Space Race: Russia I – U.S.A. 0

I know we have not really gotten into this in the lecture yet but today is the 50th anniversary of the first man that orbited the earth.  Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagari in 1961 took the fascinating  flight that only lasted 108 minutes .  The reason this pertains to the class is that this occurs during the height of the Cold War.  Russia, as did many other nations, saw this event as a huge win over the United States.  Not until a year later an American, John Glenn, successfully took the same journey.  During the Space Race, the Soviet Union’s achievement sent out a display of domination over the United States.


Sputnik and the Space Race

On October 4, 1957, the USSR launched Sputnik, the first earth satellite into the orbit.  The launch of Sputnik marked the beginning of space race between the U.S and USSR. Many Americans feared that the USSR would be capable of launching ballistic missiles. In response to the launch, the U.S passed the National Defense Education which offered federal funding for higher education. The U.S also started funding for its satellite project to regain their military and technological superiority over USSR, as well as regaining the publics’ confidence. The launch of the Sputnik led to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), it also led to several technological advances such as computer science, global communication and satellite navigation.