Until the twentieth century, the idea of traveling through space was a thing of scientists too advanced or writers with a lot of imagination.
The knowledge of space, when it could only be observed with the naked eye, was limited and often based more on magical or religious beliefs than on reality.
From 1600 onwards Kepler's studies, the invention of the telescope and Galileo's observations changed the picture. But, despite the fact that the observation instruments improved, they remained hooked to the ground.
Since the end of World War II, in 1945, the race to space intensified. The Germans had perfected the rockets and their knowledge was essential for the Russians and Americans.
When the atmosphere of the Earth was transferred, the space age began, first with satellites and probes, then with manned ships.
The Soviets (now called Russians) launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, on October 4, 1957. A month later, on November 3, they sent the first living being, the dog Laika, aboard Sputnik II .
In February 1958, the United States orbited Explorer I, its first satellite. On April 12, 1961 the Soviets made the first manned flight and Yuri Gagarin was the first astronaut. Then the American Alan B. Shepard left a quarter of an hour out of his capsule. It was the first spacewalk.
From 1966 the objective was the Moon and the Americans arrived earlier. On July 21, 1969, the Apollo XI capsule remained in a lunar orbit while the Eagle module lowered to the surface. Shortly after, Neil Armstrong became the first human who stepped on the Moon. Or, at least, this is what was seen on television.
The Russians also arrived on the Moon and, in addition, since 1971 they dedicated their efforts to building a space station. Then the Americans did it. Europe and Japan created their own Space Agencies and began to participate. Space exploration thus became an international project.
In addition to manned trips, ships with instruments exploring the Solar System have been sent to space: The Voyager, which has photographed closely almost all the planets; various robots that have toured Mars; or the Hubble, a telescope placed in orbit and that, from outside the atmosphere, photographs the universe as we had never seen it before.
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