Space Race

Events

The Beginning

1955

The Space Race officially began when the United States and the Soviet Union announced they would be sending satellites into orbit. The race was about the technology between the two countries.

First Satellite

October 4, 1957

The Russians sent the first successful satellite into orbit. It was named Sputnik I. The Russians had taken the lead in the Space Race but the Americans launched their first satellite four months later called the Explorer I.

Race to the Moon

1961

President Kennedy declared that he wanted to be the first man on the moon. And so the Apollo Moon was launched.

First Man in Orbit

April 12, 1961

The Soviets won the next round by sending the first man into space. In April, a man named Yuri Gargain was the first man to orbit Earth in the spacecraft named Vostok I. Three weeks later, US launched the Freedom 7 and Alan Shepherd became the first American in space. However, this craft was not able to orbit Earth. It was a year later, in February 20, 1962, that the first American John Glenn was able to orbit Earth the Friendship 7 spacecraft.

The Gemini Program

1962

The US launched the Gemini program so that they could develop better spacecrafts. They learned how to do significant things such as how to change the orbit of a spacecraft, how the human body could be affected because of space, and walks outside of spacecrafts.

The End of the Race

July 1969

With the Gemini and Apollo programs, the US had taken a huge lead in the Space Race. The relations between the US and Soviet Union began to thin so they made a project together. The first US-SOVIET joint mission happened with the Apollo-Soyez project. This marked the end of the Space Race.

Man on the Moon

July 16, 1969

After many years of training and testing, the Apollo 11 was launched into space. The crew included now-famous astronauts such as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrins, and Michael Collins. The trip to the moon took 3 days. Upon arriving, the astronauts moved the lunar module called the Eagle. There were some malfunctions so Armstrong had to land the module manually. On July 20, the Eagle landed on the moon. Armstrong stepped out and became the first man to walk on the moon.