This ongoing rivalry became known as the ‘Space Race’. The Space Race was a period of US-Soviet technical rivalry, spanning more than 25 years. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. piloted the lunar module to the moon's surface, while Michael Collins orbited the moon in the command module, Columbia. Shepard's flight took place on May 5, 1961. 1972 This set a pattern for the Soviet space program: missions were not announced until they could be hailed as successes. While it often fuelled Cold War rivalry and paranoia, the Space Race also yielded considerable benefits for human society. On This Day in Space: Oct. 27, 1961: NASA launches 1st Saturn rocket test flight, SpaceX now targeting Nov. 14 for next astronaut launch. Some observers, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, have declared that America is now in a new space race with up-and-coming global superpowers like China and India, as well as old rivals like Russia. The Trench: The People at Mission Control. Space became a critical theater in this Cold War, as each side competed to best the other's achievements in what became known as the Space Race. Despite America’s acquisition of German rocket scientists, the Soviets nevertheless made rapid advances in this field. First spacecraft to orbit another planet: First human-made object sent on escape trajectory away from the Sun, First mission to enter the asteroid belt and leave inner Solar System, First commercially operated domestic satellite in, This page was last edited on 13 October 2020, at 17:18. Related Features. July 26-August 7: Apollo 15 lands on the moon with a four-wheel drive lunar rover. Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong took the photo. Date accessed: October 19, 2020 While it often fuelled Cold War rivalry and paranoia, the Space Race also yielded considerable benefits for human society. May 30: The unmanned American Surveyor 1 craft lands on the moon and transmits photographs and other data back to Earth. The U.S. government had already been planning to launch its own artificial satellite, and members of the public were shocked when they saw that the Soviet Union, which had been devastated during World War II, was able to achieve this milestone first, NASA wrote on the 60th anniversary of the launch. The Soviets also worked on even bolder projects, like building an orbiting space station (a feat they accomplished in 1971) and researching the possibility of manned flights to Mars and Venus. NASA's successful Apollo program meant the U.S. was widely considered the winner of the space race. The newly elected US president John F. Kennedy sought not incremental gains in the Space Race but a surging leap ahead of the Soviets, and ordered a significant escalation in the American space program. November 3: Sputnik 2 carries Laika, a female dog, into space. The main aim of the Space Race was to achieve technological superiority. By the mid-70s, the Soviet Union was entering an economic downturn that would signal its eventual collapse, and this forced it to cut way back on funding its space program. October 5: The Soviet daily newspaper Pravda mentions Sputnik in a short piece at the bottom of page one. March 18: Voskhod 2 carries Pavel Belyayev and Alexei Leonov into orbit. January: Luna 1 launches from the Soviet Union towards the moon but misses its target. Hailed as a hero, he will later leave the space program to enter politics. The world is much more complex today than it was during the Cold War, when two major superpowers vied for dominance. Receive news and offers from our other brands? May 5: Alan Shepard commands Freedom 7 on the first Mercury mission, becoming the first American in space. While the three astronauts of Apollo 8 rocketed to the moon, hundreds of workers made sure they arrived at their destination and returned safely. April 9: The newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration introduces the first seven astronauts to the world. Sputnik created a sensation, the New York Times suggesting it would “go down in history…as one of the greatest achievements of man”. That same year, NASA was founded and publicly announced the creation of a program to send human passengers into space. You will receive a verification email shortly. An alternative starting date is the launch of the first intercontinental ballistic missile, R-7 Semyorka, just six weeks before the launch of Sputnik. However, Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 only came within five kilometers of one another, and operated in different orbital planes. July 15-24: The last Apollo mission carries Donald K. "Deke" Slayton into space with Tom Stafford and Vance Brand (Slayton, one of the original Mercury astronauts, had not previously flown in space due to a heart fibrillation). Shortly after this feat, Gemini 8 experiences a stuck thruster, causing the craft to tumble wildly, and the rest of the mission is aborted. October 11-12: After extensive redesign work, Apollo 7, commanded by Wally Schirra (the only astronaut to command Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions) enters earth orbit in the first test of the spacecraft. In late 1944, more than 1,400 of these rockets – by then dubbed the V-2 – were launched at civilian targets in England. Frank Borman commands the mission, Jim Lovell acts as navigator and William Anders is photographer and geological observer. In 1961, US President John Kennedy said that the United States should put a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. The following year, Kennedy floated the possibility of a joint US-Soviet Moon mission, an idea tentatively accepted by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Information about them will be suppressed. February 20: John Glenn orbits the Earth three times, becoming the first American in orbit. You think we should just "wait" for the time when earth is no longer inhabitable or overpopulated to start thinking of a way to get to space. The first phase of the Space Race focused on the development of rocket systems. In September 1959, the Soviets also landed a probe, Luna II, on the surface of the Moon. 1959 January 31: Explorer 1, the first American satellite, enters orbit around Earth. B. Yegorov all fly on Voskhod 1, the first mission to send multiple men into space. Some, like Wernher von Braun, were former Nazis. The Cold War was a time when conspiracy theories reigned supreme. The unmanned probe will achieve lunar orbit -- the first object to do so -- and send information about the moon back to earth. September 14: The Soviet Union sends Zond 5 around the moon and back to Earth in an unmanned test of their circumlunar spacecraft. Please ensure your details are valid and try again. Throughout the 1960s, the two countries were involved in the “Cold War,” a conflict where they didn’t go into battle but fought each other indirectly through spying, backing opposite sides in other countries’ wars, and inventing better technologies. 1963 4. It is from Neil Armstrong we get the quote, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" as he stepped on the moon for the first time. When exactly it ended is hard to pin down, but the first joint US-USSR mission in July 1975 is often cited. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? You have successfully signed up for our newsletter. A US intelligence report on how space programs were perceived around the world (1959). 3. Date published: September 21, 2020 Cold War rivalry extended beyond politics and weaponry and into other fields of competition. His successors will not wield the same political influence as he did, contributing to emerging problems in the Soviet program. Many historians consider the Space Race to be an extension of the Cold War. April 11-17: En route to the moon, oxygen tanks explode on Apollo 13's command-service module. The program got off to a horrific start on Jan. 27, 1967, when all three astronauts in the Apollo 1 capsule were killed during a launch rehearsal test that sparked a huge fire. My 7 year old son has a project to do and this website really helped, especially because I have no time to help since my 2 week old baby was born. 1964 May 28: NASA launches two monkeys from Cape Canaveral and successfully recovers them in the Atlantic Ocean. Travelling at the speed of sound, the V-2s hit their targets just three minutes after launch; their speed made them impossible to intercept with planes or anti-aircraft fire. © Still, for much of the first half of the space race, the Soviet Union was considered to be ahead. July: President Dwight Eisenhower signs the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 into law, establishing NASA. December 15-16: Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford fly Gemini 6 within a few feet of Borman and Lovell in Gemini 7, for the first true rendezvous in space.
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