World Space Week, sponsored by the United Nations, is from October 4 through October 10. Created in 1999, the week commemorates events in space. This year’s theme is “The Moon: Gateway to the Stars.” Two events sparked the choice of these days:
- Sputnik I, a Soviet spacecraft, was launched on October 4, 1957. It was the first successful man-made satellite, weighing 184 pounds and remaining in space for 21 days. Sputnik marked the beginning of the space race.
- Members of the United Nations signed on October 10, 1967, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.
Other events related to space and air travel on this date are:
- Jet passenger service began in 1958. The British airliner Comet flew from London to New York.
- Luna 3 was launched in 1959 by the Soviets. It was the first spacecraft to photograph the moon’s far side.
- SpaceShipOne became in 2004 the first private, successful, manned venture into space. Its owners received the $10 million Ansari X Ten Prize for their efforts. SpaceShipOne is now in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.