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The Cold War, a time of political opposition, was the key cause that generated the race to space. For years the US and the USSR competed to be number one in rocketry and spaceflight. Although they battled mainly for land, space became a precarious area to dominate. It was serious to get ahead, and in October of 1957, Russia launched Sputnik 1 into space. To America, it was a time of fear. The Space Race had started and Russia was in the lead. Immediately, America began to launch missiles and fire rockets, not only to catch up, but to stay in the lead. When Russia launched its sensational satellite, the Cold War was basically at its peak. The US and the USSR were undoubtedly the most powerful countries after World War II. Their influence and superiority to be the best world leader dominated many countries. However, there was one vast slice of territory unclaimed, space.
With Russia in the lead, America needed a victory. In the first phase of the Space Race, they focused on rocket system development. Ironically, the enemy of the United States in WW II (the Germans) was their key source in rocket development. During WWII, the pioneers of science were actually Germans. Wernher von Braun, a member of the Nazi Party, was the cause of many deaths-a credit to Hitler. He designed numerous explosive-tipped rockets, known as the V-2. These incredible rockets could travel at the speed of sound and hit their targets three minutes after they were launched. While von Braun’s invention was the cause of many civilian deaths, the US and USSR required his help immediately. But only one country got the benefit-the Americans. They pursued von Braun and his assistants, and when found, were shipped to the US in a job called Operation Paperclip. Accord...

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...e Moon Landing through Soviet Eyes: A Q&A with Sergei Khrushchev, son of former premier Nikita Khrushchev.” Scientific American Web Site. Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. July 2009. Web. 12 March 2014.
Lambert, Tim. “A Brief History of Space Exploration.” Local Histories Web Site. History Department Marquette University. 2013. Web. 17 March 2014.
Schwab, Allison. “To Infinity and Beyond: The Space Race” Web Site. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). October 2013. Web. 11 March 2014.
Tikhonravov, Mikhail Klavdievich. “The Space Race.” Russian Space Web, Web Site. October 2012. Web. 9 March 2014. <>

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