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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Labor Day in Space: A Weightless Holiday for US Astronauts
NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson talk to students from Elliot Ranch Elementary School in Elk Grove, California, from their home on the International Space Station during the last week of August 2014. The Americans are two of six spaceflyers
September 1st, 2014
While many Americans will spend Labor Day (Sept. 1) barbecuing, relaxing and soaking up the end of summer, U.S. astronauts in space will spend the holiday in their own way: floating in weightlessness.
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NASA's New Mega-Rocket for Deep Space Will Be Launch Ready by 2018
Illustration of Space Launch System Launching
August 28th, 2014
NASA's first test launch of its new mega-rocket, the Space Launch System, will blast off by November 2018, a year later than planned. See how the SLS rocket is making progress here.
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NASA Astronaut Honored with Ohio Historical Marker
NASA Astronaut Robert Overmyer
August 26th, 2014
NASA astronaut Robert Overmyer, who flew on two space shuttle missions in the early 1980s, was remembered Saturday (Aug. 23) with the dedication of a historical marker in his Ohio hometown.
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XCOR Aerospace's Private Lynx Space Plane to Get New Texas Home
The spaceflight company XCOR Aerospace has begun work on a hangar in Midland, Texas for its private Lynx space plane. The two-person spacecraft is being developed for space tourism and science launches to suborbital space.
August 28th, 2014
XCOR Aerospace — the builder of the Lynx space plane — is renovating the main hangar for the spaceship designed to bring paying tourists into suborbital space. Lynx could launch on its first test flights later this year.
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Historic Mate-Demate Tower Used to Lift Space Shuttles Being Demolished
Space Shuttle Mate-Demate Device
August 26th, 2014
The steel tower used to mount NASA space shuttles atop jumbo jets to fly them cross-country after they landed in California is now being dismantled. The Mate-Demate Device at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center stood for four decades.
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The Moon Smells: Apollo Astronauts Describe Lunar Aroma
Apollo 11 lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin kicks up moon dust during a moonwalk on NASA"s historic first manned lunar landing mission in July 1969.
August 25th, 2014
The moon has a distinctive smell. Ask any Apollo moonwalker about the odiferous nature of the lunar dirt and you'll get the same answer. The moon smells like gunpowder.
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As Space Shuttle Discovery Turns 30, Smithsonian Curator Shares Orbiter Secrets
Space Shuttle Discovery at Udvar-Hazy Center
August 29th, 2014
NASA's retired space shuttle Discovery will mark the 30th anniversary of its first launch being admired by fans of all ages, according to the Smithsonian's curator charged with its care.
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NASA Nears Choice on Private Space Taxis for Astronauts
The Dream Chaser space plane designed by Sierra Nevada Space Systems is one of several private space taxis NASA is considering to launch American astronauts on round trips to the International Space Station. A decision is expected in late August or early
August 27th, 2014
The space agency is about to give out its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract, the last in a series of awards and agreements NASA began putting in place in 2010 to encourage the development of private American astronaut taxis.
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Former NASA Chief Says Russia Holding US Spaceflight Hostage: Report
A nighttime rocket launch in Russia
August 26th, 2014
Former NASA administrator Mike Griffin thinks the United States' dependence on Russian technology to fly astronauts to the International Space Station is tantamount to a "hostage situation," according to an interview conducted in May.
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