The Race to Space

Space, the last frontier, was possibly the most challenging of all to penetrate. Ironically, the penetration of this frontier came about through a period of political strife known as the Cold War. The Cold War was a time of great political tension and struggle, which followed World War II; it was a time when the world was divided by political beliefs and policies. Continents, nations, and even families were divided by political ideologies.This was an era that spawned many conflicts, conflicts that were unforgettable to those who lived through them. For example, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War are such conflicts.There is a battleground, however, that is perhaps one of the most memorable of all, the space race.During the cold war the United States, representing freedom and democracy, and the Soviet Union, representing communism, attempted to outdo each other through great achievements in space and thus glorify themselves and their political system. This was a period when an otherwise beneficial scientific program to explore a new frontier was lost in a heated political battlefield and new and amazing scientific achievements were drowned out or dulled in the mad world of political focus and ambition.
With the Soviets already ahead in the space race in 1957, the Americans were quick to start on Project Mercury to get a man into space. Project Mercury was thefirst chance for American victory in the space race, especially since the Soviet Satellite Sputnik 1 already launched. The scientific significance of Project Mercury was quickly drowned out in the political chaos of the space race.The Russians were already working on a project to get a man into space and the Americans needed to hastily follow suit or lose face in the political battlefield. American scientists worked around the clock to develop a rocket and capsule that would do the job. Because of the politics of the era, the three main goals of Project Mer…

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