Fifty Years of Human Spaceflight

Human spaceflight has come a long way over the last 50 years since the launch of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961 during the Vostok 1 mission. SPACE.com looks at just how far spaceflight has come and what's on the horizon.
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Welcoming the Era of In-Space Manufacturing
Mike Snyder (right) and Jason Dunn of Made In Space get the company's 3D printer ready for its September 2014 launch toward the International Space Station. The machine printed its first part in orbit on Nov. 24, 2014.
November 25th, 2014
An op-ed by Mike Snyder, lead engineer for Made In Space, whose 3D printer just produced its first part aboard the International Space Station.
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World's First Zero-Gravity 3D Printer Installed on Space Station
WIlmore Installs 3D Printer
November 17th, 2014
Space station commander Barry Wilmore installed the 3D printer inside the orbiting lab's Microgravity Science Glovebox Monday. The machine and its software are in good operating condition, and the first test items will likely be printed sometime Monday.
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Space Station's 3D Printer Makes 1st Part
International Space Station commander Barry "Butch" Wilmore holds up the first 3D printed part made in space. The part, an extruder plate (a piece of the printer itself), was made on Nov. 24, 2014.
November 25th, 2014
The milestone marks a key step toward a future in which voyaging spaceships print out their own spare parts on the go and colonists on other worlds make what they need from the dirt beneath their boots, 3D printing advocates say.
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'Interstellar' Director, Actors Inspired by Space Exploration History
McConaughey Holds Lunar Module Model
November 10th, 2014
On screen, director Christopher Nolan's film 'Interstellar' takes audiences on a futuristic journey across space and time. Behind the scenes, it was real space history rather than science-based fiction that inspired Nolan to make the film.
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Will Space Tourism Survive Virgin Galactic's Tragic Spaceship Crash?
SpaceShipTwo's 3rd Rocket-Powered Test Flight
November 6th, 2014
Friday's tragic accident will delay Virgin Galactic's progress and may also result in more governmental oversight of the company and others that seek to launch paying customers to space, experts say. But space tourism itself should survive.
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How 3D Printing Could Aid Space Exploration
International Space Station commander Barry WIlmore installs the orbiting lab's first 3D printer on Nov. 17, 2014.
November 25th, 2014
The 3D printer aboard the International Space Station produced its first part today (Nov. 21). The milestone moment marks a big step toward a future in which humanity explores far beyond its home planet, some experts say.
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Gemini Spacecraft Lands at Auction, Escapes Parking Ticket
Gemini Capsule's Parking Ticket Near-Miss
November 21st, 2014
A metal mockup of a Gemini space capsule used by NASA for ground tests sold at auction for more than $50,000 — parking fees not included. The 9.5-foot-tall (3-meter) spacecraft narrowly avoided a parking ticket on its way to the sale.
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Soyuz Spacecraft Returns Space Station Crew to Earth
Alexander Gerst (left), Maxim Suraev and Reid Weisman are seen seated in front of their Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft after landing on the snow-covered steppe of Kazakhstan, Nov. 9, 2014.
November 9th, 2014
American astronaut Reid Wiseman, Russian cosmonaut Maxim Surayev, and European astronaut Alexander Gerst returned to Earth from aboard the International Space Station, touching down in Kazakhstan after 165 days orbiting the planet.
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