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Apollo 11 and The Space Race

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Background

The Space Race had created two strong space programs that would end up competing for space supremacy as a result of the intense competition between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both countries made great emphasis in their efforts to create a stronger national security and foreign relations, turning space into a new area of active competition for political and military advantages (Dunbar, Brian). Only during the late 1980s, with good political relations underway, did momentum for major space advancements begin to build. As the Soviet Union was near collapse, the push for the arms race and competition in space was at its peak, allowing both countries to seriously pursue strategic partnerships in space. “Throughout this political roller-coaster period of history, both countries increased areas of cooperation, including space, as a symbol of warmer relations while cutting cooperation off when ties worsened.”- Dunbar, Brian. The relationship between the U.S and the U.S.S.R in the next years was marked by periods of mistrust and hostility. This made Apollo 11 more important for the image of the United States as the ongoing struggle with the Soviet Union continued. This historic battle between world powers for space supremacy will lead to the most significant space mission that will revolutionize space and technology. Now with the world as the stage the space race begins.

The Space age starts strong for the Soviets as Sputnik or also known as Sputnik 1 was launched into space, orbiting the worlds atmosphere. This send a shockwave across America with thoughts of the United States falling behind being all the talk. With the Cold War just over plans to create the 1st ICBM (Intercontinental ballistic missile) was underway. This would help create the 1st space craft able to reach the moons vicinity and a scientific missile used to gather data in space. The Soviet Union was miles away from the United States and was expected to end up becoming more superior in space, but this would only spark a fire in the newly elected president John F. Kennedy. On September 12, 1962 John F. Kennedy gave a speech in Houston, Texas intended to persuade the American people to support the Apollo program in his famous speech “we choose to go to the moon in this decade not because it’s easy, but because they are hard”. On December 21, 1969 the Apollo 11 crew lands on the moon, Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to walk on another planet during the Apollo 11 mission.

Apollo 11: revolutionary breakthrough

Twenty years after the Apollo 11 mission to the moon technology was still reaping in the benefits. A new way to gather electricity in both space and earth promising clean reusable energy.” Solar panels collect electricity by absorbing light when it strikes the surface and transfers it to a semiconductor. These solar panels are used on calculators, streetlights, houses and on the International Space Station”. The Apollo project also launched major medical breakthrough down on earth. NASAs technology was used to make a heart monitoring device that can tell you symptoms of a heart attack and other heart related problems. “The pulse generator is, in effect, a miniaturized version of the defibrillator used by emergency squads and hospitals to restore rhythmic heartbeat after fibrillation. Once implanted, it needs no specially trained personnel or additional equipment and consists of a microcomputer, a power source and two electrodes that sense heart activity.” This Apollo space mission did not only put the United States in the history books, but it also helped people living in the present and future. For example, “Technology originally developed under NASA contract by Marquardt Corporation, a chemical process was developed to remove toxic waste from used dialysis fluid. This discovery led to the development of a kidney dialysis machine using “sorbent” dialysis, a method of removing urea from human blood by treating a dialysate solution. The process saves electricity and gives the patient greater freedom of movement during treatment”.This massive break through has helped many people who have been diagnosed with cancer and other diseases that can be treated with radiation. I for example remember going to the hospital to visit my great grandma that was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was given less than a few months to live and to our surprise lived for 3 more years. You could barely tell she was sick because she was so energetic and listening to music. Without these advancements in the medication and technology she might have been in more pain. This was only possible because in 1997 NASA had created a medication program that would precisely meter medication for example a patient.

Apollo 11: Modern impact

The Apollo projects and landings have left an electrifying impact on today’s society. One person inspired by this is the CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk. In an Interview with by Times magazine the Buzzing Elon Musk stated, “I’m not sure SpaceX would exist if not for Apollo 11.” “Apollo 11 landing on the moon was probably the most inspiring thing in history”. “And one of the most universally good things in history”. He then states that it inspired him to create SpaceX and everyone that works there. The ambitious billionaire decided to stop waiting for others to do the handy work and put all off his efforts into his space company. “And here we are in 2019. The United States actually does not yet have the ability to send people even to low Earth orbit.”- Elon Musk. The Apollo 11 project was just a steppingstone for humans as it has inspired the Mars Project. A project only thought off as fantasy is becoming a reality thanks to the advancements of Apollo 11. The BFR or better known as the Starship was based from past Apollo rockets was going to be the seed ship that took humans to live on Mars. “On September 17, 2018, SpaceX announced fashion innovator and globally recognized art curator Yusaku Maezawa will be the company’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon in 2023. To date, only 24 people have visited the Moon, with the last of them flying in 1972. This first private lunar passenger flight, featuring a fly-by of the Moon as part of a weeklong mission, will help fund development of SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy (formerly known as BFR), an important step in enabling access for everyday people who dream of flying to space.”- SpaceX. This all began with The Space Race and the Apollo projects that will spark a fire and revolutionize space exploration. The following quote sums up what was inspired that fateful day the United States landed on the moon and revolutionized the future of space. “You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great – and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.” — Elon Musk, SPACEX

Works Cited

  • Dunbar, Brian. “United States-Soviet Space Cooperation during the Cold War.” NASA, NASA, https://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/coldWarCoOp.html.
  • https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/80660main_ApolloFS.pdf https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1156874/moon-landing-inspiring-nasa-apollo-11-motivated-elon-musk-create-spacex-space-news
  • https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1156874/moon-landing-inspiring-nasa-apollo-11-motivated-elon-musk-create-spacex-space-news

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