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A Journey To The Moon

The Space Race


The Space Race was a 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), for supremacy in space flight capability. The technological superiority required for such supremacy was seen as necessary for national security, and symbolic of ideological superiority.

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The Space Race spawned pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, unmanned probes of the Moon, Venus and Mars, and manned missions in low Earth orbit and to the Moon.

It had its origins in the missile-based arms race that occurred just after the end of the World War II, when both the Soviet Union and the United States captured advanced German rocket technology and personnel.


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Because of the program’s classified status, and for propaganda value, announcements of the outcomes of missions were delayed until success was certain, and failures were sometimes kept secret.

Unlike its American competitor in the space race, which had NASA as a single coordinating agency, the USSR’s program was split among several competing design groups led by Korolyov, Mikhail Yangel, Valentin Glushko, and Vladimir Chelomei.

The rocket and space program of the USSR, initially boosted by the assistance of captured scientists from the advanced German rocket program, was performed mainly by Soviet engineers and scientists after 1955. It was based on some unique Soviet and Imperial Russian theoretical developments, many derived by Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovskii, sometimes known as the father of theoretical astronautics.

The Soviet Space Program __

WWW Korolyov was acknowledged as the lead man behind Soviet success in space. He was officially titled as ‘chief designer’ until his death in 1966

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The Space Race


Sputnik itself provided scientists with valuable information. The density of the upper atmosphere could be deduced from its drag on the orbit, and the propagation of its radio signals gave information about the ionosphere.

Sputnik 1 burned up on 4 January 1958, as it fell from orbit upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere, after traveling about 70 million km and spending 3 months in orbit.

On Oct. 4, 1957, Sputnik 1 successfully launched and entered Earth’s orbit sparking the beginning of the space race. The successful launch shocked the world, giving the former Soviet Union the distinction of putting the first human-made object into space.

Sputnik 1 __

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The word ‘Sputnik’ originally meant ‘fellow traveler,’ but has become synonymous with ‘satellite’ in modern Russian.

Sputnik transmitted information via radio signals to Soviet scientists for three weeks.

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It carried on to be more of a success than its rival, carrying out six manned spaceflights between 1961 and 1963. The longest flight lasting nearly five days, and the last four were launched in pairs, one day apart. This exceeded Project Mercury’s demonstrated capability of just over 34 hours longest flight, and single missions.

The Programme competed with the United States Project Mercury and proved to be a much more successful than Project Mercury by placing the first human into space, orbiting the Earth once before safely returning.

The Vostok Programme was a Soviet human spaceflight project carried out between 1960 and 1964 with the aims to put the first Soviet citizens into low Earth orbit and return them safely.

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On June 16, 1963, aboard Vostok 6, Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman to travel into space. After 48 orbits and 71 hours, she returned to earth, having spent more time in space than all U.S. astronauts combined to that date.

On 12 April 1961,Yuri Gagarin became both the first human to travel into space, and the first to orbit the earth before returning safely.

Laika was the first animal to orbit the Earth on 3 November, 1957. Sadly Laika died within hours after launch from overheating.

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The Space Race


While the Vostok program was dedicated more toward understanding the effects of space travel and micro-gravity on the human body, Voskhod’s two flights were more aimed towards spectacular firsts. However, there were delays preparing for Voskhod 3, and during that time the Gemini program accomplished most of what had been planned for future Voskhod’s. In the end, the Voskhod program was abandoned, aided by a change in Soviet leadership which was less concerned about stunt and prestige flights.

Voskhod development was both a follow-on to the Vostok Programme and a recycling of components left over from that programme’s cancellation following its first six flights.

The Voskhod Programme was the second Soviet human spaceflight project. Only two manned missions were flown using the Voskhod spacecraft and rocket, one in 1964 and one in 1965.

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On March 18, 1965 Alexey Leonov performed the first spacewalk and extra vehicular activity (EVA), lasting a total of 12 minutes.

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The Space Race

Space book ussr