25 Fascinating Facts About The Space Race You Probably Didn’t Know

The space race was one of the most historic events of the twentieth century and played a significant role in the outcome of the Cold War. However, few people are aware of the facts surrounding this unique event in humankind’s history and their knowledge mostly revolves around the first man on the moon and the subsequent moon landing conspiracy theories. Here are 25 facts about the space race that will enlighten and intrigue you at the same time. So buckle your seat belts and get ready to take a trip to the stars.

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On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union became the country that officially started the so-called space race by launching the Sputnik 1, the first Earth satellite in history.

Sputnik 1

A month after the USSR sent Sputnik 1 into space, they sent Sputnik 2, which was the first spacecraft to carry an animal (a dog named Laika) and so the country made history again by becoming the first to successfully send a living organism into orbit.

Sputnik 2


However, something that many people don’t know about this dog is that despite the Soviets initially claiming that Laika had survived in orbit for a week, decades later official Russian sources revealed that Laika lived only a few hours before dying from overheating.


On January 31, 1958, the USA officially entered the space race by launching Explorer 1, the first American satellite to reach orbit. It carried scientific equipment that led to the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belt.



On October 1, 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed and replaced the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA).


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