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Rivalry in Space

1961

April 12 - USSR Vostok 1. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbits the Earth once in 1 hour, 48 minutes.

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May 5 - US Mercury 3. Astronaut Alan Shepard is in outer space for 15 minutes.

May 25 - US President Kennedy commits the United States to putting a man on the moon by decade's end.

July 21 - US Mercury 4 is in space for 16 minutes.

Aug. 6 - USSR Vostok 2, first human in space for more than a day (25 hours).

1962

Feb. 20 - US Mercury 6. John Glenn orbits the Earth three times in just under 4 hours. V

May 24 - US Mercury 7, first meal eaten in space.

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Aug. 11 - USSR Vostok 3, first joint mission (with Vostok 4).

Aug. 12 - USSR Vostok 4 maneuvers to within four miles of Vostok 3.

Oct. 3 - US Mercury 8, first Pacific splashdown.

1963

May 15 - US Mercury 9, first US flight to exceed 24 hours.

June 14 - USSR Vostok 5, second joint flight (with Vostok 6).

June 16 - USSR Vostok 6. Valentina Tereshkova is first woman in space:

1964

Oct. 12 - USSR Voskhod 1, first three-person craft.

1965

March 18 - USSR Voskhod 2, first Soviet spacewalk.

March 23 - US Gemini 3, first two-man US crew.

June 3 - US Gemini 4, first US spacewalk.

Aug. 21 - US Gemini 5, eight-day flight.

Dec. 4 - US Gemini 7, first joint US flight (Gemini 6).

Dec. 15 - US Gemini 6 steers to within 12 inches of Gemini 7.

1966

March 16 - US Gemini 8, first docking in space with unmanned Agena module.

June 3 - US Gemini 9 features two-hour spacewalk. Gemini 10, 11, and 12 launch in July, Sept., and Nov., respectively.

1967

Jan. 27 - US Apollo 1. First three-person US crew (Virgil Grissom, Edward White II, and Roger Chaffee) dies in a fire during preflight test:.

April 23 - USSR Soyuz 1. Vladimir Komarov dies during reentry.

1968

Oct. 11 - US Apollo 7. First live TV broadcast from space.

Oct. 26 - USSR Soyuz 3 maneuvers near unmanned Soyuz 2.

Dec. 21 - US Apollo 8. First manned lunar flight, including 10 orbits of the moon.

1969

Jan. 14 - USSR Soyuz 4, joint mission (Soyuz 5).

Jan. 15 - USSR Soyuz 5 docks with Soyuz 4 in orbit and transfers two cosmonauts.

March 3 - US Apollo 9. First flight test of Lunar Module in earth orbit.

May 18 - US Apollo 10. Lunar Module tested in lunar orbit; comes to within 9 miles of moon's surface.

July 16 - US Apollo 11. Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin set foot on the moon July 20. Michael Collins is the third member of the crew.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor