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The Space Race

What was the Space Race?


- The Space Race was an unofficial competition between America and the Russians during the 1950s and 60s

- It started in 1957 when the USSR luanched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite.
- The US successfully launched Explorer I in 1959.

NASA during the Space Race


Skylab Project Apollo Project Gemini Project Mercury

The Beginning
- Project Mercury was the first US attempt at manned space flight. - NASA had a force of 7 astronauts.

The one-man Mercury capsule

Mercury Redstone

Mercury Atlas

An Ape in Space
- A baby chimpanzee named Ham launched on a sub-orbital flight. - January, 1961.

America Enters the Space Race


- Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space after a 15 minute sub-orbital flight in May, 1961. - Gus Grissom is the 2nd in July of 1961.

Alan Shepard

Gus Grissom

An American in Orbit
- John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth on a 5 hour flight in February of 1962. - He rode the Mercury Atlas rocket.

John Glenn

Mercury Atlas Rocket

Project Mercury 61-63


- Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and Gordon Cooper were the last Mercury Astronauts to fly. - Combined, these three astronauts flew for 48 hours in space and 31 orbits of the Earth.

Gordon Cooper

Wally Schirra

Scott Carpenter

Project Gemini
- Used a two-man capsule on top of the powerful Titan II rocket. - Gemini would teach us the needed techniques to reach the moon.

Notable Gemini Accomplishments


- Ed White became the First American to perform an EVA. It lasted for 43 minutes. - Gemini 6 & 7 became the first spacecraft to rendezvous in orbit.

Project Gemini Successes 65-66


- Gemini 5 Pilots Cooper and Conrad stayed in space for a record of eight days. Enough for a piloted moon mission. August 1965. - Gemini 8 First docking of spacecraft with unmanned Agena vehicle. March 1966.

- Gemini 9 2 hours of EVA time with 22 orbits. June 1966.


- Gemini 11 Highest altitude record of 739 miles along with 33 minutes of EVA time. July 1966. - Gemini 12 5 hours 20 minutes of EVA time performed by Buzz Aldrin. Last Gemini Flight. November 1966.

Off to the Moon


- The Apollo Program was the project that would take Americans to the moon. - The Saturn V rocket was designed for Project Apollo.

The Apollo 1 Tragedy


- On January 27th, 1967 during a test on the launch pad, a fire in the Apollo 1 cabin killed all three crew members. - Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee

America is ready for the Moon


- Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft to break from Earths orbit. It orbited the moon and tested necessary equipment. - Apollo 9 tested the LM in Earth Orbit - Apollo 10 tested the LM in Moon Orbit

Apollo 11
- July 29th, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin performed a 2.5 hour EVA on the surface of the moon. - The landing is the most important scientific achievement of the 20th century. America beat the Russians in the space race.

Some Apollo Accomplishments


- Apollo 13 did not reach the moon, however, the crew returned safely to Earth. April 1970. - Apollo 15 was the first mission to use the lunar rover and accumulated 18 hours of Lunar EVA time. July 1971. - Apollo 17 was the final lunar mission. The crew spent 22 hours walking on the moon. Gene Cernan is the last man to walk on the moon. December 1972.

Project Skylab
- Skylab was the 3nd stage of a Saturn V rocket. It was sent into Earth orbit in May of 1973. - 4 crews were sent to Skylab, the last crew spent 3 months in space.

Apollo-Soyuz Project
- In July 1975, the US and the USSR performed a rendezvous. - It marked the end of the space race and a mutual cooperation between the two countries. - The two ships stayed in combination of 27 hours.

NASA after the space race


- NASA still continues an active unmanned space program.

- The Space Shuttle program operated from 1981 to 2011.


- A total of 325 Americans have been to space compared to 103 Russians.

Questions?