The Space Race

Race to the Moon

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The Space Race was a 20th century struggle for power between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Both of the global powers were competing to be the first country to the send a satellite to space, orbit the earth, and also to send a person to the moon. The Space Race generated efforts to build rockets, satellites, and space probes. Both countries also created space organizations. NASA for the USA and the RKA for the Soviet Union. However, as tensions grew between the two nations, citizens began to fear the possibility of a nuclear war.

The Space Race Begins

Friday, July 29th 1955 at 9pm


A member of President Eisenhower's cabinet holds a press conference saying that the US will start building "small earth circling satellites."
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Timeline of Major Events

October 4, 1957-Sputnik 1 from the Soviet Union is the first artificial satellite ever

August 7, 1959-First photo of Earth from orbit (USA)

April 12, 1961-First human in space (Soviets)

March 1, 1966-First impact on another planet (Soviets)

July 20, 1969-First humans of the Moon (USA)

November 14, 1971-First spacecraft to orbit another planet (USA)

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Why Important?

When the US landed on the moon in 1969, they essentially won the Space Race. This also ended most of the tensions between the US and the Soviets, and American and Soviet citizens could go back to not living in fear all the time. In the decades that followed, the US enjoyed a time of peace and prosperity. Furthermore, the US and the Soviets "shook hands" afterwards and are now strong allies to this day.
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How this event paralleled the Cold War

The Space Race really had its origins in the nuclear-arms struggle between the two nations. The nuclear-arms battle really generated the Cold War. The US and Russia became and stayed "enemies" for a long time, and were the two most powerful countries in the Cold War. They were also the most powerful countries in the Space Race as well. However, today, Russia and the US maintain strong foreign relations today.