The first man in space was Yuri Gargarin who was born in 1934 the son of a carpenter, he went into orbit in 1961 beating the Americans and establishing the Soviet Union as a leader in the space race. The Americans made it to the Moon, but the Russians were the first to make it into Earth orbit and also the first to put the Sputnik satellite into orbit transmitting it`s beeping signal into radio sets all over the world. That frightened the Americans who were afraid of Russian satellites that could launch Nuclear Missiles at American cities, although these never eventuated, the McCarthyesque fear of communism that was prevalent in the 1050`s and 1960`s. If it had not been for the Russians moving ahead as fast as they did to conquer space, NASA would not have been able to go to the Moon and then build Skylab and the International Space Station. I am not sure what is happening with the NASA return to the Moon, but I am sure that they will head back someday; if India or China do not get there first and plant their flags, I wish they would take more color photos of the surface in very high definition. The Clementine mission photographed the Moon in high quality and with color, the photos reveal a great deal of information about the surface of the Moon than ever before. We need another manned Moon mission, but that may not be happening nowadays with the current economic situation. America may be dying, but India and China are powering ahead and are set to take over the world very soon. NASA have talked about a manned mission to Mars, but that may not happen for a very long time indeed, I have read the Red mars book and the two sequels and they described a future like ours with environmentalists on Mars fighting to keep Mars the way it was and conflicting with colonists who were coming to Mars and traveling down the space elevator to the Martian surface.
Those are very good books if you are wanting to read a good SciFi book series about a plausible future that ends with humanity traveling to the stars and looking for a new home. The Star Trek warp drive is another concept that has been used in many movies, but as I have said before, the warp drive does not have any real basis in current technology and it would require more energy to work than exits in the whole universe. The excellent book The Physics of Star Trek explains this very well indeed and is a must read for any Trek fan like me. Here is another good page that talks about the physics of Star Trek in great depth, discussing relativity and other factors that will affect anyone wanting to travel into deep space. And if there is time dilation, then their loved ones would be long dead by the time they got back to Earth as if you traveled to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in an electromagnetic ramscoop space ship that was accelerating at 1g then you would get there in 50 years ship time, but 50,000 years would have gone by on Earth. That is something to think about is it not? if you never stopped accelerating, then you would reach the center of the galaxy in no time. The hard SciFi novel Tau Zero [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tau_Zero] deals with the consequences of a ship that could not slow down and passes through billions of years in seconds and sees the death and re-birth of the universe, truly a mind-blowing book by any means.The novel footfall [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Footfall] was also a great book and also a must-read for any SciFi fan. I read that when I was a child and it had a great effect on me.