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Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin Jr, however, fulfilled John F Kennedy’s promise to reach the Moon by the end of the decade, landing there on July 20, 1969, with Nasa’s Apollo 11.The Soviet Union subsequently cancelled its lunar programmes.— July 21, 2011—Final space shuttle mission ends when Atlantis arrives at Kennedy Space Center.

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4, 1957: First artificial satellite, Sputnik I, is launched by Soviet Union. launches first American astronaut, Alan Shepard Jr., into space, on a 15-minute, 22-second suborbital flight.

— April 12, 1961: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin completes the first manned space flight, orbiting the Earth in 108 minutes. — May 25, 1961: President Kennedy declares the American space objective to put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade. 20, 1962: John Glenn becomes first American to orbit Earth, completing three orbits.

The Soviet Union had two Moon programmes which it closed in the 1970s after the success of Apollo 11.

The US knew about them, but their existence was not admitted publicly until 1990.

Barack Obama, the US president, said in 2010 that he hoped to send astronauts to Mars by the 2030s, but he cut funding for robotic missions to the planet last month.

He also cancelled George W Bush’s plan to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020.Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister and president-elect, wants to restore Russia’s space programme to its former glory.Speaking last year on the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s flight, he said: “Russia should not limit itself to the role of an international space ferryman.” Mr Putin said piloted space missions should be revived by 2018, when the first flights are expected from Vostochny, a .5 billion (£8.6 billion) spaceport being built in Russia’s far east.In this July 20, 1969, file photo, provided by NASA, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. The family of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, says he has died at age 82 on Saturday, Aug. Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969."Buzz" Aldrin, the first men to land on the moon, plant the U. He radioed back to Earth the historic news of "one giant leap for mankind." (AP Photo/NASA, File) — Oct.Plans to send cosmonauts to the Moon could help revive Russia’s space programme after a troubled period.

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