A Century of Firsts
Online Educational Activity
Educators & Students
Grades 5-8

This online educational activity for grades 5-8 will allow students to research facts about the history of spaceflight in the 20th century and answer questions about selected events.

Image of Wright Brothers' airplane, astronaut on the moon, and the Shuttle launching.
Test your knowledge in this online activity.
National Education Standards

National Science Standards

  • History and Nature of Science
    • Science as a human endeavor
    • History of science
Standards for Technological Literacy

  • Technology and Society
    • The influence of technology on history
National Educational Technology Standards

  • Basic Operations and Concepts
  • Technology Research Tools

How well do you know your aerospace history facts? Check the information at each of the NASA links to answer the questions about these significant events of the 20th Century. Record your answers on a piece of notebook paper.

Question 1 - Dec. 17, 1903

Solve the code to learn the names of these early aviators. Visit the second link and explain what they did on this date.

Solve the code.

What happened on this date in history?

Question 2 - March 16, 1926

Visit these sites to discover who launched this first-of-its-kind rocket. Name the inventor and the type of rocket.




Question 3 - May 21, 1927

Name the American aviator, what he accomplished, and how long it took?


Question 4 - July 2, 1937

What American woman pilot was lost over the Pacific on this date? Name the navigator who died with her and the type of plane that she was flying.


Question 5 - October 14, 1947

Name the pilot, the plane, and the feat that was a first for aeronautics.


Question 6 - October 4, 1957

What event on this date marked the beginning of the Space Age?


Question 7 - October 1, 1958

What national agency was formed on this date and what was its purpose?


Question 8 - June 8, 1959

This famous plane bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight into space. Name the plane and speed that it flew on October 3, 1967.


Question 9 - April 12, 1961

Name the man who became famous the world over on this date and why.


Question 10 - May 5, 1961

Name the American who became a legend and what he did.


Question 11 - February 20, 1962

Who was the man who pioneered this flight and what was the event?


Question 12 - June 3, 1965

What important space maneuver was accomplished and by whom?


Question 13 - July 20, 1969

What event occurred on this date as the whole world watched?


Question 14 - May 14, 1973

What spacecraft was launched on this date?


Question 15 - April 12, 1981

The beginning of an era was marked by what event on this date?


Question 16 - June 18, 1983

Who was the first American woman astronaut to orbit the Earth and what was the name of the spacecraft on which she flew?



Question 17 - November 20, 1998

This date is recorded as the launch date of the first part of the International Space Station. What is the name of the part and where did it launch from?


Note to Educators: Additional NASA Resources for this Activity

NASA History Web Site

Spaceflight History Page