The Race Into Space!

US and Soviet Union battle it out in the race to the moon

The Beginning of the Space Race

Following the nuclear arms race after World War II, the Cold War continues with the Race to Space! Kennedy and Krushchev go head to head in a battle of which side has the better technology, resulting in a Soviet Union win. In April of 1961, a Soviet astronaut named Yuri Gagarin became the first person to travel into space. Gagarin orbited Earth once and then came back. After this event, the US was determined to beat the Soviet Union and go even farther than Gagarin and the Soviet Union had. US Congress gave NASA billions of dollars to help develop new technology.

The US catches up

In May of 1961, just one month after the Soviet Union, Alan Shepard became the first US astronaut in space, and the next year, John Glenn was the first US astronaut to orbit Earth. But, NASA and the US wanted to go even farther. NASA created Project Apollo, the goal of this project being to land an astronaut on the moon. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed on the moon for the first time in world history. Armstrong said, "That's one small step for a man, one large leap for mankind." Armstrong and Aldrin put the US flag on the moon, marking the US as the first country to ever land on the moon.