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The Space Race And Nasa Essay

1125 words - 5 pages

Michael Collins once proclaimed that, “It’s human nature to stretch, to go, to see, to understand. Exploration is not a choice really; it’s an imperative.” People have always been fascinated by space exploration and it was during the 1950’s that the “race to space” took off. Both Russia and the United States wanted to be the first to travel into space and the first ones to land on the moon. Today, nations are still active in space exploration. This includes NASA (the U.S.), the Russian Federal Space Agency, CNSA (China), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), ISA (Italy), ROSA (Romania), and the Soviet Union. Now, some may argue that the United State’s space program has slowed down or even stopped having interest in space. However, there is a great deal of evidence that shows that NASA is still very much interested in space.
On October 4th, 1957, history was made when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite. The Sputnik I was only the size of a beach ball, it only weighed 183.9 lbs., and it was the marker for the “space race” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. It was a huge technological achievement that caught the world’s attention and wound up making Americans disappointed that the U.S. did not send the first satellite into space. U.S. citizens were also concerned that if the Soviet Union could send satellites into space then they could posses the power to send ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons. Then, the Soviets raised the bar by sending Laika, the first living thing in space with a much heavier payload on November 3rd. Laika, meaning “barker” in Russian, was a stray mutt that was only three years old when she went to space. Laika was sent to space in a restrictive spacecraft that only had enough room to stand or lay down, with space food, and had different sensors on for monitoring blood pressure, and other bodily functions. The space trip ended in tragedy though, when the public found out that the Soviet space program hadn’t come up with a plan on how to get Laika back home (due to only having three weeks to build the space craft). Some believed that Laika’s food was poisoned, others thought she died only hours into the trip due to heat and stress, and one belief was the dog died four days into the trip due to an electrical burnout making the interior temperatures rise. Six days into the trip however, all life-support systems failed along with the space shuttle. Leaving the space shuttle to reenter into earth’s atmosphere on April 14th, 1958 where it burned up upon reentry. This left animal rights activists infuriated that the space program sent the dog into space with no plan as to how to bring her home alive. It wasn’t until 1961 that people were sent into space.
On April 12th, 1961, Yuri Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut was the first man in space. Hitting another great milestone in space exploration. Less than a month later, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space. Now that there had been people...

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