Russia (or the Soviet Union) has worked intensively on space exploration.
The most known dates:
-In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the world’s first satellite, Sputnik 1.
-Also in 1957, a dog Laika became one of the first animals in space (unfortunately died after a few hours from stress and overheating).
-And the most famous, in 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth.
-In 1966, Luna 9 was the first spacecraft that landed on the Moon (without people).
-In 1971 – the first space station (Salyut, and later Mir).