Description
The Race to Space was a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union. Each country tried to make new accomplishments regarding space exploration. They wanted to send man into space, land man on the moon and explore outer space. The US and the Soviet Union wanted to show their scientific accomplishments and military strength. The U.S. announced that they were intending to launch satellites by the spring of 1958. The Soviets then announced they would launch a satellite by fall of 1957. On October 4, 1957 the Soviets launched Sputnik 1 into space. This was the first artificial satellite to orbit Earth. Sputnik 1 make the Soviet Union the first space power and began the Race to Space. Next, the Soviets launched Sputnik 2 a month later with a dog on it. Four months after Sputnik 1 the US launched Explorer 1 becoming the second space power. Sputnik helped determine new scientific knowledge about the atmosphere. The United States launched fruit flies on V-2 rockets in 1946 which were the first reported animals sent to space. In 1960, the Soviet Union launched space dogs Belka and Strelka into space and they returned safely. The US next launched chi
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Neil Armstrong planting the American flag
mpanzees in space and the Soviet Union sent tortoises, mealworms and flies on Zond 5 in 1968. These were the first animals to fly around the moon. A Soviet cosmonaut was the first human to enter space on April 12, 1961. The first American man orbited earth on February 20, 1962. On March 18, 1965 a Soviet completed the first spacewalk. There was big political determination from the US to not tag behind the Soviets in space exploration. President Kennedy announced that the US should commit themselves to landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade. The Americans launched Luna 1 in 1959 which became the first probe to each the vicinity of the Moon and Luna 2 became the first lunar to reach the surface of the Moon. America developed three programs called, The Ranger program, the Lunar Orbiter program and the robotic Surveyor program. They next wanted to locate an Apollo landing site on the Moon. The Soviet Union’s projects slowed down and they showed greater hesitation about sending humans to the Moon. In December 1968 the US became closer to the goal when James Lovell, Bill Anders and Frank Borman orbited the moon. The Soviets started planning their missions to the moon but there was delay when Korolev die. He was the main Soviet rocket engineer. Many failures occurred which led to delay and eventually cancellation of the missions. Neil Armstrong, an American man was the first person to set foot on the moon on July 21, 1969. He was the commander of the Apollo 11 mission. This event was watched by over 500 million people around the world.
The end of the Race to Space is debatable. Some claim that the winner was the Soviets because they were the first to send man into space but others say that the United States was first because they landed man on the moon. When the Cold War came to an end and other countries made different space programs the race became less important.




Significant Individuals
There were many significant individuals involved in the Race to Space. The race involved the United States and the Soviet
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Yuri Gagarin (Soviet)
Union. Both countries worked endlessly to send man into space and land people on the moon.

Yuri Gagarin (Soviet)
: a Soviet cosmonaut, was the first human in space when he entered orbit on April 12, 1961. He was selected with 19 cosmonauts for the Soviet space program and underwent experiments to test his physical and psychological endurance. Out of the 20 selected, Yuri and Gherman Titov were selected for the first launch. He received metals from around the world for his tour in space and he became a worldwide celebrity touring around Great Britain, Canada and Japan to promote this achievement for the Soviets.

John Glenn (American): was the first American to successfully orbit Earth on February 20, 1962. He was assigned to NASA, as one of the first groups of Mercury astronauts for the Mercury Project. He remained officer at this time of the Marine Corps. He circled the globe three times and was celebrated as a national hero. His fame and political attributes were shown by the Kennedys as he became very close with the Kennedy family

Valentina Tereshkova
(Soviet): She was the first women in space on June 16, 1963. She was chosen as the pilot of Vostok 6 out of more than 400 applicants and 5 finalists. Her mission lasted almost three day sin space and she recorded collective data on the female body’s reaction to flight in space. She still remains a great hero in Russia

Alexey Leono
(Soviet): a Soviet carried out the first spacewalk on March 18, 1965.He was one of 20 air force pilots that were selected to become part of the 1st cosmonaut group. His spacewalk on the Vostok 11 was cancelled but later carried out on Voskhod 2 instead. He remained outside of the spacecraft for 12 minutes and 9 seconds. He had to undergo 18 months of intense weightlessness training for his mission.

James Lovell, Bill Anders and Frank BormanIn
(American): In December 1968 they became the first people to orbit the moon.

Neil Arm
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Neil Armstrong (American)
strong
(American): On July 21, 1969, he became the first person to set foot on the lunar surface. Served as the naval aviator from 1949 until 1952. Joined NACA in 1955, and was first assigned with NACA Lewis Research Centre. Over the next 17 years, he was a test pilot, astronaut and engineer. He has flown over 200 different aircrafts including jets, rockets, helicopters and gliders. He was assigned command pilot of Gemini 8 and docked two vehicles in space. He was spacecraft commander for Apollo 11 and became the first man to walk on the moon







The Soviet Union showed hesitation about human visits to the moon. They did not want to back out of the race but they were not planning a specific project.




Living Through
Living during the Race to Space would have been an interesting time period. There was suspense to see who would win, the Soviets or the Americans. There were many new space discoveries and other space machinery created during the Race to Space. It would have been an exciting time for astronauts and the many people working on the space missions. It also would have been a great breakthrough when an American was the first person to land on the moon. America and Russia felt pressure to win the Race to Space. There would have been concern for the Americans that Russia would win and also fear of what could develop between the two countries because it was such an intense competition.


Timeline
October 4, 1957- The first artificial satellite launched by the Russians called Sputnik
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Valentina Tereshkova (Soviet)
. The announcement of Sputnik 1's success ignited the Sputnik Crisis in the United States.
November 3, 1957- The first animal (dog) in orbit by the Russians, the mission was called Sputnik 2
January 31, 1958- The first American satellite launched called Explorer 1, it detected the Van Allen belts
August 7, 1959- Photo of Earth from space, taken by the Americans
October 7, 1959- Photo of the Far side of the moon, taken by the Russians
April 12, 1961- First human (man) in space, Soviet Yuri Gagarin
June 16, 1963- First women in orbit, Soviet Valentina Tereshkova
March 1, 1966- probe lands on another planet (Venus), launched by the Soviets
July 20, 1969- First man on the Moon, American Neil Armstrong
November 14, 1971- Satellite orbits another planet (Mars), launched by Americans
July 15, 1975- First American-Soviet joint Misson, names Apollo-Soyuz Test Project





How did it influence the Cold War?
The Race to Space was one of the main contributing factors to the Cold War. With no equivalent to the American
large air-refuelable strategic bomber force and advance bases in countries close to Soviet airspace, the Soviets started planing long range missiles to counter the American bomb attacks. For rockets like these, the technology that was needed could also used to launch rockets into space. This race started because of the Cold War, and helped fuel it. The constant competition kept the war going as long as it did.