Home Astronauts J.F.K. Satellites

J. Stone, C. Smith, & J. Miller

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Race to the Moon

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The arms race between the USSR and USA began during World War II, and then in 1955 it became a space race when both nations announced they would launch satellites. As the two most powerful nations in the world, and as ideological opposites, they were naturally inclined to compete. Therefore when the Soviets launched Sputnik the US felt compelled to answer with an achievement in space of their own, and in a 1962 speech JFK announced that the USA intended to make the first moon landing. Even after the moon landing the race continued as both countries worked on space laboratories. The race ended because of Richard Nixon's new policy for dealing with communist nations; detente. Detente is french for the easing of strained relations. To ease relations Nixon encouraged open negotiation and this extended to the space race with joint missions and the sharing of technology. Afterwords the USA and Russia were still competing in space but it wasn't as much of a political battle anymore, and other nations created space programs of their own. The Russian space program remains fairly healthy while the American program, NASA, has faced large budget cuts, this is evidence that the US government no longer sees space as a pivotal political issue.



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