreich, Emanuel Ungaro, Jean-Marie Armand, Michèle Rosier, and Diana Dew
- Furniture design of the 1950s and '60s by Eero Saarinen, Arne Jacobsen, Eero Aarnio, and Verner Panton
- Amusement park attractions, such as TWA Moonliner and Mission: Space.
- Cold War playground equipment
The Space Age also inspired musical genres:
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His designs were very modern and architectural, much like those of Courreges and Cardin.