Space Race: More of a Scientific War

To explore the mysteries of space is one of the most remarkable achievements of the human race.But if one dig deep inside the era of all the scientific triumphs there was a bigger political picture of governments hungry for influence round the globe. This is what ignited the space race and showed that even war can have constructive effects.

Cold war, a war in which not even a single bullet was fired in a direct perspective is regarded one of the most dangerous times. Both of the countries had enough stockpile of nuclear warheads to wipe each other including the whole world if the violence started for real.

Although experts claim that it was due to the fear of Mutually Assured Destruction(MAD) and an economic collapse because of the aftermath of the World War that the Cold War never started with tanks and soldiers.

So how does a war looks like without such things?

It looks like a wonder, a man in the space, flag on the moon and a lot of satellites around the earth.

This race is generally termed as a competition, it may have been a competition but evidently not a healthy one.

It all started 10 years after the World War II ended, then the Soviet Union and the United States realised that to show power on war field was now a primitive thing. When the powers of military and economy did not seemed to be enough for a significant impact, the two superpowers of the mid 20th century, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics attacked on the fields of scientific discoveries and space research. The power of intellect and advancement were the weapons of the figurative war. The rocket research was an important pillar for the military.

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite into the orbit named Sputnik I and therefore blew the bugle. It became the first country to have a living creature in the space when it launched the Sputnik II which carried the dog named Laika.

Laika eventually died due to lack of oxygen and temperature causing an outrage across the researchers. Then in 1961, the Soviet Union launched Vostok 1 which changed the view of the race as it carried the first human Yuri Gagarin out of the earth. This gave Russia a clear winning position in the space race.

The United States made a rather slow development in the competition in starting phase. It launched its first space satellite in 1958 Explorer 1 and had an impressive growth but still lagged compared to Russia.

The Soviet Union in 1960 successfully carried two dogs named Belka and Strelka to the orbit and safe on earth in Sputnik 5. Various satellites and space projects were conducted which helped in the weather forecast, intelligence and communication.

Then the historic day of July 20, 1969, came when the NASA’s spaceflight Apollo-11 landed on the moon’s surface. Niel Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon and Apollo-11 was the first rocket to launch from another celestial body than earth.

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.                                                               —Neil Armstrong

The Soviet Union replied by the launch of Venera 7 which was the first spacecraft to land on a different planet’s surface that was Venus. It also sent the first human-crewed space station Suyuz 11 and first spaceflight to mars surface which was Mars 3.

The space race ended in 1975, the Soviet Union and the United States launched the first joint spaceflight which involved Apollo Command with Soyuz 19 known as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Today Russia and the United States jointly manage and conduct researches on the International Space Station.

This is what a war should be like, so many scientific achievements unfolded due to race to power and military potential. Still, both countries compete on the scientific and economic level but with increased level of cooperation.

At last, it was not the US or the USSR, it was science and mankind who won the space race.

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Abhinav Choudhary

Naive as a human, veteran as an opinionist.