Space Race Essay

By the mid-1950s, the U.S.-Soviet Cold War had worked its way into the fabric of everyday life in both countries, fueled by the arms race and the growing threat of nuclear weapons, wide-ranging espionage and counter-espionage between the two countries, war in Korea and a clash of words and ideas carried out in the media. These tensions would continue throughout the space race, exacerbated by such events as the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and the outbreak of war in Southeast Asia.

Did You Know?

After Apollo 11 landed on the moon's surface in July 1969, six more Apollo missions followed by the end of 1972. Arguably the most famous was Apollo 13, whose crew managed to survive an explosion of the oxygen tank in their spacecraft's service module on the way to the moon.

Space exploration served as another dramatic arena for Cold War competition. On October 4, 1957, a Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile launched Sputnik (Russian for “traveler”), the world’s first artificial satellite and the first man-made object to be placed into the Earth’s orbit. Sputnik’s launch came as a surprise, and not a pleasant one, to most Americans. In the United States, space was seen as the next frontier, a logical extension of the grand American tradition of exploration, and it was crucial not to lose too much ground to the Soviets. In addition, this demonstration of the overwhelming power of the R-7 missile–seemingly capable of delivering a nuclear warhead into U.S. air space–made gathering intelligence about Soviet military activities particularly urgent.

The Space Race to the Moon Essay

1126 Words5 Pages

The two biggest superpowers of the world were waging a war: a war of supremacy. Indeed, the U.S needed to beat its rival, the Soviet Union, to win the Cold War. Both nations wanted to be the first on the moon, therefore, the United States strived to win the Space Race and consequently have victory over the Cold War. Given these facts, the Space Race not only helped the Americans have advantage in the Cold War, but has also affected America to this day. It was a difficult moment in the late 1950s in America. The Cold Ward was heating up on a political level. Suddenly, that all ended when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. This was the world’s first artificial satellite to orbit around Earth (Holland 112). As…show more content…

The two biggest superpowers of the world were waging a war: a war of supremacy. Indeed, the U.S needed to beat its rival, the Soviet Union, to win the Cold War. Both nations wanted to be the first on the moon, therefore, the United States strived to win the Space Race and consequently have victory over the Cold War. Given these facts, the Space Race not only helped the Americans have advantage in the Cold War, but has also affected America to this day. It was a difficult moment in the late 1950s in America. The Cold Ward was heating up on a political level. Suddenly, that all ended when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. This was the world’s first artificial satellite to orbit around Earth (Holland 112). As Todd Gitlin puts it, “When the Russians launched the first intercontinental ballistic missile and Sputnik in 1957, they blasted the national pride and stoked a national panic in America” (112). Politics controlled the race at first, but President Kennedy later shifted it towards a peaceful space exploration (Holland 114). Before learning about the space explorations and all those courageous astronauts, it is crucial to know the genius masterminds of the explorations. Sergei Korolev was the chief Soviet designer and former political prisoner. His budget was small, yet he accomplished so much (Cadbury 129). Of course, his rival is Wernher von Braun, America’s much loved leader of the rocket team. After WWII, von Braun came to America.

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