The Second World War came to a close in the mid-20th century, creating a lost generation of trauma and pain. Yet, the conflicts didn’t end there, and the world saw the beginning of another war. Known as the Cold War, tensions grew between the world’s two great powers—the democratic, capitalist United States and the communist Soviet Union in a race where the two parties were pitted against each other in a race to show off military capabilities, technical advancements, and knowledge. The war didn’t become limited to the usual battlefields of land and sea but seemed to extend to the newest space arena.
Accordingly, space explorations served as another dramatic arena for Cold War rivals other than for their fights on land through gun fights, missiles and many other nasty firearms, including political propaganda.
The first bullet was shot by Russia when they launched “Sputnik,” the world’s first artificial satellite and the first man-made object to be placed into the Earth’s orbit, on the 4th of October 1957. The world was stunned, and mainly for Americans, it wasn’t a pleasant surprise. A year later, the USA launched their own satellite, Explorer I and immediately took steps to establish the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which now stands as the leading agency dedicated to space exploration.