Space Race

Space Race
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Space Race

go Unmanned Soviet lunar missions, initially introduced as a shadow program with a much smaller budget than the manned version, occurred at the same time as the Apollo program. The Lunokhod moon rovers and sample return probes earned a great deal of admiration from international scientists.

However, inside their close circle, the Soviet leaders, in a rude awakening, conceded that the era of Soviet dominance in space was gone forever. So what is the good news?

The Space Race - HISTORY

The challenge for both sides was determining where to go next. While the Americans eventually pursued the development of the space shuttle, the Soviets embarked on a program to place crews in space for extended periods of time by building the Salyut series of orbital space stations. In reality, that space station program was not the result of major brainstorming or serious debates about a new national vision for space exploration. It came from the spontaneous process of internal competition between rivals within the Soviet aerospace industry. The Soviet military initially supported the approach, which was reminiscent of the U.

Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory project, which was canceled in after a single, unmanned launch. Of course, official propaganda said this mission had nothing to do with military interests. After this type of assignment was passed to unmanned spy satellites, the real motivation for expanding the Salyut program became the desire to undertake long-duration flight.

Longevity records for humans in space became the benchmark for judging the success of these flights. In order to move in that direction, the Salyut program worked to excel in two important areas: achieving the safety of its manned flight hardware and developing a solid base in space medicine. Eventually, these would be two of the most important contributions the Russians would make to the International Space Station partnership. In the early s, the Nixon administration sought to reduce U. In , during a meeting with Keldysh, U. Handler suggested the United States and U. This imaginary movie scenario touched a chord within space communities on both sides, which already had experienced emergency situations in real life.

Talks led to the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project docking mission of , which developed compatible rendezvous and docking systems still in use today, and the establishment of a few topical working groups in different space science and applications disciplines. The cooperation presented a serious management challenge for both sides, given the overall lack of compatibility between the two space programs. NASA had to work with a counterpart that could not even be clearly identified. The Ministry of General Machine Building was still shrouded in secrecy and Soviet authorities instructed the Academy of Sciences to act as a cover for all activities during Apollo-Soyuz.

Soviet industry experts had to introduce themselves as employees of the Institute of Space Research and military officers from Soviet Space Command changed into civilian clothes while insisting that the Soviet academy administered the launch site in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. We had to puff up our chests and represent the heart of the Soviet space program while it was clear to everyone that we were nothing but a bunch of scientists — the poor relatives of the rich space czars. Well before the critical moments of the Apollo-Soyuz project when the crowds of American participants went to visit the manned flights control center in the Moscow suburb of Kaliningrad and the Soyuz launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, our authorities issued a long and detailed secret questionnaire.

These were some of the questions:.

NASA Opportunities

The Space Race refers to the 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), for dominance in. By the mids, 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.

Despite this artifice, the docking in orbit in July was a rare and dramatic display of U. Leonid Brezhnev and President Gerald Ford exchanged messages of friendship and congratulations.

Time Period

This was to be the last dramatic international handshake in space for years to come. Soon after the flight, both sides met to discuss potential follow-on space projects and agreed to establish a special bilateral working group. Unfortunately, politics intervened again.

Cold War Arms Race

Incoming President Jimmy Carter was concerned by congressional charges that the Soviets had obtained valuable U. By late , the Carter administration had ended discussions on additional cooperation with the Soviets. After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December , any hope of significant cooperation in space was gone. The United States pursued cooperation with Europe through projects such as a Spacelab module that could ride aboard the space shuttle, while the Soviets maintained their focus on flying the manned Salyut space stations.

On the planetary exploration front, we were quite impressed by the successes of the Mars Viking missions and the Voyager missions to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and the outer limits of the solar system. At the same time the principal Soviet robotic missions were repeatedly directed toward Venus. Every year as director of the Soviet Space Research Institute, I had to report on the completion of each important mission to a very large audience in Moscow at the Polytechnic Museum, which is a counterpart to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.

While the Americans are doing wide-range reconnaissance in the solar system, we are carrying on an intensive study of Venus, just as if that planet were declared the planetary test range of our space science. This time, I was literally bewildered and without much thinking, immediately answered the question of why Americans do such and such:. For several minutes, the audience gave a standing ovation.

