People have always been intrigued by space travel. They have looked to the stars for thousands of years and what lies in the heavens. Ancient man believed that universe above the Earth belonged to their gods. Other people looked at the sky with great awe and fear. Humans could not travel into the universe in the past. With the use of modern technology they can now perform this feat. Space travel is an important part of mankind’s existence.
People have only been traveling into space for less than 55 years. This is is short amount of time when compared to the rest of history. Space travel is still fairly new and its history is still being written. Here is brief overview of space travel and the achievements that have been made with this new frontier of exploration.
Exploration and the Human Need for Discovery
People have been exploring the world for thousands of years and space exploration is just a natural progression for human activity. The universe is a vast place that requires technology to travel through the stars. Before the discovery of human flight by the Orville Brothers and experiments with rockets this was impossible. Once flight technology was invented it allowed people to reach the heavens. Space exploration had become a reality. Now that man can explore space, governments are making calculated trips in the discovery of new planets and different parts of the solar system.
Why did Nations want to go into Space?
Space travel was born from man’s need to visit the heavens. It also was an extension of a nation’s power at the time. Nationalism was strong during the late 19th to mid 20th centuries. The United States and Russia were two countries that were considered superpowers during that period in time. These nations had fought in both world wars and had established themselves as leaders in the world.
Around the time that the space exploration started to take both nations were fighting each other indirectly for influence over the Earth. Russia was pushing a communist, socialist agenda and the US endorsed democracy and capitalism. These two countries were locked in a Cold War were both sides were in conflict with each other in terms of political maneuvering and displays of power.
One way that the US and Russia fought one another was through the creation of space programs. Both sides wanted to be the first to send people into outer space. Both sides created and invented technology that would allow them to travel to space to claim this honor. Even though the motives for exploration might have been tainted with national dominance; their efforts had helped to propel the world into a new era of existence.
Russia and America: The First Space Programs
Russia and America had the first space programs. Both of these countries were the only major superpowers of the time that had the technology, knowledge, trained professionals and income to send people into space.
Russia’s program in the 1930s and it was extremely successful. The Russians space program was actually boosted by captured German scientists from World War II who helped the Russian scientists to better understand rocketry and its importance to space flight. America also had taken German scientists back to the US and they taken their documents on rocketry as well. The former Russian space program was controlled by seven different agencies. It was also a top secret military operation.