Vote Now! Iconic Photos - 50 Years of Human Spaceflight

Melvill Celebrates Atop SpaceShipOne

Mike Massee

Pilot Mike Melvill has some fun celebrating his successful private suborbital flight atop SpaceShipOne, as the tow vehicle pulls it to the general viewing area.

Yang Liwei, First Chinese Astronaut

First Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei waves as the capsule door was opened after landing on the Inner Mongolian grasslands of northern China Thursday, Oct. 16, 2003.

Cosmonaut Polyakov, Longest Spaceflight Record-Holder


Cosmonaut Valeriy V. Polyakov looks out space station Mir's window during rendezvous operations with the space shuttle Discovery on February 6, 1995. He holds the record for the longest spaceflight, just under 438 days, aboard Mir.

John Glenn, First American in Orbit


Rehearsing for his historic flight on February 20, 1962, Mercury program astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. works in a cramped training capsule preparing for a few hours' voyage through space.

Rendezvous in Orbit


In December 1965, two Gemini spacecraft flew above the Earth at the same time. Gemini VI carried Walter M. Schirra, Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford, while Gemini Vll contained Frank Borman and James A. Lovell, Jr. This photo of Gemini VII was taken from Gemini VI by Stafford.

First Walk in Space


Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov stepped out of the Soviet Voskhod II spacecraft to make the first walk in space on March 18, 1965.

Launch of Mercury-Redstone


This Mercury-Redstone rocket placed the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard, in suborbit on May 5, 1961.

Apollo-Soyuz Test Project


American and Russian spaceflyers, pictured here, came together in the historic Apollo-Soyuz Test Project of July, 1975. The Americans flew on the final Saturn rocket to launch, the final Apollo spaceflight.

Liftoff! China Launches Third Manned Spaceflight

AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Gang

The Shenzhou 7 manned spacecraft launches from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu province on Thursday Sept. 25, 2008, in this photo distributed by the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua.

The Original Seven


Bearded, with makeshift clothing, the seven original Mercury astronauts participated in U.S. Air Force survival training at Stead Air Force Base in Nevada. Pictured in this 1960 photograph are (l to r): L. Gordon Cooper, M. Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Virgil I. Grissom, Walter Schirra and Donald K. Slayton.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: Staff
News and editorial team is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.