The Space Race

A Major Competition during the Cold War

Background

Seen as one of the major contests during the Cold War Era, the Space Race was based on technological advancement in the field of space exploration with the usage of satellites and manned spacecraft. The Space Race was part of a larger rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, one that revolved around weaponry and military technology. Aeronautics and space exploration was seen as crucial in both nations at the time, as it was seen as necessary for national security reasons and as a symbol of superiority.

Major Events related to the Cold War during the Space Race

August 2, 1955 - Competition begins when the USSR responds to the US announcement of intent to launch an artificial satellite.

November 1, 1955 - The Vietnam War begins.

October 4, 1957 - Sputnik 1 is launched by the Soviets, becoming Earth's first ever

artificial satellite.

January 31, 1958 - The launching of the American satellite, Explorer 1, occurs.

October 1, 1958 - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is formed.

November 8, 1960 - John F. Kennedy is elected the 35th President of the United States.

April 12, 1961 - Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin orbits the Earth once, becoming the first man in space.

April 17, 1961 - The Bay of Pigs Invasion occurs.

May 5, 1961 - Alan B. Shepherd becomes the first American in space.

May 25, 1961 - President John F. Kennedy addresses Congress and challenges the nation to go to the moon before the end of the decade.

February 20, 1962 - John Glenn orbits the Earth three times.

November 22, 1963 - Kennady is assassinated in Dallas, TX.

July 20, 1969 - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first men to ever walk on the lunar surface.

A Different Perspective

The Space Race was not only significant as a competition between the US and Soviets; it helped mankind as a whole accomplish tasks that were seen as impossible centuries ago. During this contest, pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, unmanned probes to several objects in the Solar System, and manned spaceflight in low Earth orbit and, most notably, to the moon.