United States vs Soviets
First Human in space
Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space but shortly after that the United Sates sent Alan Shepherd into space just one month after. So, similar to Sputnik, the Soviets were slightly ahead of the United States but in competition the United Staes were not far behind.
Parallels to the Cold War
The space race was in many ways similar to the Cold War. It as the United States and Russia competing to be the top/best at certain things. In the Cold war part of it was us and them developing and testing bombs and other weapons to be the premier of weapon technology and to be the greatest world power. In the Space race it was a competition to be the premier in space travel and exploration.