Big news, this July 15th 40 years ago. The launch of a U.S. spacecraft and a Soviet spacecraft with the sole intention of linking up in orbit. Apollo-Soyuz as it was known, was the first time a joint space mission took place between two superpowers and marked a historic era of detente, signaling the end of the adversarial space-race, which had been going on since 1957.
The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, or ASTP as it was known, was the last time an Apollo spacecraft was used and it also marked the last manned U.S. mission until the era of the Space Shuttle in 1981.
On July 15th, the launch of both spacecraft took place seven hours apart, with Souyz launched first, followed by Apollo. It also marked the first time a Soviet space launch was broadcast worldwide. Two days later, on July 17th, the historic linkup would take place.
But on this day 40 years ago, it was exciting just to get this project off the ground. So, if all you know of the Apollo-Soyuz flight was the handshake in space – here is the initial launch, which got all that started on July 15th 1975.