Space Race

The Space Race was a 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the United States and the Soviet Union, to achieve superior spaceflight capability. It had its origins in the ballistic missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations following World War II. The technological advantage demonstrated by spaceflight achievement was seen as necessary for national security, and became part of the symbolism and ideology of the time. The Space Race brought pioneering launches of artificial satellites, robotic space probes to the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and human spaceflight in low Earth orbit and ultimately to the Moon. Public interest in space travel originated in the 1951 publication of a Soviet youth magazine and was promptly picked up by US magazines. The competition began on July 30, 1955 when the United States announced its intent to launch artificial satellites for the International Geophysical Year.

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65 years ago today, America launched its first satellite into space. It radically reshaped the American approach to space exploration and officially marked our entry into the space race.

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