Nevertheless, the Soviet robotic space program advanced by learning from and adapting to U. Anticipating the success of the U. Viking mission, the Soviet Academy of Sciences decided to abandon Mars as a priority and see how the American program would develop. The open and predictable nature of the U.

Our Venera program to Venus was quite successful. Because the United States and U. In , seven U. This mission investigated the impact of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. A later Cosmos mission, Cosmos in , carried 17 additional U. And on May 6, , the United States and U. R signed a treaty that provided for the deployment of an international system of emergency beacon receivers aboard satellites. When Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency in , Cold War tensions were rising. In the midst of the Poland martial law crisis, the Reagan administration announced on Dec.

Mutual suspicion grew to the point that the Soviets began attributing potentially aggressive intentions to the Space Shuttle Program. It would be another 10 years before the conditions finally were ripe again for cooperation. Nevertheless, in the absence of a formal intergovernmental agreement, the White House authorized low-profile cooperation on a case-by-case basis. Among the activities that continued were the satellite-based search and rescue efforts, which was based on the coordinated use of the U.

By the mids, the effort had helped save more than people. As part of that effort, four U. Arnauld Nicogossian, later would serve as an example for future cooperation between the Russian space station Mir and space shuttle programs and on the International Space Station. Meanwhile, exchanges of planetary data continued, but discussions of future cooperation in planetary exploration were cancelled. The U. Regular consultations on space science-related issues, for example, were carried out through a channel between the U. In addition to these cooperative activities, Soviet and American space scientists regularly met at Committee on Space Research sessions.

Aerospace engineers and officials from industry also maintained a similar engagement under the umbrella of the International Astronautical Federation. The United States and U. After deciding not to send a spacecraft to view the comet, the United States agreed to play a supporting role, which involved providing ground-based observation data on the comet.

The success of the encounter with the comet was to be critically dependent on precise navigation. The whole procedure required close cooperation in real time.

The Space Race

Ironically, such successes were achieved despite continued chilly relations between the two governments. Several private groups, however, worked to keep U. After its founding in , the Association of Space Explorers, composed of people who had flown in space, also became an important forum for discussions on the benefits of U. These efforts would provide a powerful impetus for getting stalled U. We were challenging the Soviets in the high ground of space. We had to say that Freedom would be bigger and better than the Soviet space station.

While the Soviets were not invited to join the Freedom project, the Reagan administration indicated its willingness to resume space cooperation with the U. Only days before the speech, the administration privately suggested to Moscow a simulated space rescue demonstration mission in which U. Both privately and publicly, the Soviet response was cool, because of the perceived asymmetry of a mission in which the Soviet crew was in trouble and the U.

The Soviet government also revived the notion from the Khrushchev era that space cooperation would be possible only if there were progress in space arms control. From the start of the Reagan administration, however, pressure for cooperation in space had been mounting. For example, Sen. Senate issued a more formal call for renewal of U. President Reagan signed the resolution on Oct. Sputnik led Congress to pass a series of massive federal aid-to-education measures. Science became a priority in schools and universities. Soviet space successes led President John F.

Kennedy to tell a joint session of Congress in May that the United States would land a man on the moon and bring him home by the end of the s. The U. There were six one-man flights in the Mercury program, which expanded from suborbital flights to an orbital mission that lasted more than 34 hours.

Created By

On May 5, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space though not in orbit. Earth Optimism Summit. Prehistory Pre-Columbian Colonial — — — — — — — — — —present. Handler suggested the United States and U. Nobody wants a future of rationing.

The Gemini program followed with ten two-man flights, including the first spacewalk and the rendezvous and docking of two spacecraft. One mission lasted 14 days. Then disaster struck. In January , a fire destroyed a prototype command module, killing the crew of Apollo 1. Four manned flights in late and early paved the way for a historic launch of Apollo The launch was witnessed by a million people assembled along Florida's beaches. At p. Eastern time, July 20, , astronaut Neil Armstrong announced: "Houston The astronauts spent only two-and-a-half hours walking on the lunar surface.