“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”-Neil Armstrong. This quote was said during the process of the space age in 1969. The Space age was a time period related to the three themes, space race, space exploration, and space technology around the period 1950’s-1960’s. It was encouraged by the United States and Soviet Union into determining that their own country is superior than their opponent, which led to an improvement in many technological advancements.
The space race was a competition between both super power countries in a contest on who can have the best technology. It was triggered off when Sputnik was launched into space by an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in 1957 by the Soviets. So at the time, this was considered a shock due to at the period technology wasn’t as effective and making it into space was a first. Then as no surprise America found this less pleasing, since first the ballistic missile was not just capable of launching a satellite into space but possibly a nuclear warhead in U. S. grounds.
So with all the fear of a nuclear abomination, the USSR had an advantage both in heavy gunnery and communication now that sputnik is flowing. Also to America, space was the next level of exploration and since the Soviet has accomplished such task they didn’t want to fall behind. Which led U. S. to create their own version of Sputnik 1 named Explorer 1 nearly a year after Sputnik was released. Once the United States have successfully accomplished this, they made an organization called National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA).
As soon as the following year came along The Soviet space program (SSP) released Luna 2, which was the first spacecraft that reached the surface of the moon. Then on 1961, they finally completed the task to have the first man to orbit around the Earth in a Spacecraft named Vostok 1. Meanwhile the U. S. was creating a lighter Vostok, but instead they experimented/ tested with chimpanzees first. Until on May 5 of the same year, Alan Shepard became the first American person in space, not orbit.
On the other hand, after two other Apollo programs they started broadcasting live colored television and two months after Apollo 10 the launch of Apollo 11 was on its way. Apollo 11 consisted of three astronauts named Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin Aldrin. On July 20, 1969, the lunar module landed sweetly on the moon, then at 10:56 p. m. Armstrong opened the capsule and placed his foot on the moon, making him the first time a human set foot on another celestial body. With this such accomplishment it is probably given that the U. S. won” this race for achieving something that seemed impossible at the time.
Some technological improvement made during this period from the space age was of course the creation of satellites to allow communication become efficient and effective. Especially since at the time, the cold war was active and this allowed for countries have advantages of communicating and interpret other countries strategy to serve for military purposes. Also with satellites in space they were able to use them to collect weather data to prevent any natural catastrophic events and to calculate current winds or more.
In addition, due to this, it caused fear by the people just by the differences of technological between both countries. But since the NASA’s budget kept increasing, this gave the program an opportunity to explore many fields for research, from varying sectors. Nonetheless, this allowed for many creations to start that could change today and improve other equipment. Some improvements made was mainly in rocketry, sustainable material, and tools, for example the investment on the Hubble telescope and the international space station were a product of all the advancements made along the way.
Above all, with these new developments of technology, they ended up contributing to the space exploration. Such as, obtaining minerals on the moon for further investigation to find the history of the moon and what it consist of. Nonetheless, with the Hubble telescope, it was capable of observing long ranges from other planets to light-years galaxies. Similarly, as the probes that could land in most areas in the solar system and return with samples. Even then, since 1960 we been searching if such life could possibly exist on Mars is possible, with over 50 attempts of sending aircrafts till August 2012.
But in all the discoveries made through the equipment that was constructed all these years, established many tasks. In conclusion, the period known as the space age was a series of hostile and friendly competition even though we were at war with the Soviets at the time. But then again it increased the innovation of technology between both the Soviet and U. S. As for the tech. advancement due to the space age, it was encouraged to pursue the best accomplishments leading to the technology that got us to the moon and today’s tech.