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Journey Into The Cosmos: Us Ussr Space Race

2054 words - 9 pages

Since the dawn of time there has been the cosmos or what we refer to as “outer space. Ever since mankind has been on Earth, it has seen the cosmos above. Before telescopes and space shuttles, what was known was only limited to what was seen by the naked eye. In the Muslim world and in the Far East astronomy and observations of the cosmos flourished, while in Medieval Europe, geocentric ideals became the status quo. Astronomy in Europe was mainly based on Sacred Scripture. It was not until the European Renaissance that Astronomical sciences began to develop and blossom. Medieval scientists like Galileo, Kepler and Copernicus, who observed the cosmos have made contributions to modern astronomy. Copernicus made a radical theory that the solar system was heliocentric, rather than geocentric. Galileo and Kepler refined and defended the heliocentric theory of Copernicus. Galileo contributed by the means of using telescopes to reinforce the heliocentric theory. Kepler formulated the first heliocentric system that correctly demonstrated the movement of the planets. Isaac Newton added to Kepler’s work by his laws of gravity.
The modern rocket can trace its roots to antiquity. Originally, rockets were invented in in the Far East. As early as c. 1127 in China “fire-lances” or “fire-arrows” were used in battle against the Mongols. These weapons consisted of “a tube of gunpowder connected to a long pointed shaft”. This description could be of an early version of a rocket propelled projectile used to incinerate or explode an enemy target. In 1805 Col. William Congreve of the Royal English Army introduced rockets to modern European warfare. He increased their accuracy by improving gunpowder mixtures and adding a long guide stick. In 1903 Konstantin Tsiolkovsky made a theory that rockets propelled by liquid oxygen and hydrogen can produce enough thrust to overcome the Earth’s gravity. Wernher Von Braun, the technical director of Nazi Germany’s missile program invented the (V-2) ballistic missile.
At the end of World War II, American, British, and Soviet science teams competed amongst each other to take German rocket scientists and the rockets themselves. The innovation of large missile technology in the Soviet Union and in the United States was influenced by the German V-2. In 1948 after the Soviets reconstructed a German V-2 missile, they recreated their own and called it the R-1. After some years of innovation, the Soviet R-5 missile could reach up to 750 miles. In the United States long range ballistic missiles were not a top priority until the 1950s. On the verge of the Cold War, American and Soviet war strategists tried to find ways to attack quickly at the enemy’s core. They looked toward the German V-1 which was too slow to penetrate the enemies’ fortifications, and also at the V-2 which was not accurate and very erratic when it came to accuracy. This led to the ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile). It can travel at hypersonic speeds and was not...

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