Through much of human existence, people have looked towards the sky and pondered what is out there; all the thoughts may have not been talking about space, but just the boundaries within their lives. In recent decades space is something that most [people] in the past would not have dreamt of reaching would soon become a vital part of human life as a space exploration become prominent.
Space exploration started with the launch of Sputnik and the space race; time slowly passed since then and now space became a part of human communication, study, ethnics and cost, but only this space is slowly becoming a much need and important resource that can become accessible to Earth and human expansion. Current progression in space exploration would not have been possible without the Space Race. The Space Race was a competition between the Soviet Union and United States.
The Space Race occurred mainly within the timeframe of the Cold War and started at October 4th, 1957 at 7:38 PM at the successful launch of Sputnik I, which successfully entered into orbit and continued to do so until 21 days later where Sputnik I burned in Earth’s atmosphere (Space Race). The following month in November 1957 Laika, a dog, was sent into space on Sputnik II (Space Race). Because of the successful launches of Sputnik I and II the United States’ pride and anti-communist views became to be afflicted causing the fear and dread, as the Soviet Union may gain the ability to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles (Space Race).
The United States retaliates against Soviet advancement with a rocket of their own the following month, in December 1957. The United States’ rocket ended in failure as the rocket launch up few feet until the rocket fell back to Earth (Space Race). The success of Sputnik I and II has caused a spark, as the two countries advanced their efforts to gain control of space before the other. The method in which the United States and Soviet Union used to successful advance were projects with several small goals leading to a larger idea; the Moon. The first projects were project Mercury for the United Sates and Vostok for the Soviet Union.
Both Mercury and Vostok had a single goal the successful launch of not fruit flies, rhesus monkeys, nor dogs, but a human into Earth’s orbit. Project Mercury lasted from 1959 to 1963, where in May of 1961 successfully launched Alan Shepherd into a semi orbital flight along with his space Freedom 7 (Space Race). Even with the success of Shepherd and Freedom 7, The United States were lagging behind the Soviets as the Soviets with their project Vostok had successfully launched Yuri Gagarin into Earth’s orbit allowing Gagarin the first person to successfully enter into orbit (Space Race).
The Soviets’ Vostok I wasn’t without problems the project almost ended in Gagarin’s death, as Vostok I on re-entry suffered a malfunction and continued to fall back into Earth uncontrollably, until the wires holding the two parts of the craft together was burnt through resulting in Gagarin’s successful return (Space Race). Four months later the Soviets with Vostok II had successfully allowed Gagarin’s successor Gherman Titov to enter into Space (Space Race). Even through the Soviets increment into space the United States had made much progress with project Mercury.
In November1961 Enos, a chimpanzee, was successfully launched into orbit twice, until three months later in February 1962 where John Glenn along with his ship, Friendship 7, became the first American to orbit Earth (Space Race). The success with project Mercury and Vostok had allowed both countries to reach their objective to enter Earth’s orbit and see the effects of space on people. The space race did not just stop with project Mercury and Vostok, Gemini and Voskhod became extensions with a new objective and goals.
Both Gemini and Voskhod’s objectives were similar, as both desired to create a two manned spacecraft. Soviet’s Voskhod however once again defeated the United States in multiple achievements, as Voskhod I had beaten Gemini, as the first two person manned spacecraft and Voskhod II had allowed Aleksei Leonov to become the first person to take a walk out into space; through there are no photographs or video, as the bulky suit heavily limited movement (Space Race).
Project Gemini wasn’t so far off Voskhod, as Gemini 4 allowed for Ed White to be the first American to take a spacewalk and Gemini 12 allowed for Buzz Aldrin to preform three spacewalks within three days (Space Race). As Gemini and Voskhod concluded new projects which will lead the human race to the moon started. The new projects Apollo and Soyuz didn’t have the same goals at the beginning, as Apollo’s main goal was to carry out manned missions around the Earth’s orbit, but in May 1961 President Kennedy spoke with Congress about his desire to have a person on the Moon by the end of the decade (Space Race).
President Kennedy’s desires has been slowly realized, as Apollo 8 successfully orbited the Moon around Christmas of 1968 and the following year at July 21, 1969 Apollo 11 launched and landed successfully on the Moon, and Neil Armstrong became the first man on the Moon (Space Race). But “Why hasn’t Soviets arrived on the Moon with all their successes, as first at almost all the achievements? ” The Soviets were very hapless with their Soyuz program, as many mishaps had occurred.
Most of the mishaps could be accredited to misfortunes, as after many careful tests the Soviet’s test rockets to the Moon mostly combusted into an inferno soon after launch, but not to cause even more issues, two weeks before Apollo 11’s launch The N1 Rocket on July 3rd, 1969 caused an explosion wiping out most of the Soviet’s work (Space Race). The Space Race conclude in 1975 where a joint operation between the Soviet Union and United States occur and the collapse of the Soviet Union one and a half decades later.
