After the end of World War II, the planet as a whole was dominated by two superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union. Both nations maintained a permanent rivalry until the definitive disappearance of the USSR in 1991. Space Race
Politically, the Americans tried to expand their capitalist model and the Soviets did the same with the communist ideal. The confrontation between these two nations was not simply political, but was accompanied by a struggle in all kinds of spheres: in sports , espionage, weaponry, culture and propaganda.
The late 1950s ushered in a new battle, the space race. For two decades, the United States and the Soviet Union started a competition to demonstrate their hegemony in conquering space.
In 1957, the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 1 entered space and was the first artificial satellite that began to rotate around the Earth. In the same year, a second spacecraft took the first animal into space, the dog Laika. In 1961, the Americans reacted and launched a chimpanzee named Ham to make a new trip through space (although the Soviets were the first, Laika died as a result of their trip, while Ham survived). Space Race
In 1958, the Americans emerged victorious in their space career, as they managed to place the first communications satellite into orbit.
In 1959, the Soviets conducted the first satellite to the surface of the Moon. In 1961, astronaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man to reach Earth orbit, and in 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first cosmonaut in history.
In 1968, the Americans’ Apollo 8 mission was the first to surpass the speed needed for a spacecraft to escape the effect of Earth’s gravity. Thanks to this, the astronauts who manned the spacecraft were able to be the first to observe the hidden side of the Moon. Space Race
In 1969, the Americans won an important battle.
On the Apollo 11 mission three astronauts who are still remembered were traveling: Neil Armstrong, Ewing Aldrin and Michael Collins. Armstrong was the first human being to set foot on the moon. The words he spoke at that time became a symbol for Americans: “It’s a small step for a man, but a big leap for humanity.”
Who won the competition?
It is not easy to say in depth which country became the winner of this fierce competition. In popular culture, it is believed that the Americans won the battle, as the arrival on the Moon had a worldwide media impact . Space Race
However, some analysts consider that the Soviets achieved the triumph, as they were the pioneers in three different aspects: the first satellite that flew over space, the first orbital station and the first man in space.