The first major milestone in space exploration was the launching of Sputnik I by the Soviet Union on October 4th of 1957. The year after that the United States launched the Explorer I from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Nasa was formed that same year after the National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin was the first human passenger to go to space and return. That same year Alan Shepard became the first American astronaut. In 1969, Edwin Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
Here are some sites with good timelines:
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