When Russia’s plans for a satellite launch were announced the world didn’t believe that they had the technology to do it – until they succeeded and launched an automated satellite called Sputnik (Russian for traveling companion) later referred to as Sputnik I. Weighing 184 pounds, it was to be the first manmade object to be put into Earth’s orbit. It was launched on April 12, 1957 on a modified Soviet R7 missile making the R7 “seemingly capable of delivering a nuclear warhead into U.S. airspace” (history.com). America was now certain that they had to catch up with the Soviets. And so began a twelve year race, the end of which remained far out of sight.
After Sputnik I, Russia did a great many other things in the Space Race beginning with Sputnik II. A larger satellite than Sputnik had been as this one carried a unique payload – A living, breathing dog named Laika. The success of this mission proved that living things can survive the forces of microgravity which at the time were very poorl...
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...unar surface Neil Armstrong climbed down the ladder and with humanity's first step on the moon he said famously "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" (Neil Armstrong 1969). Whilst America was doing well the Soviets had quite a few problems, including the death of their lead rocket scientist, and several failed launches. This is what allowed America to pull ahead and finish far ahead.
After the success of Apollo 11, Americans and Russians knew the Space Race was over. In the 1970’s there were 6 more Apollo missions one of which (Apollo 13) failed. The final mission of the Space Race was the Apollo – Soyus Mission in which an Apollo craft with three American astronauts met in orbit with a Soyus craft and three Soviet Cosmonauts, they docked and the commanders friendly greeting showed the improved relationship between the two countries.
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