Neil Armstrong Walk On The Moon Analysis

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The 1960’s dealt with many instances of tragedy, but also brought about great technological and social advancements. The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Civil Rights Movement, Cold War and the Vietnam War were all pivotal moments that contributed to define a tumultuous decade preceding Neil Armstrong’s walk on the Moon in 1969. The success of sending two men to walk across the land of another celestial body was more than a large scale science experiment for the United States- it was an affirmation of American ingenuity, it boosted national morale in an uneasy time, and ended the decade on an uplifted note. This work seeks to examine Neil Armstrong’s walk on the Moon, most specifically, …show more content…
Understanding the history of Neil Armstrong’s Moon walk is not complete without reference to the Cold War and the Soviet space achievements which ran parallel to those of the United States. The Cold War was the catalyst that would turn the highly speculative and romanticized vision of space travel into an unquestionable reality. Competition between the United States and the Soviet Union was fierce. The two world superpowers were engaged in a race to see who would be able to successfully send their men to walk across the surface of the Moon first. The USSR’s launch of the Sputnik sattellite, and Laika the dog in 1957 marked the beginnings of the Space Race. The U.S. quickly countered in 1958 by sending satellites of it’s own, the Explorer and Vanguard and organizing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In effect, the Soviet Union would set the bar for which the United States would aim to surpass. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin of the USSR became the first man to orbit the earth. This was also the year of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, when he commits the United States to the goal of landing the first man on the moon before the completion of the decade. When John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, it became unclear whether this task would be possible for the country to reach.
Nevertheless, the significance of the Space Race was more than just what it seemed to be on the surface level. America was
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Taking into account the historical context and societal norms of the late 1960’s, it is understandable why all of the astronauts were homogeneous in race, class and gender. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 which ended segregation on the basis of race, gender, and religion, was passed only five years prior to the landing of the lunar mission. This did not allow enough time for African American men and women to have access to the level of training that would facilitate their involvement in the 1969 Moon walk. Also, the enormous price tag of the mission generated storms of controversy. NASA eliminated chances of further controversy by keeping a simply white male crew. The timing was not right for NASA to look to women and men of color because controversy needed to be kept to a minimum in order to keep public support. It would not be until the 1983 Challenger mission when Sally Ride would become the first American woman in space and Guion Bluford the first African American male

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