The U.S versus Soviet Union Space Race caused a rapid increase in worldwide technological advancement, but ended in the collapse of the Russian Government over all the money spent.
The Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union was a mid to late 20th century competition for supremacy in outer space exploration. The Space Race started after World War II. It was originally a missile-based arms race that occurred just after the war ended, when both the Soviet Union and the United States captured advanced German rocket technology and personnel. It was motivated by the Cold War desire to display scientific and technological superiority. Besides displaying their technological superiority both nations were determined to come up with news and improved ways to spy on each other. The race involved pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, sub-orbital and orbital human spaceflight around the earth, and piloted voyages to the moon. Between 1957 and 1975 the ideological and technological rivalry between the two nations was focused on space exploration. The Space Race spared unprecedented increases in spending on education and research, which accelerated scientific advancements which led to additional spin-off technology.
The Space Race can trace its origins to Nazi Germany in the 1930‘s when Germany researched and built operational ballistic missiles. German aerospace engineers experimented with liquid-fueled rockets, with a goal of reaching high altitudes and traveling long distances. The Germans ballistics head Lieutenant Colonel Karl Emil Becker, put together a small team of engineers that included Walter Dornberger and Leo Zanssen, to figure out how to use rockets as long range artillery in order to sneak their way around the Treaty of Versailles ban on research development of long range cannons. Wernher Von Braun, a young engineer was recruited by Becker and Dornberger to join their secret army program held at Kummersdorf-West in 1932. This was a great opportunity for Von Braun because he already had dreams about conquering outer space. During the Second World War, Dornberger was the general and head of the army’s rocket program and Von Braun was the technical director of the ballistics missile program. This was a powerhouse team with lots of knowledge, which led them to build the first vehicle to reach outer space, the Aggregate-4 (A-4) rocket, during it’s test flight program in 1942 and 1943. Because of the rockets huge test flight success by 1943 Germany was mass producing the A-4 as the Vergeltungswaffe 2 (“Vengeance Weapon” 2, or more commonly the V2) This was a ballistic missile with a 200mi range carrying a 2,500lbs warhead at 2,500 mph. The V2’s supersonic speed meant there was no defense against it, and radar provided little warning. With the V2 Germany bombed southern England and Western Europe from 1944 to 1945. After the war the V2 became the early beginnings of the American and Soviet Rocket designs. American, British, and Soviet scientific intelligence teams competed to capture Germany's rocket engineers along with the German rockets themselves and the designs they were based on. Each of the Allies captured a share of the available members of the German rocket team, but the United States benefited the most with Operation Paperclip recruiting Von Braun and most of his engineering team, who later helped develop the American missile and space exploration programs. The United States also acquired a large number of complete V2 rockets. After Von Braun’s team captured the V2 rockets the next step was to find a training ground where their test could begin.
In America, Von Braun and his team were sent to the United States Army’s White Sands Proving Ground, located in New Mexico in 1945. They began by assembling the captured V2’s and started a program of launching them and instructing American engineers in their operation. Some of the major accomplishments of the…