The Space Race (1957 to 1975)

The space race was between the US and the Soviet Union.

Causes of the space race

One of the main causes of the Space Race was the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the U.S.. Both of these countries were fighting to be the top world leader, so getting to the moon/outer space first would be critical to be the top world leader. The Space Race actually started In 1957 when the Soviet Union sent the Sputnik (first artificial satellite) and the first man into space. This made the US worried that they and their students were falling behind in technology, so they were worried about being behind the time. During the 8-year period, the Soviet Union was "winning" for most of the time (first multi-crew in space, first artificial satellite, first woman in space, etc.), so the US had a "come from behind" win.

Space Race 1961-1970



In May of 1961 President Kennedy made a bold statement, saying that by the end of the decade we wanted the US to successful get a man on the moon and get them back safely. Kennedy allowed NASA's budget to go up by 500 percent in order to beat out the Soviet Union. In 1967 NASA had a little bit of a setback because three astronauts were killed after their spacecraft caught fire during a launch simulation, but the process continued on as planned. On July 16,1969, U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins set off on the first lunar landing attempt. After landing successfully on July 20, Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. He famously said in that moment “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Even though he was not alive to see the moment, Kennedy's dream came true, and we "beat" the Soviet Union in the Space Race.

FUN FACT

The ball point pen was invented during the space race ( intended to eliminate problems caused by zero-gravity conditions)