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1Historical BackgroundThe closing of WWII and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the newly developedatomic bomb, ushered in the space race. After single bombs destroyed the entire cities ofHiroshima and Nagasaki, the world realized that warfare had taken a dramatic turn. Theimportance of rocketry grew immensely in the field of warfare. Although scientists had plannedto use rockets in some sort of space exploration program, funding for rocketry was allocatedsolely to the development of rockets to be used in war immediately following World War II(Levine, 17).The Space Race was a 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union(USSR) and the United States (US), for supremacy in spaceflight capability. It had its origins inthe missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations that occurred following World WarII, enabled by captured German rocket technology and personnel. The technological superiorityrequired for such supremacy was seen as necessary for national security, and symbolic ofideological superiority. The Space Race spawned pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites,unmanned space probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and human spaceflight in low Earth orbitand to the Moon. The competition began on August 2, 1955, when the Soviet Union respondedto the US announcement four days earlier of intent to launch artificial satellites for theInternational Geophysical Year, by declaring they would also launch a satellite "in the nearfuture". The Soviet Union beat the US to this, with the October 4, 1957 orbiting of Sputnik 1,and later beat the US to the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, on April 12, 1961. The SpaceRace peaked with the July 20, 1969 US landing of the first humans on the Moon with Apollo 11.The USSR tried but failed manned lunar missions, and eventually cancelled them andconcentrated on Earth orbital space stations. A period of détente followed with the April 1972agreement on a co-operative Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, resulting in the July 1975 rendezvous inEarth orbit of a US astronaut crew with a Soviet cosmonaut crew.The space race can be seen as a part of the larger arms race, as developments in space researchcould easily be transferred to military research. Both countries started work on developingreconnaissance satellites well before the height of the Space Race. The Vostok spacecraft usedby the USSR to put Yuri Gagarin into space, for example, was developed from the Zenit spysatellites used by the Soviet military.The military benefits of the Space Race were not the only driving force behind the American andSoviet attempts to explore space. The populations of both countries took a great interest in theirrespective space programs and it was a useful way for both superpowers to demonstrate theirsuperiority. Nikita Khruschev, the Premier of the Soviet Union, used the country's early successin the Space Race to claim that the "economy, science, culture and the creative genius of peoplein all areas of life develop better and faster under communism." The American President John F.