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Free Essays On The Space Race

By the mid-1950s, the U.S.-Soviet Cold War had worked its way into the fabric of everyday life in both countries, fueled by the arms race and the growing threat of nuclear weapons, wide-ranging espionage and counter-espionage between the two countries, war in Korea and a clash of words and ideas carried out in the media. These tensions would continue throughout the space race, exacerbated by such events as the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and the outbreak of war in Southeast Asia.

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After Apollo 11 landed on the moon's surface in July 1969, six more Apollo missions followed by the end of 1972. Arguably the most famous was Apollo 13, whose crew managed to survive an explosion of the oxygen tank in their spacecraft's service module on the way to the moon.

Space exploration served as another dramatic arena for Cold War competition. On October 4, 1957, a Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile launched Sputnik (Russian for “traveler”), the world’s first artificial satellite and the first man-made object to be placed into the Earth’s orbit. Sputnik’s launch came as a surprise, and not a pleasant one, to most Americans. In the United States, space was seen as the next frontier, a logical extension of the grand American tradition of exploration, and it was crucial not to lose too much ground to the Soviets. In addition, this demonstration of the overwhelming power of the R-7 missile–seemingly capable of delivering a nuclear warhead into U.S. air space–made gathering intelligence about Soviet military activities particularly urgent.

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... d to the USSR. Now, the cold war had established a permanent space race. The U. S. Army's attempt to launch America's first satellite into orbit failed in a launch pad explosion.

Two months after the Soviet Union's successful launch of Sputnik, this failure further emphasized America's lag behind the Soviet Union in the space race. Having already lost the race to launch the world's first artificial satellite to the Soviet Union, the United States accelerated its plan to develop an unmanned Moon probe, hoping to be first to the Moon. But the attempt in August 1958 failed with the explosion of the first Moon probe Pioneer 0. In the same year, all the launches of the other Pioneer probes, 1, 2 and 3, were unsuccessful for such reasons as inadequate power and a final stage failing to ignite. None could make a successful launch. On January 31, 1958, the tide changed when the United States successfully launched Explorer I.

Named Explorer after principal investigator James Van Allen, this satellite carried a small scientific payload that eventually discovered the magnetic radiation belts around the Earth. The Explorer program continued as a successful ongoing series of lightweight, scientifically useful spacecraft this was finally an image of the U. S. catching up in the race. Apart from these first successful programs, the U. S.

still did not forget about the Soviets, as they were still becoming more advances with technology. Fearing a surprise nuclear attack from the Soviet Union, President Eisenhower authorized a top-secret spy satellite called "Corona. " To disguise its purpose, it was given the name "Discoverer" and was said to be a scientific research satellite. After several attempts, Discoverer 14 successfully carried a camera into orbit and returned with pictures taken more than 100 miles above Soviet territory. On April 12, 1961, the Soviet Union announced that Major Yuri A. Gagarin had successfully orbited the Earth in "Vostok" spacecraft. He was the first man to make a successful orbital flight through space.

This was yet more proof of the superiority of the Soviet space program, and led to John Kennedy's decision to send a man to the Moon. Another significant space flight happened on February 20, 1962. John Glenn was sent into orbit onboard the Friendship 7. It was the first orbital flight for the United States. It had taken the United States 2 years to set up the 16 tracking stations required to bring an American into orbit for 265 minutes. The world could now see that the United States could keep up with Soviet space technology, the United States were even about to take a lead in space exploration.

The Soviet Union did not achieve such splendid results with its probes to Mars. The U. S. on the other hand, after the failure of a Mars probe launched in 1964, launched seven successful missions to photograph Mars and make other observations.

Among these were the Viking probes 1 and 2, launched in 1975, with missions lasting about a year and including a soft landing on the Martian surface to look for the possibility of life. No living organisms were found but the successful survey was a very significant achievement. The Apollo program reached its final goal when on May 20, 1969 after being propelled by Kennedy's speech of May 1961. The first lunar landing mission of Apollo 11 turned out to be a great success and this time the United States were the first to achieve a significant success over the Soviets, perhaps the most significant success of space technology up to that point. The Americans were the first to place a man on the moon, and the Soviet Union had lost its lead in space exploration.

