Video: 1957-1975: The Competition of the Century - America and the Space Race

American History Webinar Series: 1957-1975

National Association of Scholars

In the mid-20th century, America and the USSR competed to launch first satellites, and then humans, into space. Despite an early lead by the USSR, American capabilities quickly overtook their competitors, culminating in the Apollo landings on the moon. President John F. Kennedy portrayed the Space Race as an exercise in national unity that would challenge fears of Soviet technological superiority. The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions captured the excitement of the nation, and marked one of the greatest achievements in human history with the landings on the moon.

What was the national attitude at the time towards the Space Race? How significant of a factor were fears of Soviet technological domination? What is the legacy of the Space Race today?

This webinar features Robert Poole, Professor of History at the University of Central Lancashire and author of Earthrise: How Man First Saw the EarthAndrew Jenks, Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach, and author of The Cosmonaut Who Couldn't Stop Smiling: The Life and Legend of Yuri Gagarin; and Leonard David, award-winning space journalist and author of Moon Rush: The New Space Race. You can find a list of their books for purchase by clicking here.

Photo by Astronaut David R. Scott, Apollo 15 commander. - Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, NASA Image and Video Library, Public Domain,

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