According to Head of the Russian Federal Space Agency V. Popovkin, it is likely that Russian cosmonauts will land on the Moon by 2020. Citizens of the Russian Federation, engineers or doctors by education, may apply for the program to be selected for the expedition. The Russian Federal Space Agency also announced its plans to build research stations on Mars. All that is yet to happen in future so why not look back into the past to see what space programs the Soviet Union and Russia had.

On October 4th, 1957 Soviet Sputnik-1 was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, to become the first artificial satellite to be put into Earth orbit and trigger a space race between the USSR and the USA.

On November 3rd, 1957 Sputnik-2 became the second spacecraft launched into Earth orbit and the first to carry a living animal, a dog named Laika. Laika died a few hours later from overheating and stress (in 1957 it was announced the dog died 6 days after the launch).

On August 19th, 1960 the dogs named Belka and Strelka spent one day in space and safely returned to Earth.

On April 12th, 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human to journey into outer space. He spent there 1 hour 48 minutes.

Vostok-1 launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with Y. Gagarin aboard.

Nikita Khrushchev gives a hug to cosmonauts G. Titov and Y. Gagrin after 25-year old Titov became the second human to travel into outer space. He spent 25 hours there. Titov remains the world’s youngest cosmonaut to travel into outer space.

On June 16th, 1963 Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel into space. A second woman was sent to space just after 19 years. It was S. Savitskaya.

On March 18th, 1965 Alexey Leonov became the first human to conduct a spacewalk.

On February 3rd, 1966 Luna-9, an unmanned spacecraft, became the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on the Moon to transmit photographic data to Earth.

Widow Komarova gives a kiss to her husband’s portrait during his funeral held on Red Square in Moscow on April 26th, 1967. Vladimir Komarov’s spaceflight on Soyuz-1 made him the first cosmonaut to fly into outer space more than once, and he became the first human to die during a spaceflight—when the Soyuz-1 space capsule crashed after re-entry on April 24th, 1967.

Soviet scientists examine two turtles that returned to earth after their journey to the Moon, 1968.

On November 17th, 1970 Lunokhod-1 became the first roving remote-controlled robot landed on the Moon.

Venera-9 was a USSR unmanned space mission to Venus. It consisted of an orbiter and a lander. It was launched on June 8th, 1975. The orbiter was the first spacecraft to orbit Venus, while the lander was the first to return images from the surface of another planet.

One of the pictures taken by Venera-9.

Soviet cosmonaut Alexey Leonov and American astronaut Thomas Stafford shake hands as their two space ships performed successful docking on July 17th, 1975.

On July 25th, 1984 Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to conduct a spacewalk.

Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia.

1987-1988. V. Titov and M. Manarov became the first humans to spend in space more than a year. Their mission lasted for 365 days,22 hours and 39 minutes.

The first space tourist, American multimillionaire Dennis Tito, after successful landing in Kazakhstan, May 6th, 2011. He spent almost 8 days in space and visited the International Space Station.

2010-2011. A team of volunteers consisting of three Russians, one Frenchman, Italian and Chinese lived and worked in a closed capsule for 520 days to simulate a journey to Mars.

The Mars-500 team simulated a spacewalk thrice and “returned to Earth”.

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