The Space Race: Post-Cold War Rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union

Pages: 4 (1398 words) Published: February 27, 2014
The Space Race is best described as a post-Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. After the Cold War the Soviet Union nearly collapsed due to their heightened effort to keep up with the United States’ atomic weapons program, which took a large sum of money from the country. On August 2, 1955, four days after the United States announced its plans to launch artificial satellites for their first international scientific project, the International Geophysical Year, the Soviet Union announced that they would launch a satellite “in the near future.” This announcement from the Soviet Union marked the beginning of one of the most competitive rivalries the United States and the Soviet Union ever witnessed.
During World War II Nazi Germany started researching and building operational ballistic missiles for use in war. German aerospace engineers had a goal that one day they would create a rocket that would be able to reach extremely high altitudes and travel long distances. To achieve this goal they began combining their designs for missiles and their designs for rockets to experiment with liquid fueled rockets. However, when World War II came to a close Germany’s economy was run into the ground. American and Soviet scientific intelligence teams scrambled to absorb Germany’s talented rocket engineers, rockets, and rocket designs into their countries. Both countries took in very valuable members and information, but the United States benefited the most with Werner Von Braun, a young German engineering prodigy, and the majority of his engineering team. This young and talented engineering team later helped to develop the American Space Exploration programs.

Soon after the end of the Second World War, in 1947, the Cold War began. The Cold War was simply a continuation of the political conflicts, military tension, and economic competition between the Soviet Union and the United States after World War II. The Cold War is labeled “cold” because...
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