Parallels between the Space Race & The Cold War

Timeline of the Space Race


unbold = USSR

  • 1957 - USSR launches Sputnik 1
  • 1958 - US forms NASA
  • 1960 - The US launches Discoverer XIV, its first camera equipped spy satellite.
  • 1961 - USSR citizen Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space.
  • 1961 - Alan B. Shepard becomes the first American in space.
  • 1966 - Luna 9 becomes the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon.
  • 1969 - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon while Michael Collins orbits around the Moon.


The Sputnik satellite launched by USSR, was a major motivator for the US in regards to the Cold War in many ways. The thought that USSR could possible launch missiles or nuclear weapons onto the US frighted all Americans enough to retaliate. Many feared for their lives, and or saw the launch as proof that communism would take over the US. Overall, Sputnik spiked fear across America and resulted in nuclear bomb drills, underground shelters, and much more in order to prepare for a possible attack.


By the time NASA was formed, Cold War tensions between Soviet Union and the United States were high. By starting this new space organization, the US was in a way just influencing more competition between the countries, and wanted to prove that America was better. This was the real start of the space race and was a major influencer of conflict and disputes between the country.

1st Moon Walk

In many ways, the 1st moon walk by Americans Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin was one of the final acts in the space race. The US had succeeded with their goal, and proved themselves by beating USSR in the race to the moon. It was a proud time for all Americans, and a time when the US was again able to feel confident in its power over USSR.