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Top 10 Triumphs In Space Exploration

also part of: Top Ten Space Exploration Achievements
These should be successful space flights ranked by the magnitude of their accomplishments as well as the degree of difficulty the task was. Exclude near tragedies that turned into fine hours (e.g. Apollo 13) and any unmanned flights such as satellites and planetary probes (e.g. Sputnik 1). Contribution towards future space exploration should also b
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    1Apollo 8, United States, 1968
    Task: navigate a spacecraft at speeds faster than any human has flown towards a moving target a quarter million miles away, enter orbit then return to Earth. The flight of Apollo 8 did just that, and perfectly. On Christmas Eve, humans saw the first Earthrise and the famous "Genesis Reading" It was one of the most beautiful moments in history.
  • 2Bruce McCandless' Spacewalk, United States, 1984
    Had any astronaut or cosmonaut disconnected their life-lines, it was suicide. Yet thanks to a special back-pack called the Manned Manubvering Unit, Bruce McCandless was able to do just that. Flying freely 300 feet from the shuttle for 4 hours, McCandless turns science fiction into science reality and space flight is back on the front page
  • 3Apollo 11, United States, 1969
    The "One Giant Leap for Mankind." For 5000 years of human history and prior to that, this was an impossible dream. But when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon the impossible becomes reality.
  • 4Vostok 1, Soviet Union, 1961
    The first venture of a human to venture into a life-less void and opening the final frontier to humanity. Yuri A. Gagarin flew one orbit in 90 minutes becoming the first man in space.
  • 5First Spacewalk, Soviet Union, 1965
    It may have been only 10 minutes, and there may have been problems, but for the first time, a man (Alexei Leonov) ventured into the vaccum of outer space and survived.
  • 6First Rendevous In Space, United States, 1965
    The first time the United States did a space "first" before the Soviets, Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 perform the first rendevous in space. For 3 orbits they fly in tight formation at 17K mph. Gemini 7 also flew for 2 weeks straight; a duration record that would not be boken for 6 years
  • 7Friendship 7, United States, 1962
    America's first orbital space flight. John Glenn won our hearts after flying 3 orbits in less than 5 hours. While it did not see the United States catch up to the Soviet Union, it did make the United States capable of competing in Space
  • 8STS-1, United States, 1981
    The first space shuttle flight. The first space plane. The first re-usable spacecraft. Need I say more. Commanded by the one and only John Young and his pilot Robert Crippen, the first shuttle flight was a perfect 54 hour 36 orbit flight.
  • 9ASTP, United States & Soviet Union, 1975
    This is a case of, "You kids play nicely now." The first joint international mission in 1975, an American Apollo spacecraft docked with the Soviet Soyuz 19 and 3 Astronauts and 2 cosmonauts flew together for 2 days. One of the astronauts was Donald K. Slayton, who was never spposed to fly until his heart health unexpextedly imporved.
  • 10STS-61, United States, 1993
    NASA's termination is on the table. If they can't fix the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA will not survive. STS-61 was given a mission that was a guaranteed failure due to the degree of difficulty the repair was. But the crew pulled it off, repaired the telescope and saved NASA. Furthermore, it gave NASA the confidence to build the International Space

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