The Space Race

Topics: Sputnik 1, Moon, Yuri Gagarin Pages: 4 (1379 words) Published: December 11, 2005
The years after World War II was a time of great scientific and technological advancements. With these advancements came great tension and rivalry between the United States and the former Union of Soviet Socialists Republic (USSR). The biggest rivalry between the two superpowers was the advancement in space technology. In 1952, the International Geophysical Year (IGY) was established in which scientists stated that in the time between July 1, 1957 and December 31, 1958, solar activity would be at a high point. The IGY made it so that both the US and the USSR became determined to be the first to reach space, and so the space race was born. During the space race, the USSR made many launches that were very advanced and superior to the US. The Soviet Union was technologically superior to the United States during the Space Race in terms of the Sputnik, Luna, and Vostok programs.

The USSR's first space program was the Sputnik, which had as many as twenty- five launches. Out of the twenty-five, there are two milestone launches in which the the Soviet Union showed their obvious superiority to the US. The first milestone launch in the Sputnik program was Sputnik 1, which was the world's first artificial satellite to reach space. The launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4th, 1957 was the first big step in the space race and demonstrated the USSR's advanced technical abilities. " Sputnik 1 was about the size of a basketball, weighed 183 pounds and orbited the earth in only 98 minutes"(Siddiqi). Two months after the launch of Sputnik 1, the United States tried to match the Soviet Union by launching their own satellite, but their attempt failed. "Oh What a Flopnik,"(Garber). This was reported in the London Daily Herald after the US's first attempt to launch a satellite. This shows that the US tried to match the USSR's launch but could not. With the launch of Sputnik 1, and the failures of the US's first launch, the USSR proved to be technologically superior to the US at the...
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