After the fight for power and ideologies, countries entered a new era of competition i.e., Space travel. After the end of World War -II (WW-II), there was sheer rivalry among the then USSR and USA which resulted in the 45 year-long cold war. During this period there was no direct military confrontation among the rivals but there was a bold bath across the globe. There was something more going on other than the military confrontation and war; the Space race. Both countries were in the race of demonstrating their technological advancements to achieve superior spaceflight capability.
Soviets launched their first artificial satellite Sputnik I space, in October 1957 which created panic in the Eisenhower administration that USSR has surpassed the USA in technological advancements. USSR continued to run successful launches following; Sputnik II launched in November, carrying a dog named Laika. In May 1958, the Soviets launched Sputnik III, Oct 7, 1959, Lunik III, to photograph the dark side of the moon. In response to this National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established under the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 on October 1, 1958 as the primary agency of the federal government responsible for aerospace research and the civilian space program.
One of the earliest objectives of NASA was to launch a manned vehicle into Earth’s orbit as soon as possible. But it was done by USSR in April 12 1961, with Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1 spacecraft. Straight away after Gagarin’s flight to space, President Kennedy wanted to know possibilities of United States could do in space to take the lead from the Soviets. He announced the mission of landing a man on the Moon before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961. American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin were the first humans ever to land on the moon on the historic day of July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot and walk on the moon. As he was about to step on the surface of the moon, he said, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The Apollo 11 mission took place eight years after President John F. Kennedy announced the mission of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. And this marked the landmark in the space race and exploration.
Fast forward to the 21st century not only countries but billionaires have also invested in the field of space exploration. SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic are the names of the pioneers in private space exploration. These companies are expected to launch humans into space.
Jeff Bezos’ rocket company announced its first flight on July 15 naming the crews. The crews include Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old Dutch student, Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark and aviation pioneer Wally Funk. The flight is scheduled for Tuesday, July 20. Daemen will be the youngest person ever to fly to space breaking the previous record of Soviet cosmonaut Ghermon Titov, who was 25 and Funk is to set break the age record set by the astronaut and US senator John Glenn, who traveled back to space in 1998 at the age of 77