space race

The Sputnik Shock and the Start of the Space Race

The Sputnik Shock and the Start of the Space Race

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union shocked the western world by announcing the first successful launch of an artificial satellite orbiting the earth – Sputnik 1. Prelude – The International Geophysical Year The 1950’s were politically difficult times for the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1952, the International Council of Scientific Unions declared the time lasting from July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958 as the International Geophysical Year…
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The First Image from Abroad – Earth Rising and Lunar Orbiter 1

The First Image from Abroad – Earth Rising and Lunar Orbiter 1

On August 23, 1966, the space probe Lunar Orbiter 1 sent the very first images of the earth rising above the moon‘s surface back to earth. Lunar Orbiter 1 was part of the Lunar Orbiter program started in the 1960’s in preparation to the Apollo moon landing. The project consisted of five unmanned spacecrafts, equally built to take pictures of the moon. The purpose was to find a safe landing place for…
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Yuri Gagarin – the first Man in Space

Yuri Gagarin – the first Man in Space

On 12 April 1961, aboard the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1), Soviet pilot Yuri Gagarin became both the first human to travel into space, and also the first to orbit the earth. Yuri Gagarin was born into a family of farmers. At the age of 16, he an apprenticeship as a foundryman and enrolled at a “young workers school” before started studying at the Industrial Technical School. Voluntarily, Gagarin entered a local aeronautics…
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Venera 3 and the Soviet Venera Space Probe Program

Venera 3 and the Soviet Venera Space Probe Program

On November 16, 1965, Soviet spacecraft Venera 3 was launched. The Venera program space probe was built and launched by the Soviet Union to explore the surface of Venus. It possibly crashed on Venus on 1 March 1966, possibly making Venera 3 the first space probe to hit the surface of another planet. The Venera series space probes were developed by the Soviet Union between 1961 and 1984 to gather data from…
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Konstantin Feoktistov, Space Engineer

Konstantin Feoktistov, Space Engineer

On February 7, 1926, Soviet cosmonaut and an eminent space engineer Konstantin Petrovich Feoktistov was born. Feoktistov was part of the team that would go on to design the Sputnik, Vostok, Voskhod, and Soyuz spacecraft under the leadership of Sergey Korolev.[1] He trained as a cosmonaut, and eventually launched 12 Oct 1964 for 16 earth orbits as one of the crew of Voskhod 1 (with Vladimir Komarov and Boris Yegorov), the world‘s…
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Tha Last Space Mission of Vladimir Komarov

Tha Last Space Mission of Vladimir Komarov

On April 24, 1967, Soviet astronaut Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov died in the first fatal accident of a space mission. Komarov was killed when the Soyuz 1 space capsule crashed after re-entry due to a parachute failure. During his time at the Cosmonaut Training Center, he contributed to space vehicle design, cosmonaut training and evaluation and public relations. He was eventually selected to command the first Soviet multiman Voskhod 1 spaceflight that presented a…
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Lunokhod 2 and the Soviet Moon Programme

Lunokhod 2 and the Soviet Moon Programme

On January 16, 1973, Soviet unmanned lunar rover Lunokhod 2 took its first TV images of the surrounding area, then rolled down a ramp to the surface of the Moon, and took first pictures of the landing site. Lunokhod 2 was the second of two unmanned lunar rovers landed on the Moon by the Soviet Union as part of the Lunokhod programme. The Lunokhods were primarily designed to support the Soviet manned…
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Valentin Glushko and the Space Race

Valentin Glushko and the Space Race

On January 10, 1989, Soviet engineer Valentin Petrovich Glushko passed away. Gloshko was the principal Soviet designer of rocket engines during the Soviet/American Space Race. He worked with renowned rocket designer Sergey Korolyov. In Aug 1957, they successfully launched the first intercontinental ballistic missile and in October of the same year, sent the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, into orbit. Glushko was born in the Russian Empire in 1908 in what is…
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Luna 3 and the Far Side of the Moon

Luna 3 and the Far Side of the Moon

On October 7, 1959, Soviet spacecraft Luna 3 for the very first time photographed the far side of the Moon. Though it returned rather poor pictures by later standards, the historic, never-before-seen views of the far side of the Moon caused excitement and interest when they were published around the world, and a tentative Atlas of the Far Side of the Moon was created after image processing improved the pictures. Luna 3…
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Vanguard 1 – the first Solar Powered Satellite

Vanguard 1 – the first Solar Powered Satellite

On March 17, 1958, Vanguard 1, the fourth artificial Earth orbital satellite was launched, which was the first solar-powered satellite. Although communication with it was lost in 1964, it remains the oldest manmade satellite still in orbit. It was designed to test the launch capabilities of a three-stage launch vehicle as a part of Project Vanguard, and the effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit. It…
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