If someone were to hear the words “Space Race” they may imagine various planets lacing up their running shoes, and sprinting a few laps around the solar system. While this imagery is certainly amusing, the reality of the Space Race is entirely different. The Space Race actually refers to the rivalry between Cold-War competitors, America and the Soviet Union, regarding achievements in the field of Space exploration. Winning the space race was essential to both countries. Establishing an early lead, the Soviet Union induced the Space race with highly regarded, and unexpected Space achievements. Refusing to be surpassed, America soon followed the example of the Soviets, with matched success in their Space achievements. Later in the race it was determined that the winner would be the first nation to plant their flag on the moon. During the Space Race, both the Soviet Union and America developed and showcased great aerospace capabilities; in spite of a tremendously close race, America was ultimately crowned the champion for reaching the moon first.The Cold War emerged soon after the ending of World War II, when tensions sky-rocketed between the world’s two greatest superpowers, and their allies. Both the democratic United States and the communist Soviet Union sought to justify the superiority of their technology through demonstration of its aerospace capabilities. Dominance in the area of Space exploration became one of many competitions in the Cold War. Advancements in artificial satellites, unmanned space probes, human space flight, and impressive feats in rocketry and space flight demonstrated power, potential, and primacy. (airandspace.si.edu)National pride was not the only incentive for victory in this race. Those who controlled space also were in control of national surveillance, and international stability. The ability to create and fire nuclear warfare was closely associated with the technology used to develop missiles and rockets. (Deborah Cadbury) In fact, when the Soviets launched Sputnik into space, they used an intercontinental ballistic missile, titled R-7. Also known as an ICBM, this technology is a guided ballistic missile with a minimum range of 5,500 kilometers primarily designed for the delivery of nuclear weapons. (cia.gov) Sergei Korolev was the lead developer for the Soviet Union, and headed up the development of R-7. This missile contained enough power to launch a nuclear warhead across the globe to the United States, and was used to launch Satellites into Space. (airandspace.si.edu) If this kind of power fell into the wrong hands, global security could be jeopardized in a matter of moments.The widespread fallacy that the Soviet Union was developing missile technology superior to the United States, is commonly referred to today as the Missile Gap. Unmistakably, the Soviet Union had fixated all of their major efforts into developing technology that once put in motion, there is no defense. (cia.gov) In one fell swoop, the Soviet Union was able to design, develop, and test technology that not only boosted their lead in Space exploration, but provided them with military advantage. It was essential to both countries to develop technology, and finish victoriously in order to have absolute dominion over space, and to maintain control of national security.The Space Race began to unfold on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the satellite Sputnik into orbit. A month later Larika the dog, the first space voyager, orbited around the earth aboard Sputnik II. In the next year, Sputnik III, weighing about 3,000 pounds, was successfully launched. To top it all off, the Soviets succeeded in putting the first man in Space.Sputnik aroused the world. The Soviet Union had succeeded in missile launching Sputnik using the Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile. Over the next three months, Sputnik orbited the earth every hour and a half, and transmitted radio signals for 21 days before being reduced to ashes in the atmosphere. Hardly any people realized that Sputnik was too little to be seen from earth without a telescope. Many were uneasy, and regularly looked up into the sky, expecting to see Sputnik zoom across the night-sky. (cia.gov)Furthering their margin of lead, the Soviet Union fired a second shot to the world with Sputnik II. Besides another great technological advancement, this satellite carried the first living and breathing being- a female dog named Larika. Sputnik II was launched only one month after the alarming sucess of Sputnik I. This satellite weighed half a ton, and outperformed all American efforts at the time. Currently, Americans rockets, the Atlas and the Titian were nowhere near as developed to orbit the earth with a load as massive as 1,000 pounds, let alone advanced enough to support life. (history.nasa.gov) Sputnik II was launched similarly to the R-7, and orbited around the earth, relaying engineering and biological data from the Tral_D telemetry system. Today, researchers have concluded that Larika died after two days in orbit instead of the prospected ten days, due to thermal complications. (nasa.gov) Later the next year, on March 15, the Soviet Union continued to parade their successful array of Space performances with their launch of Sputnik III. According to Nasa Space Science Data Coordinated Archive (nasa.gov), the Sputnik III obtained a mass twice times the weight of the combined previous satellites. Today, Sputnik III is recorded as the largest satellite that was flown at that point in time. On top of these notable achievements, the Soviet Union continued to captivate the world when it became the first to put man into space. Soviet Cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, went down in history as the first man ever to orbit the earth. On April 12, 1961, Gagarin orbited around the earth once aboard Vostok I, thus achieving an pivotal milestone in this race for space, by becoming the first man in Space. After a flight that lasted one hundred eight minutes, Gagarin returned to earth after ejecting from the spacecraft parachuting to safety. (nasa.gov) ______________ said that “Gagarin’s flight strongly fueled the argument that the U. S. S. R. was well ahead in the Space Race.” Through the successful launches of Sputnik I, Sputnik II, Sputnik III, and Gagarin’s heroic expedition on board of the Vostok I, the Soviet Union proved their worth as a contender in this race for Space.Put yourself in America’s shoes for a moment. They had absolute confidence in the superiority of their technology and science, believing all was right and well in the world- when suddenly they heard the news. October 4, 1957, Soviet Russia had launched the World’s first satellite into Space. An artificial satellite, nothing more than the size of a beach ball, transformed the course history. The successful launch of Sputnik initiated agonizing fear and anxiety in their nation. The United States had been outdone, and they were caught completely off guard. Despite Eisenhower’s attempts to minimize the significance of this achievement, the public collapsed in the fear that they were trailing the Soviet Union regarding scientific efforts.