The Space Race

The astronomical competition between the USA and Russia

Astronauts vs Cosmonauts

Tensions between the USA and USSR arose after WWII ended and both countries entered the Cold War. The competition that came to be would ultimately lead to the Space Race.

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Open Skies

In the July of 1955, US president Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed the idea that the US and USSR would both be allowed to do reconnaissance flyovers. The Russians had depleted resources but aimed to keep that a secret so they rejected the proposition. The US was determined to gain intelligence in another way so they announced the beginning of a space satellite.

"Space Race Time Line." PBS. PBS, Dec. 2007. Web. 01 June 2016.

The Soviets take the lead with...

On April 12, 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space which only furthered Soviet success. But President Kennedy was confident that the Americans would put a man on the moon within the decade.

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Cuban Missile Crisis

The strained relationship between the US and USSR became even more tense in 1962 when an American reconnaissance aircraft photographed Soviet nuclear missile locations in Cuba, which is fairly close to the US. The Americans had also built nuclear missile sites at the Turkish-Soviet border and if one country was to attack, the other could easily do the same. The crisis lasted only two weeks but made both sides realize how close they were to an all-out nuclear war and both secretly searched for other ways to gather intelligence.

"Space Race Time Line." PBS. PBS, Dec. 2007. Web. 01 June 2016.

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Apollo 11

President Kennedy was right: the Americans were able to get a man on the moon before the end of the decade. Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin was the first man to walk the lunar surface and this put the Americans far in the lead.

"Space Race Time Line." PBS. PBS, Dec. 2007. Web. 01 June 2016.

Loff, Sarah, and Brian Dunbar. "Apollo 11 Mission Overview." NASA. NASA, 17 Sept. 2015. Web. 01 June 2016.

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There was a temporary time during the Cold War where the Americans and Soviets worked together on a space venture. In July of 1975, the opposing sides shared some peaceful moments like sharing meals and visiting each other's spacecrafts. The ground control teams on both sides cooperated and communicated. This marked the beginning of collaborative space operations such as the International Space Station, a research facility to be accessible by astronauts and cosmonauts.