Soviet Space ProgramBy: Toni D'Acri"We have a long way to go in the space race. We started late. But this is the new ocean, and I believe the United States must sail on it and be in a position second to none."-President John F. Kennedy, 1962
"What makes the Soviet threat unique in history is its all-inclusiveness. Every human activity is pressed into service as a weapon of expansion. Trade, economic development, military power, arts, science, education, the whole world of ideas…. The Soviets are, in short, waging total cold war." -President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1958OverviewThe Cold War, as defined in history text books, was a continuing state of political and military tension between the powers of the Western world and the communist world. The war was led by the United States and its NATO allies against the Soviet Union and its allies of the Warsaw Pact. Although the Cold War did not possess any direct military action, the two superpowers found diverse ways to take tension out on each other such as propaganda, espionage, nuclear arms races, proxy wars, rivalry sports events and of course the space races. By the early 21st century, Russians were orbiting Earth in space stations and shuttles, establishing agencies in which scientists could all work together and creating robotic explorers to Mars and its moons. race for being the first in space was on, with the United States and the Soviet Union both competing for the glory.
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky; the "Father of Soviet Space Life"
The first person to rockets for the use of space flight in any country was a Russian man named Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. In 1903 he published a paper called, "Exploration of Space with a Rocket Device," that accurately calculated the escape velocity of his proposed spacecraft. Tsiolkovsky was a mathematician and schoolteacher whose research in space and rockets greatly influenced the Soviet Union to found a military facility devoted to rocket research.
Sergei Korolev
In 1924, young Germans and Soviets formed rockets clubs in hopes of exploring space. The government took advantage of these citizens and drafted them into weapon research for World War II. One scientist and engineer, Sergei Korolev, took
space exploration very seriously and forced labor devoted to its study during the war. During the beginning of the Space Race, both nations wanted success by making it on the front pages of important newspapers. Both wanted to be the "firsts" of space exploration; the first satellite, the first robotic spacecraft to the Moon, the first man and woman in space, the first living being in space and also the first spacewalk. No matter what the achievement was, you name it and both countries wanted it before the other. The Space Race brought out the worst competitiveness in the United States and the Soviet Union and the determination to surpass the other.
Russian SuccessThroughout the years of 1958-1961, the Soviet Union launched six more Sputnik satellites that continually grew in size and accomplishment. Their techniques improved in attempt to carry a human being. The launch of Sputnik 1 ultimately started the space race.
First Satellite to Orbit Earth
Sputnik 1
During 1955 the Baikonur Space Center's construction was beginning in the desert of Kazakhstan. This was the Soviet version of American places such as NASA and the Kennedy Space Station, where space research would be explored and new inventions would be made for competing against the United States. On October 4th, 1957, the United States was shocked when the Soviets beat them in the contest, the launch of a satellite into space. In the midst of the race for space, the Soviets had launched Sputnik 1, meaning "satellite" in Russian, that was the size of a basketball, weighed about 186 pounds, and contained radio transmitters. The famous beeping was heard all around the world which compelled the Americans to keep fighting in the race.
Laika: "First Animal in Space"
First Animal In SpaceJust a short month after Sputnik 1 was launched the Soviets reacted quickly and launched Sputnik 2 on November 3rd, 1957. This satellite was a bit larger than the first and contained something the world couldn't believe... a live being. A dog named Laika, which means "barker" in Russian, was present in Sputnik 2 as it was launched and orbited the Earth. This accomplishment showed that the Soviets meant business and they were inching ever so closely to putting a human in space and proved that living beings, and hopefully humans, can survive in space.
Ivan Ivanovich
First "Man" In Space
If you look quickly you might have thought this cosmonaut was a real space traveler. This "man" is actually the first mannequin in space by the name of Ivan Ivanovich. He orbited the Earth on March 23rd, 1961 just weeks before Yuri Gagarin (the first person in space). Ivan tested the Vostok 1 spacecraft engineered by Sergei Korolev and also the SK-1 pressure suit. Because they launched him and intented to eject him from the spacecraft, Russian technicians were afraid that peasants and civilians would think he was an actual human being and freak out. To solve this problem they wrote "MAKET" on his forehead, meaning "dummy" in Russian. He was ejected from the craft and landed in the Ural Mountains during a blizzard. He still remains in his spacesuit in the National Air and Space Museum.
Yuri Gagarin
First Human In Space
On April 12th, 1961 the world was stunned as the first human entered space. 21 year old Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth in the Vostok 1 for one hour and 48 minutes. He was ejected shortly after re-entering Earth and landed by parachute. Before he could go on a second mission to space he was unfortunately killed in a plane crash.

First Woman In Space
Valentina Tereshkova
Valentina Tereshkova
The Soviets beat the Americans in the race once again as they launch Valentina Tereshkova in Vostok 1 on June 16th, 1963. After three days alone in space her spacecraft comes within just three miles of Valeri Bykovsky who is in the Vostok 5. This is also the first time that two spacecrafts come close to contact with each other while in orbit.

Mir"It’s a shame…. Our child, who we gave birth to so many years ago, … we’re going to have to put it to sleep. But, on the other hand, we understand that sometimes there’s nothing to be done…. One cannot sit, as it were, on two chairs at the same time. Nevertheless, despite this sorrow with … regard to Mir, we nonetheless do look forward to the future with a great deal of hope." -Vladimir Semyachkin, 1998.

Mir was the Russian Space station that hovered in space for 15 years. It housed many crew members, international visitors and raised the first crop of wheat in outer space. Along with being Russia's pride and glory it also served as the technical partnership between Russia and the United States after many years of tension and competition. For Russians, Mir was a symbol of peace that held much feeling and meaning. Mir translates to "world" and "peace" in English.

The space race ended on July 21st, 1969, two Americans walked on the Moon for the first time in history. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had fulfilled the United States and President Kennedy's dream that inspired spaceflight back in the 60's.
Long before the space race ended, both superpowers knew there was a future in space. When all the "firsts" were successful, many space scientists knew there was a bright future for many countries beyond the Earth. Throughout the 1970's and 1980's many manned missions took place by Americans and Soviets but none for competitive reasons.
Although the rest of the world believed the space race had ended, it definitely did not for many Soviets. They began to pursue long term goals such as establishing a permanent presence in space. Mechanical probes were also sent to unexplored planets like Venus and Mars. The space race also changed education as well. With space research consisting on mostly math and science, more schools began investing in more complex classes that dealt with engineering, research, and logic.People on the planet no longer looked at the planet as a fragile and mysterious thing, they now valued it for it's resources and necessities. Marina Benjamin wrote in her book Rocket Dreams: How the Space Age Shaped Our Vision of a World Beyond, how our world was shaped in numerous ways as a result of the space exploration. She argues, “"The impact of seeing the Earth from space focused our energies on the home planet in unprecedented ways, dramatically affecting our relationship to the natural world and our appreciation of the greater community of mankind, and prompting a revolution in our understanding of the Earth as a living system." She explains that without space satellites our world would be very far behind. No Google Earth, weather photographs, navigation and not to mention worldwide communication between the 7 billion people on the planet. The world was brought closer together because of worldwide communication and space exploration..

"NASA astronaut David Wolf gives a lecture on the Russian Space Station Mir.
In 1997 and 1998, Wolf served a long-duration assignment aboard Mir, launching
on STS-86 and returning on STS-89." -Youtube (caption for video)

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