space race pdf - 1 Historical Background The closing of...

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1 Historical Background The closing of WWII and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the newly developed atomic bomb, ushered in the space race. After single bombs destroyed the entire cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world realized that warfare had taken a dramatic turn. The importance of rocketry grew immensely in the field of warfare. Although scientists had planned to use rockets in some sort of space exploration program, funding for rocketry was allocated solely 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 in the missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations that occurred following World War II, enabled by captured German rocket technology and personnel. The technological superiority required for such supremacy was seen as necessary for national security, and symbolic of ideological 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 orbit and to the Moon. The competition began on August 2, 1955, when the Soviet Union responded to the US announcement four days earlier of intent to launch artificial satellites for the International Geophysical Year, by declaring they would also launch a satellite "in the near future". 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 Space Race 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 and concentrated on Earth orbital space stations. A period of détente followed with the April 1972 agreement on a co-operative Apollo–Soyuz Test Project, resulting in the July 1975 rendezvous in Earth 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 research could easily be transferred to military research. Both countries started work on developing reconnaissance satellites well before the height of the Space Race. The Vostok spacecraft used by the USSR to put Yuri Gagarin into space, for example, was developed from the Zenit spy satellites used by the Soviet military. The military benefits of the Space Race were not the only driving force behind the American and Soviet attempts to explore space. The populations of both countries took a great interest in their respective space programs and it was a useful way for both superpowers to demonstrate their superiority. Nikita Khruschev, the Premier of the Soviet Union, used the country's early success in the Space Race to claim that the "economy, science, culture and the creative genius of people in all areas of life develop better and faster under communism." The American President John F.

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