Advanced space exploration with the actual launching of space shuttles, satellites, animals, and people beyond Earth’s atmosphere into outer space began when the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race following World War II. This competition between the two rival countries was instituted as a fight for power by seeing who could put the first space vehicle into orbit and land a man on the moon. During this time period between, 1957-1975, the Soviet Union was the first country to launch and orbit the artificial satellite Sputnik 1 into space in 1957, and later, the United States was the first country to land a man on the moon in 1969 (History of Space Exploration 3, 4).
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These initial space quests were a start to unraveling the mysteries of our universe. Although curiosity for the unknown, dark universe that surrounds planet Earth became heightened when the United States and the Soviet Union began developing space programs, it also led to an explosion of science-fiction genre.
Peaked interest in space exploration during the 20th century required engineers and innovators to construct space transportation vehicles which could overcome gravity and be launched into outer space. They built powerful rockets and space shuttles to transport astronauts and satellites into space and lunar rovers for traversing the moon’s surface for exploration. The first United States rocket was Jupiter C which launched the first scientific satellite, Explorer 1, into orbit on January 31st, 1958 (Military Origins 1). Many different types of satellites were constructed for numerous purposes. Artificial satellites were used to study the Earth, planets, and remote regions of the Universe. Weather satellites assisted meteorologists in predicting the weather, climate, and for tracking major storms like hurricanes. Likewise, Communication satellites were used for transmitting television signals and mobile phone calls around the world. Global positioning satellites were used by the military and civilians to help figure out exact locations on Earth. NASA has launched dozens of satellites into space, starting with the Explorer 1 satellite in 1958 to retrieve information to benefit mankind (Dunbar 2). In early science fiction novels, people claimed that they saw flying saucers or unidentified objects in the sky.
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