Sergei Korolev submits a proposal to study launching a Soviet satellite.
October 4 The ruling body of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) calls for science satellite launches during the IGY. 1955
The Technological Capabilities Panel proposes launching a science satellite to establish the principle of "freedom of space."
The U.S. IGY Committee declares launching a science satellite during the IGY feasible.
President Eisenhower approves the U.S. IGY satellite plan.
White House Press Secretary James Hagerty announces the U.S. IGY satellite plan.
In Copenhagen, Academician Leonid Sedov announces that the Soviet Union will launch an IGY satellite.
The Stewart Committee selects Project Vanguard as the U.S. IGY satellite program.
Korolev receives approval to launch the Object-D satellite.
September 9 Project Vanguard begins officially. 1957
The IGY begins.
The R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) flies successfully for the first time.
Sputnik I is launched on a modified R-7 ICBM.
Sputnik II is launched carrying Laika.
The Department of Defense authorizes the U.S. Army Explorer as a backup to Project Vanguard.
Eisenhower makes his first public statement calling for a civilian space agency.
Lyndon Johnson opens hearings in the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee to review U.S. defense and space programs.
December 6 The Vanguard TV-3 launch fails. 1958
Explorer I is launched, becoming the first U.S. satellite.
President Eisenhower addresses Congress to propose the creation of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), responsible for civilian space and aeronautical research.
James Van Allen announces the discovery of Earth's radiation belts.
Sputnik III is launched.
Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (Public Law 85568), forming NASA, with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) as its nucleus.
T. Keith Glennan is sworn in as NASA's first administrator; Hugh Dryden is deputy administrator.
NASA opens for business.
NASA formally organizes Project Mercury.
December 31 The IGY concludes. 1959
Luna 1 (Mechta, meaning "dream") is launched, becoming the first lunar flyby.
The Mercury 7 astronauts are selected.
Luna 2 is launched, resulting in the first lunar impact.
Luna 3 is launched, producing the first pictures of the Moon's far side.
The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center is established with transfer of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency from the Army to NASA.
Project Apollo is announced.
December 20 President-elect John Kennedy announces that Vice President-elect Lyndon Johnson will chair the National Aeronautics and Space Council.