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An introduction to the Space Race of the 1960s.

Space Exploration

Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in the cradle forever.
- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, pioneer in rocketry and astronautics

I believe that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.
- John F. Kennedy, 1961

It's human nature to stretch, to go, to see, to understand. Exploration is not a choice, really; it's an imperative.
- Michael Collins, Gemini and Apollo astronaut

Houston, Tranquility Base here.  The Eagle has landed.
- Neil Armstrong, Apollo XI Commander, 1969

The Space Race

Welcome to this guide on The Space Race of the 1960s. 

The Space Race was a struggle between the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States to prove its superiority in Space, eventually culminating in the goal to be the first to place a human being on the Moon.  The competition between the two nations fueled programs in education and research which accelerated the pace of technological and scientific advancements. 

Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in Space when be orbited the Earth aboard the ground-controlled Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961.  U.S. Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. became the first American in Space on May 5, 1961.  U.S. Astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first people to land and walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

 This guide includes a timeline of major events of the period, TV news excerpts, audio and film clips, web resources, and books for further reading.  It also includes a short list of local and national sites to visit to learn more about astronomy and space exploration.

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Teresa Gray
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Subjects:Primary Sources