The Space Race: When Science was Cool

Sputnik was a satelliste that the U.S.S.R. had orbit the Earth.
Sputnik (Unsplash)

Man on the Moon Ends Space Race

The moon was a crescent when the U.S. landed on it on July 20, 1969
Waxing Crescent Moon (Wikimedia)

Neil A. Armstrong said,“One step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Buzz Aldrin walks on the moon
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the moon near the leg of the Lunar Module “Eagle” during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity. Astronaut Neil A.Armstrong, commander took this photograph. Astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules “Columbia” in lunar orbit. (NASA, public domain, Wikimedia commons)

Kennedy Vowed to Put a Man on the Moon

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”

The Starting Pistol Shot of the Space Race was Sputnik

U.S. Defense Secretary Engine Charlie Wilson called Sputnik “a useless hunk of iron.” White House adviser Clarence Randall called it “a silly bauble in the sky.”

Eisenhower replied, “As far as the satellite is concerned, that does not raise my apprehensions, not one iota.”

Soviets Use Space Race for Propaganda with a Dog Star Named Laika

Soviet postcard showing space dog Laika with Sputnik in background
A portrait of Laika by the artist E. Gundobin, with the first three Sputniks in the background.
Text of this 1958 postcard from the USSR reads “International Geophysical Year 1957–58.
(FUEL Publishing)
Soviet children’s book about Strelka and Belka, the dogs that lived after orbitting the Earth
The cover of the popular 1961 Soviet children’s book, The Adventures of Belka and Strelka,
by Yuri Galperin (FUEL publishing)

Kennedy Family Receives Strelka’s Puppy as a Gift

When Strelka had puppies, Khruschev gave one of them, named Puskina, to J.F. Kennedy’s daughter.

U.S.A. Races On

Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, made a single orbit around the earth and became the first man in space.
Yuri Gagarin, a Russian, was the first man to orbit the Earth. (Wikimedia Commons)

U.S.A. Ultimately Won the Space Race

“The moon shot was one more major step in human evolution. It was comparable to the moment when life emerged from the sea and established itself on land.”

–Rocket Scientist Wernher von Braun

Enjoy reading midcentury topics? Sign up for my newsletter.

--

--

--

Kimberly is a writer, teacher, speaker. She writes about mythology, nature, and bold women who drove social change in midcentury America https://kimberlyus.com/

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Our Cosmic Address: Where is Earth Situated in the Universe?

Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil, Astrophysicist

“Black Hole” Science-Research, January 2022, Week 1 — summary from OSTI GOV, Astrophysics Data…

Humango Toys Mars Dust Globe | Snow Globe

How the Milky Way’s Black Hole Creates New Stars

LIVE: SpaceX get ready for the historic Rocket Launch today, but NASA says there is a 50% chance…

I have Less than 4 Months Before I Officially Have Geriatric Eggs & I am Okay With That

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Kimberly Us

Kimberly Us

Kimberly is a writer, teacher, speaker. She writes about mythology, nature, and bold women who drove social change in midcentury America https://kimberlyus.com/

More from Medium

America’s City, According to The Mayor

Images of Vienna: An Affliction of Impartiality

The lead characters of Vienna Blood; two white men in Edwardian suits in a fine room with chandelier and piano.

“The Highest Honor a Soldier Could Receive…”

Why the Dinosaurs went extinct