However criticism did exist. Robert Jastrow and Homer E. Newell's article, "Why Land on the Moon?" (August 1963), considered the public criticism of the Apollo project, and countered with an argument in support of lunar research and other endeavors. Space exploration also has a general consequence for the physical sciences as a whole, and for science education. A successful space program would offer an invaluable contribution not only to scientific knowledge, but also to the United States's elf-determination as a country. The United States reached the limit in space technology; technology didn't allow for much further advancement at that time.

This was one of the reasons why the Cold War softly died down in the years after Apollo 11. Seven years later, the United States and the Soviet Union even started working cooperatively. From July 15 to 24, 1975, the Apollo-Soyuz project, a joint-venture program of the United States and the Soviet Union, took place. It was the first internationally manned spaceflight and was designed to test the compatibility of docking systems for the American and Soviet spacecraft, to open the way for international space rescue as well as future joint manned flights. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration developed the Space Shuttle to make space travel more cost efficient. NASA coordinates and manages the Space Transport System (NASA's name for the overall Shuttle program), including intergovernmental agency requirements and international and joint projects.

NASA also oversees the launch and space flight requirements for civilian and commercial use. The Russian's also had their share of new technologies. Russia's Mir Space Station has been in orbit for over 10 years. The first element of the station was launched on February 20, 1986. The current Mir Space Station is actually a complex of different modules that have been pieced together. The Mir module, the first module of the complex placed in orbit, is the main module of the station.

Congress has been asked to provide $ 5. 7 billion for the programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the current fiscal year, roughly 6 cents of every federal tax dollar. This level of expenditure has produced demands for a re-evaluation of the space program. Critics ask whether the exploration of the solar system is a valid enterprise for the United States to undertake at this time; or, granting the ultimate importance of the step, whether it must be carried out at the present pace. "I speak truth, not my belly-full, but as much as I dare; and I dare the more the more I grow into years. " Reagan intentionally outspent the Soviet Union on defense in order to drive the Soviet economy to the wall and hoping to create an internal revolution in which the Soviet Union would destroy itself. At this point, The USSR split and their economy dropped just as Reagan had expected, and in the process ending the cold war, ending the arms race. The Cold War was a time of mistrust between the US and the USSR and was the main reason behind space exploration. Without the Cold War crisis, there would have been less motivation and inspiration for the USSR and the USA to continue the space race and support it financially.

The cold Space Race marked the beginning of an era of exploration beyond the earth, which set a precedent for the future of technology. Bibliography: "Apollo Project." Microsoft Encarta ' 96. CD-ROM. Funk & Wagnalls. 1996. Berkeley, Rip.

The Sputniks Crisis and Early United States Space Policy: A Critique of the Historiography of Space. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991. Cernan, Eugene The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in Space. Published 1999 Collins, Martin Space Race: The U. S. -U. S.

S. R. Competition to Reach the Moon. 1999 Dewaard, John E. and Nancy.

History of NASA New York: Exeter Books Corp, 1984. Divine, Robert A. The Sputnik Challenge. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. Eisenhower, Dwight D. State of the Union Address 1957 [gopher: // web (p) McDougall, Walter A. "Sputnik, the Space Race, and the Cold War. " The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 41 (May 1985): 20 - 25 Kennedy, John F.

President Kennedy announces the Apollo decision [ web 11 /key documents. htm] (p) LaFeber, Walter America, Russia and the Cold War 1945 - 1984 New York: Newberry Award Records, Inc. , 1985. Williams, Gurney. "Sputnik: The Little Sphere that Changed the World. " Popular Mechanics. 164 (October 1987)


Free research essays on topics related to: states and the soviet union, space exploration, cold war, space race, united states and the soviet

Research essay sample on Cold War Space Race

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