Space Race

The Cold War

First! Some Background!

The Soviet Union and America were reluctant Allies during World War II. They went back to hating each other once the war was over. Americans disagreed with Communism and dictatorship, and tried desperately to keep it contained in Europe. During the 1950s, the tension between the two countries boiled over and resulted in the start of the Cold War.

The Space Race Begins

Why did the Soviet Union and America fight for space domination?

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched a satellite called Sputnik. The United states fears that if the Soviet Union can launch a satellite, they will be able to launch a missile at the U.S. This motivates America to start NASA, a government funded space program. Below is a timeline of the major events in the space race:

October 4, 1957: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik.

November 3, 1957: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2, a vessel that carries a small dog named Laika into orbit.

January 31, 1958: America launches it's first satellite to reach orbit, Explorer 1.

October 4 1959: The Soviet Union-launched Luna 3 is able to get pictures of 70% of the moon's surface.

May 5, 1961: Alan B. Shepard becomes the first American in space.

July 20, 1969: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first people to walk on the moon.