The Cold War and The Space Race
Beginning in the late 1950s, the United States and the Soviet Union competed for influence not only among the nations of the world, but in the skies as well. Once the superpowers had ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) to deliver nuclear warheads and aircraft for spying missions, they both began to develop technology that could be used to explore—and ultimately control—space. However, after nearly two decades of costly competition, the two superpowers began to cooperate in space exploration
In a major technological triumph, the United States put human beings on the moon on July 20, 1969. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin is shown on the lunar surface with the lunar lander spacecraft.
The joint Apollo and Soyuz mission ushered in an era of U.S.- Soviet cooperation in space.
The Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first successful artificial space satellite, on October 4, 1957. As it circled the earth every 96 minutes, Premier Nikita Khrushchev boasted that his country would soon be “turning out long-range missiles like sausages.” The United States accelerated its space program. After early failures, a U.S. satellite was launched in 1958
1. Which destinations in space did both the United States and the Soviet Union explore?
2. Making Inferences What role might space continue to play in achieving world peace?