Space Flight

How did the United States win the space race?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. Despite a string of early successes for the Soviet space program, the United States is widely considered to have won the space race because it was the first to put a man on the moon. At the time, the Soviet Union denied having a lunar program at all, but declassified documents prove otherwise. In contrast, the U.S. government made its wish to land on the moon well known and invested heavily in achieving that goal. Some sources put the level of Soviet investment in a lunar landing at half as much as the United States [source: The New York Times]. With the concentration of political will and financial resources, the Americans were the first to develop a rocket that could reach the moon, successfully launching the Saturn V in 1967. The Soviet option, the N-1, repeatedly failed its attempts to reach the moon. Once the Americans had the proven technology to send astronauts and equipment to the moon, it was only a matter of time before they achieved a lunar landing.

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