Speaking: Functions Test Data

Speaking in Academic Contexts

Rhetorical Functions in Academic Speaking


Narrating & reporting

Using the information given here, give a short presentation on the history of the space age.

Year Event


First launch of a liquid fuel rocket: Robert Goddard (United States)


First satellite orbits Earth: Sputnik 1 (U.S.S.R.); first animal in space: Sputnik 2 (U.S.S.R.)


First U.S. satellite launched and first scientific discovery in space (Van Allen radiation belt): Explorer 1; first satellite to use solar power: Vanguard (United States)


First craft to leave gravity of Earth: Luna 1 probe to the Moon (U.S.S.R.); first craft to impact another world: Luna 2 probe to the Moon (U.S.S.R.); first craft to photograph the Moon’s far side: Luna 3 (U.S.S.R.); first television images from space: Explorer 6 (United States)


First U.S. weather satellite: Tiros 1


First human in space and to orbit Earth: Yuri A. Gagarin (U.S.S.R.), in the Vostok 1; first U.S. astronaut into space (suborbital) Alan B. Shepard Jr. in Mercury- Redstone 3; first interplanetary probe: Venera 1 to Venus (U.S.S.R.)


First U.S. astronaut to orbit Earth: John Herschel Glenn Jr. in Mercury-Atlas 6; first successful scientific planetary mission, the fly-by of Venus: Mariner 2 (United States); first observatory in space: Orbiting Solar Observatory 1 (United States)


First woman in space: Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova in Vostok 6 (U.S.S.R.)


First successful fly-by of Mars: Mariner 4 (United States); first multiperson space mission: Voskhod I (U.S.S.R.)


First spacewalk: Alexei Leonov in Voskhod 2 (U.S.S.R.); first U.S. spacewalk: Edward H. White II in Gemini 4


First craft to enter the atmosphere of another planet (Venus): Venera 2 (U.S.S.R.); first unmanned spacecraft to soft land on the Moon: Luna 9 (U.S.S.R.); first unmanned spacecraft to orbit another world (Moon): Luna 10 (U.S.S.R.); first U.S. unmanned soft landing on the Moon: Surveyor 1


First humans to orbit another world (Moon), Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders in Apollo 8 (United States)


First humans on another world (Moon), July 20, Neil Alden Armstrong and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. in Apollo 11 and first samples of the Moon returned to Earth (United States) (Mike Collins orbited the Moon in the Command Module)


First unmanned spacecraft to return samples of another world to Earth (Moon): Luna 16 (U.S.S.R.); first roving vehicle on the Moon: Luna 17 (U.S.S.R.)


First manned space station: Salyut (U.S.S.R.); first human-operated roving vehicle on another world (Moon): Apollo 15 (United States); first soft-landing on another planet (Mars): Mars 3 (U.S.S.R.)


First fly-by of Jupiter: Pioneer 10 (United States); first U.S. space station: Skylab 1


First fly-by of Mercury: Mariner 10 (United States); first duel-planet mission (Venus and Mercury): Mariner 10 (United States)


First photos from the surface of Venus: Venera 9 (U.S.S.R.); first international space flight: Apollo-Soyuz (United States and U.S.S.R.)


First unmanned Mars landing: Viking 1 (United States); first craft to search for life on another planet: Viking 1 (United States)


First fly-by of Saturn: Pioneer 11 (United States)


First satellite to be retrieved, repaired, and redeployed in space: Solar Maximum Mission (United States); launch (1980), repair mission (1984), ceased functioning (1989)


Flight of the first space shuttle: John Watts Young and Robert L. Crippen, of the United States (and first reusable spacecraft with human crew) aboard the Columbia (the Enterprise, the prototype space shuttle, was never flown in space)


First U.S. woman astronaut: Sally Kirsten Ride; first orbital radar mapping of another world: Venera 15 (U.S.S.R.)


First U.S. untethered spacewalk: Bruce McCandless


First spacecraft pictures of comet nucleus (Halley), by Giotto (Europe), though numerous other probes, such as the Vega 1 (U.S.S.R.) and Suisei (Japan), also took pictures; the Vega 1 was the first to reach the comet


First fly-by of Uranus: Voyager 2 (United States); first permanently inhabited space station: Mir (U.S.S.R.)


First fly-by of Neptune: Voyager 2 (United States)


First fly-by of an asteroid (Gaspra): Galileo (United States)

1994 – 1995

Longest duration spaceflight: 438 days, Valery Polyakov on the Mir space station (Russia)


First U.S. astronaut to board the Russian Mir space station: Norman Thagard; First woman U.S. space shuttle pilot: Eileen M. Collins

(From: The New York Public Library – Science Desk Reference, Macmillan, 1995, pp. 347-348.)


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