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the race into space


For many years the USA and the former Soviet Union (now Russia and other countries) were locked in a great race to be first into space and to then to send men to the Moon.


[Rollover here]In 1957, the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, called Sputnik-1

[Rollover here]In 1960, a Soviet spacecraft took two dogs, Belka and Strelka, into space, and brought them back again safely

[Rollover here]In 1961, the first man, Yuri Gagarin, flew in space for 1 hour and 48 minutes

[Rollover here]In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space

Some things not to miss...

It appeared that the Soviets were producing an endless string of 'firsts'!


Image of Buzz Aldrin stepping out of the lunar module on the Moon

Robert Goddard, who built the first liquid fuelled rocket, died in 1945. He didn't live to see the first artificial satellite orbit the Earth in 1957.


The USA was so upset by the success of the Soviet space programme that President Kennedy announced on 25 May 1961 that the USA would put a man on the Moon and bring him back safely to Earth before the end of 1969. Amazingly, they managed this with the Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969, when Neil Armstrong, followed by Buzz Aldrin, walked on the Moon and returned a few days later to Earth.


Did you know? Buzz Aldrin's Mother was called Marion Moon and that his Father was a student of Robert Goddard. Perhaps it was fate that he was one of the first people on the Moon.


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