Events through history
This is not a complete list but I think it notes the most important achievements since the first telescopic observation of the night sky.
Galileo's first telescopic observation of the night sky: discovery of Jupiter's moons, lunar craters and the phases of Venus.
William Moore's first exposition of the rocket equation based on Newton's third law of motion: Treatise on the Motion of Rockets.
First clear telescopic photograph of another world: the Moon by John William Draper.
"From the Earth to the Moon" is published. Author: Jules Verne.
"War of the Worlds" is published. Author: H.G Wells
Robert H. Goddard files for and is subsequently awarded U.S. patents on multistage and liquid-fueled rockets.
Society for Studies of Interplanetary Travel founded.
Goddard launches the first liquid-fueled rocket.
The Conquest of Interplanetary Space discusses rocket mechanics and orbital effects including the gravitational slingshot.
First German military liquid-fueled rocket engines developed.
The Explorer II balloon takes two people to 22,066 metres (72,395 ft), where they observe and photograph the curvature of the Earth.
V-2 Rocket (MW 18014): First man-made object to cross what would later be defined as the Kármán line and hence first spaceflight in history.
First pictures of Earth from 105 km (65 mi).
First animals in space (fruit flies).
First dogs in space (Dezik and Tsygan).
First intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). First artificial satellite First signals from space. First animal in orbit, the dog Laika.
Confirmed the existence of the Van Allen belts.
First firing of a rocket in Earth orbit First reaching Earth escape velocity or Trans Lunar Injection First detection of solar wind. First artificial satellite to reach the Moon vicinity and first artificial satellite in heliocentric orbit. First photograph of Earth from orbit. First impact into another world (the Moon) First delivery of national (USSR) pennants to a celestial body. First photos of another world from space: The far side of the Moon.
First solar probe.
First Hominidae in space, first tasks performed in space; Ham (chimpanzee). First human-piloted space flight (Alan Shepard) First human-crewed suborbital flight First human space mission that landed with pilot still in spacecraft, thus the first complete human spaceflight by FAI definitions.
First woman in space (Valentina Tereshkova).
First Mars flyby (closest approach 9,846 kilometers; returned pictures) by Mariner 4.
First soft landing on another world (the Moon) by Luna 9.
First piloted orbital mission of another celestial body (Moon), First-ever Trans-Earth injection First human space mission to escape Earth's influence (25 December).
First human on the Moon, and first space launch from a celestial body other than the Earth First sample return from the Moon. First photograph of Phobos from Space.
First lunar rover.
First space station
Pioneer 10: First human made object sent on escape trajectory away from the Sun.
First Jupiter flyby (at 130,000 km).
Venus flyby at 5768 kilometers, first gravitational assist manoeuvre. First photograph of Venus from Space
First orbit around Venus.
Closest flyby of the Sun (43.432 million kilometers) Maximum speed record among spacecraft (252,792 km/h).
Jupiter flyby (closest approach 349,000 km) encounters with Five Jovian moons, discovery of volcanism on Io.
First Reusable manned spacecraft (orbital). STS-1
First spacecraft beyond the orbit of Neptune (first spacecraft to pass beyond all Solar System planets).
First untethered spacewalk, Bruce McCandless II. STS-41-B.
First Uranus flyby (closest approach 81,500 kilometers (44,000 nmi). Voyager 2.
Challenger explosion with Christa McAuliffe (teacher at high school in Concord, New Hampshire). STS-51-L
First consistently inhabited long-term research space station. MIR.
First Neptune flyby (closest approach at 29,240 km).
First photograph of the whole Solar System. Voyager 1.
First asteroid flyby (951 Gaspra closest approach 1,600 kilometers).
First polar orbit around the Sun.
Record longest duration spaceflight (437.7 days) set by Valeri Polyakov.
First operational rover on another planet (Mars). Mars Pathfinder.
First multinational space station, Largest man-made object built in space to date. ISS.
First orbiting of an asteroid (433 Eros).
First landing on an asteroid (433 Eros).
Columbia explodes on re-entry to the atmosphere.
First soft landing on Titan.
Kepler Mission is launched, first space telescope designated to search for Earth-like exoplanets.
First orbit of Mercury.
First man-made probe to make a planned and soft landing on a comet (67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko).
First orbit of dwarf planet (Ceres). First spacecraft to orbit two separate celestial bodies.
Astronaut Scott Kelly and Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko return to Earth after their 340-day space mission, longest recorded time in space for ISS crew members.