The Space race by Jack Steward

The Space Race Begins

  • The race to space began in the late 1950s and 60s during the Cold War.
  • The space race was a big part of the Cold War, and it started with the U.S.S.R. launching a probe into orbit around Earth on October 4, 1957.
  • This probe, Sputnik, was basically a metal ball. A Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile carried it into orbit, making it the first man made object in space as well as the first one in orbit.
  • Americans did not like this; they had no idea whether or not Sputnik was spying or weaponised, and they did not have a way to defend against it. Furthermore, since that missile could go to space, it could also carry a warhead to almost any place on the planet.
  • However, shortly afterwards in 1958, America launched its own probe, Explorer 1, into space. Also that year, President Dwight Eisenhower created NASA.

Sputnik 1

Explorer 1

Getting Humans to Space

  • Yuri Gagarin from the Soviet Union was the first man in space.
  • He went up in the Vostok 1 spacecraft on April 12, 1961.
  • He orbited Earth once; he was in space for 108 minutes.
  • He parachuted out of his capsule, which would technically make the space flight illegitimate, but the U.S.S.R. kept it secret and told everyone otherwise.
  • Just three weeks after Gagarin's flight, the United States made Alan Shepard the first American and the second person in space.
  • He went up in a Mercury capsule called Freedom 7 on May 5, 1961.
  • He did not orbit, but he did actually go into space, and his landing was legitimate, unlike Gagarin.

Vostok 1

Freedom 7

Getting Something to the Moon without Crashing (i.e. probes)

  • The Soviets were the first to execute a controlled landing on the Moon.
  • The Luna 9 probe accomplished that feat; the Luna space probes, in fact, studied the Moon from 1959 to 1976, and the Luna 9 was one of the many probes in that series.
  • Luna 9 was launched on February 9, 1966 and successfully landed on the Moon's surface without crashing. It took the first ever pictures of the Moon's surface.
  • On the other hand, the U.S.A. launched its first successful no-crash landing Moon probe on May 30, 1966.
  • The probe was called Surveyor 1; it reached the Moon 63 hours after launch, and it collected and recorded a large amount of data for the upcoming Apollo missions.

Luna 9

Surveyor 1

Getting Humans to the Moon

  • For this huge innovation in the development of the Space Race, America finally won, making the dash to get a crew onto the Moon's surface before the U.S.S.R.
  • The mission was Apollo 11, one of the series of missions leading up to and more after making a crewed landing on the Moon. The crew of the mission was Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.
  • Apollo 11 was launched on July 16, 1969, and successfully landed the first crew on the Moon and brought the crew home.
  • The Soviets, however, never got a crew to the Moon.
  • The Soyuz program and the N-1 rocket design were started to make a Moon landing, but the main designer/engineer leader of the Soviet space program died, passing off the projects to the second in command.
  • The first Soyuz mission (Soyuz 1) exploded, killing Vladimir Komarov in 1967
  • Also, the other tests of the N-1 rocket, unmanned, also failed and exploded.

Soyuz 1

Apollo 11

Some Important Rockets through the Space Race

  • A Soviet R-7 ICBM carried Sputnik 1 into orbit.
  • A modified Jupiter-C booster called Juno 1 carried Explorer 1 into orbit.
  • Another slightly changed/improved Soviet R-7 ICBM carried Vostok 1 with Yuri Gagarin into orbit.
  • An American Redstone rocket carried the Mercury capsule with Alan Shepard into space.
  • An American Atlas missile carried John Glenn into orbit.
  • The largest and most powerful rocket ever built and used is the Saturn V. It carried some of the Apollo missions, including Apollo 11, to the Moon.
Rocket Size (Side-by-Side Comparison)

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