The Space Race

In: Historical Events

Submitted By maddiet
Words 485
Pages 2
The space race between the U.S.S.R and the United States was very important during the Cold War. The space race began in 1952 when the International Council of Scientific Unions decided to name July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958 as the International Geophysical Year, also known as IGY, because the scientists knew that the cycles of solar activity would be at a high point then. In October of 1954 the council called for artificial satellites to be launched during IGY to map out the Earth’s surface. In July 1955 the White House announced plans to launch an Earth orbiting satellite for the IGY and made proposals to government research agencies to undertake development of new satellites. The Naval Research Laboratory’s Vanguard proposal was chosen to represent the United States in September 1955.
On October 4, 1957 the Soviets successfully launched Sputnik I, the world’s first artificial satellite. Sputnik was about the size of a basketball, weighed about one hundred and eighty pounds, and took ninety eight minutes to launch into Earth’s elliptical path.
The launch of Sputnik changed the space race dramatically. The Sputnik, a big technological achievement, caught the United States off guard and captured the attention of the whole world. Sputnik’s size was bigger than Vanguard’s proposal of 3.5 pounds and was very impressive. On November 3, 1957 the Soviets launched another satellite named Sputnik 2 II, which was much heavier and even included a dog named Laika.
Immediately after the launch of Sputnik I, the United State’s defense department responded by approving funding for another satellite project, the Explorer, headed by Werner von Braun. On July 31, 1958 the United States successfully launched the Explorer I satellite, which discovered the magnetic radiation belts around the Earth. The Sputnik launch also led to the creation of National Aeronautics and…...

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