Surprisingly for the Western world, the Soviets in 1957 launched the first satellite into orbit: Sputnik (just like the vaccine) and China seems to want to start again the race to discover space.
On April 12, 1961 the first man reached the space: the Soviet cosmonaut Jurij Gagarin managed to complete an entire orbit around the planet.
In 1963 the first woman, always Soviet, Valentina Tereskova, who made 48 tours around the earth.
Actually, the first creature launched into space was a dog named Laika, also from the Soviet Union.
Unfortunately, the story of Laika is a bad experience about which the truth has recently been discovered.
More than an "spacedog", the poor animal was used as a test and launched on a mission that was known to never return. There are various positions on how she died.
What about the US?
Started as ultra-favorites in the space race, they were petrified by the Russian momentum even though in reality their first man was launched a few days later on May 5 of the same year with astronaut Alan Shepard aboard.
The US stun was short-lived, however.
On September 12, 1962, US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy made a famous speech to the nation in which he asked the American people for support for the Apollo program; program with which the United States spent huge resources with the very specific purpose of getting to set foot on the Moon BEFORE the Soviets succeeded.
And it actually happened.
On July 21, 1969, the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) detached from the Apollo 11 space shuttle that landed successfully on the moon.
At 4:56 am under the eyes of millions of viewers watching the landing on TV, Commander Neil Armstrong set the first footprint on the lunar soil.
The sentence that celebrated the event remains pure history: "That's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind".
With this conquest the race was over and the United States the indisputable winners.
In the following years, space research continued but at a much slower approach.
On the one hand, the end of the Cold War and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union took away interest in the competition and on the other hand the ever higher costs and numerous accidents (from the failure of the Apollo 13 mission to the destruction of two shuttles: the Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003), greatly reduced the resources allocated to space.
But beyond the inevitable technological and military fallout, what did this space race really represent?
Fu una guerra tra due sistemi sociali: capitalismo contro comunismo, blocco occidentale contro blocco orientale, stati uniti contro unione sovietica.
A show-off of strengths that saw the US winners and which was perhaps the first sign of how the USSR could not compete for long against the US. The reason? simply, because the American economy was too strong.
What's the rule of China in this story?
The end of the first part...
GO BEYOND THE WALL