4 October: Sputnik satellite blasts into space
A Russian satellite is launched into space - the first man-made object ever to leave the Earth's atmosphere.
3 November: Russians launch dog into space
The Russians launch the first ever living creature into space to the fury of animal lovers in Sputnik II. Laika is found to have died from overheating and panic just hours after take off.
1 February: US launch first satellite 'Explorer'13 December: Gordo the monkey lost after space flight
After surviving a 300-mile journey into space and travelling more than 1,500 miles in a Jupiter rocket, Gordo sank to his death when the nose-cone dropped into the South Atlantic.
28 May: Two monkeys become the first living creatures to survive a space flight12 September: Soviets launch a massive rocket at the Moon carrying 860lb (391kg) of scientific instruments26 October: World glimpses far side of the Moon as USSR reveals the first pictures from the Soviet satellite, Lunik 3Next: The 1960sSpace homepage