But space race has left behind a legacy in a new idea of going past the moon to Mars and even further outside our solar system. Simultaneously during the Space Race, communication satellites came to existence. The idea of the first Communication satellite came from Edward Everett Hale in 1869 to 1870 when Hale published a short story titled “The Brick Moon” which he discussed the construction of a satellite made from bricks (Virgil).
In October 1945 Arthur C. Clarke proposed the first working satellite on an article in Wireless World with a reasonable orbit height of 22,236 miles now called “geostationary orbit”, which didn’t require the satellite to be continuously traced (Virgil). Arthur C. Clarke’s idea of his viable satellite had very little impact on during the time period, even after being repeated in 1951 to 1952, until John R. Pierce in 1955 thought about the financial prospects of Clarke’s idea (Whalen).
John R. Pierce also outlined and developed the technology needed make communication satellites with American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) and Hughes Aircraft Company (Virgil). Soon the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established in 1958 and with a joint project with AT&T’s Bell labs lead by Pierce (Virgil). During their joint development Echo 1 and 2 were developed and successfully launched into space. Echo 1 was successful in reflect signals from the ground, but after Echo 2 the project of passive satellites were abandoned in favor of active satellites.
Even through abandoned Echo 1 and 2 helped in improving the tracking satellites and ground station technology (Virgil). After Echo, Pierce’s team from Bell’s labs helped to develop the first active satellite, Telstar 1. Telstar 1 was launched into orbit in July 10, 1962 with a Delta rocket and NASA provided the launch service and tracking and telemetry support (Virgil). Telstar 1 became the first communication satellite to broadcast live television between Europe and North America, it also was the first satellite to transmit the very first satellite phone call between Maine to Washington D.
C. (Virgil). Pierce wasn’t the only one working on active satellites, Rosen’s team from Hughes Aircraft attempted to place a satellite into geostationary orbit (Virgil). Rosen’s team had create Syncom 1 on February 14, 1943 until it was lost soon after launch, Syncom 2 followed Syncom 1, but with better success on July 26, 1963 as it became the first satellite in geosynchronous orbit (Virgil). It wasn’t until August 19, 1964 with Syncom 3 that a satellite was successfully placed within the geostationary orbit (Virgil).
Syncom 3 also allowed for the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan to be broadcasted to the United States, which became the first major broadcasted sporting event via satellite (Virgil). With advancements in communication was not without government and foreign countries’ interests, as the United States passed the communication Satellite Act in 1962 authorized the creation of Communications Satellite Corporation (Comsat) (Virgil). “Intelsat, an international satellite communications consortium, was formed on August 20, 1964, with 11 signatories to the Intelsat Interim Agreement” (Virgil).
With the formation of Intelsat, Early Bird designed by Rosen’s team was place in orbit on April 6, 1965, which was the first commercial satellite to provide regular telecommunication and broadcasting between Europe and North America. With the success of Early Bird, Intelsat placed into orbit Intelsat 2B and 2D 1967 providing service in the Pacific and Intelsat F-3 in 1969 providing for the Indian Ocean area (Virgil). Arthur C. Clarke’s idea was realized and successfully implemented after 24 years and helped to broadcast on July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong’s walk on the Moon through the Intelsat satellites almost globally (Virgil).
Animals, Communication Satellites, and random objects weren’t the only things sent into as the Hubble telescope, a Space telescope, was sent into space in 1990, but the concept of the space telescope was first brought into attention after World War II in 1946 by Lyman Spitzer (Gracia). Lyman Spitzer in his paper “Astronomical Advantages if an Extra-Terrestrial Observatory” explained the advantages of a Space Telescope and the problems with the Earth’s atmosphere blurring and distorting light coming from stars, which even the most advanced ground telescope could not ignore (Gracia).
After 20 years Spitzer now working at Princeton University, Spitzer lead a National Academy of Science Ad Hoc Committee on Large Telescopes. During Spitzer’s first meeting in 1966 the group did extensive research on space telescopes and in 1969 the committee published an article on “Scientific Uses of the Large Space Telescope”, which promoted the construct of a space telescope (Gracia). The lack of resources by Spitzer required the help of NASA.
One of America’s leading rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun, had looked over the concept of a space telescope with his team at Marshall Space Flight Center in the 1960s, as Braun also saw the necessity of a space telescope for NASA’s studies (Gracia). “In the mid-1960s, NASA and its contractors conducted phased studies into the feasibility of a large space telescope (Gracia). ” But NASA became divide on whether to slowly move up in steps to reach a space telescope or to jump right into the construction of the space telescope (Gracia). In 1971, George Low, NASA’s Acting Administrator gave approval to conduct more studies on space telescopes.
With NASA’s assistance the idea of a space telescope slowly became a reality, but with the cost to construct and launch the satellite being around 400-500 million dollars became an obstacle, as In 1975 the House of Appropriations Subcommittee in 1975 had denied the grant, and the funds until NASA and leading astronomers prompted a large scale lobbying effort (Gracia). After the failed attempt in getting a grant approval, NASA invited the European Space Research Organization (ESRO) in a project to produce inexpensive solar panels (Gracia).