Following the Soviet Union’s launch of the first orbital satellite, Sputnik 1, in October of 1957, and their subsequent placing of the first man in space a month prior to Kennedy’s appeal to Congress, this proposal was calculated with the intention of decisively demonstrating America’s superiority in space. Johnson, in his capacity as chairman of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, to identify a goal that would overshadow the Soviet space program. Kennedy declared in 1961 that the United States would go to the Moon, he was committing the nation to do something we simply couldn't do.” Traveling to the Moon requires planning, not to mention special tools and equipment.
The Soviets sent the first woman into space, Valentina Tereshkova, in 1963 (a feat that would take the U. But these countries' successes were mere sideshows in what came to be the main event of the space race: NASA's .
Following the achievements of the crewed Mercury and Gemini programs, NASA engineers embarked on a series of missions to place human footprints on the moon. 27, 1967, when all three astronauts in the capsule were killed during a launch rehearsal test that sparked a huge fire. was widely considered the winner of the space race. 11, 1968, NASA launched its first Apollo astronauts into space aboard a Saturn I rocket for the 11-day Apollo 7 mission.
It was an outgrowth of the mid-20th-century Cold War, a tense global conflict that pitted the ideologies of capitalism and communism against one another, according to an online exhibit from the on Oct. That same year, NASA was founded and publicly announced , including the first mission to leave Earth orbit, Luna 1; the first probe to reach the moon, Luna 2; and the first spacecraft to head toward Venus, Venera, which stopped responding a week after its launch. Kennedy stood before legislators in Congress and announced that he had committed NASA to landing people on the moon before the end of the decade.
On April 12, 1961, the Soviets obtained another spectacular victory with the successful flight of , into space by less than a month. A major turning point in the space race occurred that same month, when U. A few months later, at Rice University in Texas, Kennedy delivered his famous "" where he said, "We choose to go to the moon …
Though there were additional American and Soviet missions, after the successes of the Apollo program, the space race was widely believed to have been won by the U. Eventually, as the Cold War wound down, both sides agreed to cooperate in space and construct the Some observers, including U. Vice President Mike Pence, have declared that America is now in a new space race with up-and-coming global superpowers like China and India, as well as old rivals like Russia.
But most space policy experts who have spoken to don't think that Pence's arguments hold much water."The Russians don't have a stated public interest in going to the moon with human spaceflight," Wendy Whitman Cobb, a political scientist at Cameron University in Oklahoma, .in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."Over the next few years, each side in the space race took several other firsts.The Americans achieved the first interplanetary flyby when Mariner 2 sped past Venus in 1962, followed by the first Mars flyby in 1965 with Mariner 4. Other nations launched their own rockets and satellites, including Canada in 1962, France in 1965, and Japan and China in 1970.In 1969, NASA launched Apollo 9, which conducted critical tests of its lunar module in Earth orbit; and Apollo 10, which all but landed on the moon, bringing its crew within a few miles of the lunar surface.Then, on July 20, 1969, the space race reached its peak when .And it isn't just that we didn't have what we would need; we didn't even know what we would need.We didn't have a list; no one in the world had a list.But this meant new technologies needed to be developed, including cameras small enough to fit in an Apollo command and lunar modules, the bandwidth to carry video signals, video imaging tubes that would work in low light levels, and a signal transmission system that could carry video from the Moon to Mission Control.“Not everyone thought it was a good idea,” she wrote.Jurek’s told her, "If [the Moon landing] had been run like it was under the military, we would not have had that sense of drama, that sense of involvement, that sense of wonder." In other words, it was the story – and how it was told – that helped convince taxpayers to pour millions of dollars into this project.David Meerman Scott, Jurek’s co-author of Marketing the Moon explained in The New York Times’ Retro Report, “I believe the marketing aspect of Apollo was as important as the spacecraft…Communicating both the scientific significance and the glamour was absolutely essential for us to have been able to do that program.” This meant that the astronauts and their wives were presented to the public like Hollywood movie stars, he explained, and “beating the Russians was touted as a national imperative.” Plus, it didn’t hurt that news anchor Walter Cronkite, then considered “the most trusted man in America,” according to Scott, was a regular cheerleader for the space mission.