The space race was a race between the US and the USSR for supremacy in space flight.
The Soviets won the first round when they launched Sputnik 1 in 1957. However, later in 1969, the United States landed the first humans on the Moon before the race concluded when both rivals collaborated on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
The space race started in 1957 and lasted until 1975. One of the major reasons the space race happened was because of "Sputnik" (a Soviet Union satellite) when the US found out it had been launched some feared that the Soviet Union would have space dominance and fears what they could do with that power. So the space race was created.
Both sides reacted differently in fact we were the only real reaction. Because the Soviet Union had launched Sputnik we had already lost the first race. But we landed Neil Armstrong and buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969.
A long term effect of the space race , or at least a really big one would be military applications. Since no one had been in space before and on the moon it seamed like the stuff out of comics was coming true. Many thought we could build a super weapon and keep it up in space. Which sounds crazy but we did launch multiple space craft and satellites in the following years.
Positives and negatives
Military applications also double as a positive. This opens the door to multiple possibilities, as well as giving more power to the US. However, one negative that many feared was pollution of rocket fuel, and disposal of rocket parts in space. Another downer is it cost a lot to launch just one rocket. It cost over 1.5 billion for one launch (in 2010).
The Impact on relations
The space race was just another example of a power scramble between to nations. The cold war was already in full swing, and the competition for the hearts and minds of people in countries world wide became an important measure of who had the upper hand in this war.