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After the Apollo program, the US launched the Skylab sortie space station in 1973, manning it for 171 days with three crews aboard Apollo spacecraft.
President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev negotiated an easing of relations known as détente, an easing of Cold War tensions.
The first human spaceflight was launched by the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961 as a part of the Vostok program, with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin aboard.
Humans have been continuously present in space for 17 years and 10 days on the International Space Station.
These rockets were large enough to be adapted to carry the first artificial satellites into low Earth orbit.
Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement.Meanwhile, the USSR secretly pursued human lunar orbiting and landing programs.They successfully developed the three-person Soyuz spacecraft for use in the lunar programs, but failed to develop the N1 rocket necessary for a human landing, and discontinued the lunar programs in 1974.All early human spaceflight was crewed, where at least some of the passengers acted to carry out tasks of piloting or operating the spacecraft.After 2015, several human-capable spacecraft are being explicitly designed with the ability to operate autonomously.
Meanwhile, the USSR remained silent about their intentions to send humans to the Moon, and proceeded to stretch the limits of their single-pilot Vostok capsule into a two- or three-person Voskhod capsule to compete with Gemini.