Space Race

United States of America VS Soviet Union


The Space Race between The Soviet Union and The United States of America began in 1957 when USSR launched the very first satellite into space, Sputnik 1. Over the course of 11 years, The USSR and the US launched about 20 satellites combined. The Space Race ended (never really ended) in 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin were the first humans to walk on the Moon.
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In May 1945, World War II ended with the Allied powers defeating the Axis powers. The Soviet Union and The United States of America contributed greatly to the defeat of the Axis Powers. However, through the next several years, the two great nations were at a distance and The Cold War began. With Communism in the Soviet Union, the US saw this as a future attack to the US and their national Security. In August 1945 at the Potsdam Conference, the Allied powers and the Soviet Union barely confirmed on the division of Berlin, Germany. East Germany would be controlled and governed by The Soviet Union, and West Germany would be "free". As years passed, the Allied powers and the Soviet Union had disagreements on Berlin, and with the United States of America and The Soviet Union fighting in the cold war (not really "fighting") tension built. Each side wanted to show that they were superior in every way and one thing that both sides saw as an opportunity to show their dominance was the exploration of Space. Space was a place where these two nations could show their superiority over the other by the accomplishing of new feats in rocketry and in space.
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The space age began when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into orbit. Sputnik 1, a basketball-sized metallic sphere was launched on October 4, 1957. The world watched in awe as something amazing happened before their eyes. The Soviets struck first, but the States soon got into the game. The US also launched satellites into orbit shortly after they did. There were achievements such as orbiting the moon, the sun, touching the moon, and putting a man into space. The very first man in space was Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin, but what the Space Race eventually turned into was a race to see which country could first land a man on the moon. John F. Kennedy promised that the United States would land on the moon before the end of the decade. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to ever step foot on the Moon and the United States “won” the Space Race.

Timeline of Space Race

Oct. 4 1957 - USSR launches first satellite into space, Sputnik 1.

Nov. 3 1957- USSR launches second satellite into space Sputnik 2.

Jan 31. 1958 - Explorer 1, the first American satellite, is launched.

March 17. 1958 - Vanguard 1, America’s second satellite to reach orbit is launched.

May 17. 1958 - Sputnik 3 is launched.

Jan. 2 1959 - Luna 1 is launched by the USSR, is the first manmade object to orbit the Sun.

Sep. 12 1959 - Luna 2 is launched, and is the first satellite to touch the moon.

Apr. 1 1960 - Tiros 1 is launched, becoming the first successful weather satellite.

Nov. 8 - John F. Kennedy is elected President of The United States of America.

Apr 12. 1961 - Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth and becomes the first man in space.

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

Jun. 16 1963 - Valentia Tereshkova becomes the first women in space.

Nov. 22 - 1963 - John F. Kennedy is assassinated.

Mar. 18 1965 - Alexei Leonov performs the first space walk.

Apr. 3 1966 - Luna 10 becomes the first satellite to orbit the Moon.

Jan. 27 1967 - Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee are killed when a fire ignites in their Apollo 1 capsule while performing a test.

Mar. 27 1968 - Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, dies in a plane crash.

Jan. 16 1969 - Soyuz 4 & 5 perform the first Soviet spacecraft docking.

Jul. 20 1969 - Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon.
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The achievements and discoveries that came from the space race resulted in an everlasting human presence in space. Today we continue to do research about space, and also we extensively use space to launch satellites that allow things such as television and cell phone networks to operate. Right now there are around 600 operational satellites in space, and then there are about 8,000 dead satellites or debris that are orbiting earth. Since the first satellite launched in 1957, Man has continuously used space up until this day.


Even though the Space Race was based off of a competition between the United States and Soviet Union, the overall result was great human achievement. The things that were gained from this time really helped humans to grow, and now we continue to use and extend the knowledge we gained from the Space Race. What the Space Race did for was show that humans are capable of accomplishing amazing things when are set on doing it.

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