The Moon Landing takes place within the historical, social, and cultural framework of the Sixties, specifically the period from 1962, President Kennedy's speech at Rice University, to 1972, the year of the last Apollo Mission.


The list of events below is intended to give a glimpse into the incredibly creative, socially active, and politically challenging years that preceded and immediately followed the Moon Landing. This list, by no means, is meant to highlight all the important events of that period. We hope that this timeline will encourage you to further explore the new perspectives that the tensions of the Sixties produced. You may begin your exploration with our Timeline Resources page, or by clicking "Learn More" under every year of events.




  • April 12: First human spaceflight: Yuri Gagarin (Soviet Union)
  • May 5: First pilot-controlled spaceflight: Alan Shepard (United States)
  • August 13: Construction of the Berlin Wall begins
  • First oral polio vaccine
  • May 30: First performance of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem
  • July 1: Republic of Rwanda gains independence from Belgium: decolonization in Africa
  • September 12: John F. Kennedy's "We choose to go to the Moon" speech
  • September 27: Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, is published
  • October 16-28: Cuban Missile Crisis
  • April 6: Samuel A. Kirk uses the term "learning disability" at a Chicago conference
  • June 18: First woman and first civilian in space: Valentina Tereshkova (Soviet Union)
  • August 28: Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
  • November 22: John F. Kennedy's assassination
  • First bilingual and bicultural public school in the United States




  • February 9: The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show
  • May 20: Detection of the cosmic microwave background radiation: Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson
  • May 27: Death of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India
  • July 2: Civil Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson
  • August 19: Launch of Syncom 3, the first geostationary satellite
  • March 8: First American combat troops arrive in Danang, South Vietnam
  • July 20: Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" released
  • November 8: The Higher Education Act is signed at Southwest Texas State College
  • Project Head Start begins as an eight-week summer program
  • Yves Saint Laurent's "Mondrian Dress" created
  • Confirmation of continental drift and the theory of plate tectonics
  • March 31: Launch of Luna 10, the first artificial Moon satellite, as part of the Soviet Luna program
  • June 30: National Organization for Women (NOW) established
  • September 8: Star Trek airs on NBC in the United States
  • Cultural Revolution in China


  • January 14: Human Be-In at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California
  • June 12: Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case
  • Summer of Love
  • October 10: Outer Space Treaty is effective
  • November 9: First issue of Rolling Stone Magazine
  • December 3: First human heart transplant


  • March 18: Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller's death
  • April 3: 2001: A Space Odyssey released
  • April 4: Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination
  • June 6: Robert F. Kennedy assassination
  • August 24 - September 6: Liberation Theology: Medellin Conference
  • August 28: Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago
  • October 16: Summer Olympics in Mexico City: Tommie Smith and John Carlos
  • December 24: The first image of Earth from space: Earthrise


  • May 4: "Control of Their Bodies" workshop at female liberation conference at Emmanuel College in Boston ("Our Bodies, Ourselves" published in 1971)
  • June 28: Stonewall Riots begin in Greenwich Village
  • July 20: First humans land on the Moon
  • August 15-18: Woodstock Music & Art Fair


  • April 22: First Earth Day celebrations
  • May 4: Kent State shootings
  • December 2: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established
  • Jean Piaget's book, The Science of Education, is published
  • Paulo Freire's book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, is published in English (original in 1968)


  • October 1: Opening of Walt Disney World
  • October 11: John Lennon's "Imagine" released


  • June 17: Watergate Scandal begins
  • June 23: Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments becomes law
  • December 7: Launch of Apollo 17, the last Apollo Mission