Special Report

The Most Important Events in NASA's History

Source: NASA / JPL

11. Spacecraft flies by Venus
> Date: Dec, 14, 1962

Mariner 2 accomplished the first flyby of a planet when it soared past Venus. The spacecraft was also the first to measure the solar wind — charged particles flowing from the Sun.

Source: Bettman / Getty Images

12. Apollo goes into orbit
> Date: May 28, 1964

America put the first Apollo Command Module in orbit. The capsule was launched during an automated test flight atop a Saturn I rocket. The purpose of the test was to show the compatibility of the spacecraft with the launch vehicle for orbital flights.

Source: NASA

13. White takes walk in space
> Date: June 3, 1965

Edward H. White II performed the first spacewalk by an American during the Gemini IV flight, which was the second piloted Gemini mission. White’s walk lasted 23 minutes. This task needed to be accomplished before making a moon landing.

Source: NASA / JPL

14. Mars seen up close
> Date: July 15, 1965

Eight months after launch, the space probe Mariner 4 traveled to within 6,118 miles of Mars, sending back close-up images of the planet. The spacecraft lasted about three years in solar orbit, and provided studies of the solar wind.

Source: NASA

15. Astronauts achieve first orbital docking
> Date: March 16, 1966

In order for the lunar module to be able to dock with the spacecraft upon returning from the moon, it was important to test the docking maneuver. Commander Neil A. Armstrong and Pilot David Scott docked their Gemini VIII spacecraft with the Agena target vehicle, the first linking of two spacecraft in Earth orbit. The two spacecraft were in the third orbit of the mission, over Mexico’s west coast.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.