How the Space Race Fueled Innovation

Timeline: Milestones of the Space Race (1957-1975)


Soviets launch the first satellite, Sputnik

Launching Sputnik surprised the U.S. and put the U.S.S.R. in the lead. Sputnik's debut ignited the Space Race and led to a fierce U.S.- Soviet competition, which was a metaphor for a geopolitical test of dominance.


JFK's reaction to the first cosmonaut in space

In response to the Soviets launching a cosmonaut into space, President John F. Kennedy felt compelled to launch an American into space. Former Navy pilot Alan Sheppard, shown in his spacesuit, was the first American to be shot into space aboard the Freedom 7.


First U.S. space probe lands on Moon

A task deemed impossible by scientists, the arrival of the first U.S. space-probe on the moon was a success because it was a step toward walking on the moon. 


The moon landing by the Apollo 11 marked a day that will never be forgotten, including the raising of the American flag.


Joint U.S.-Soviet Mission

This is a patch for Apollo-Soyuz project, a joint American-Soviet mission on July 17, 1975, which marks the end of the Space Race.