Did America Really Win The Space Race?

The usual narrative as follows: The Soviets did shock the good American by putting the first manmade object in orbit. Then the first dog. And then the first man, and the first woman too for good measure. They kept on one-upping Uncle Sam until he got tired of it, gathered his everything to do the impossible, and delivered a momentous uppercut in the form of a size 9 ½ B boot marking and the brave red white and blue on the moon's grey soil. Then, after the customary high-fiving and just celebrating in general, they all went home to beat the reds wherever they need to be beaten. The race has been won after all. Or so we thought. The race continued. Even after the massive upset of '69, the soviets could record another triumph, the first space station in orbit. Then just as in natural order of things (classic human showmanship to his fellows), the following decade saw a back and forth between the two superpowers of the Cold War and humanity did brought up to the sky and announce their intentions to rule it one day. We saw humanity making the first forays into Mars, signifying our interest in extraplanet excursion. We sent probes—markings of our own—into the fringes of known space, setting our foot into the cosmos. And—even when the cold war was still going on—we showed that, though divisions might run deep, we made multinational space endeavours a thing, marking that a humanity together is a humanity strong. Great achievements were made along the way as we continuously raise our own bar of expectations. And so the saying goes, that the journey matters as much, if not more, than the destination. The Space Race spurred within its participants a desire not only to one-up the other, but also to learn, the drive to innovate, the mindset that no obstacle could not be overcome. Along the way, scientists and engineers made great breakthroughs in physics, engineering, computing and statesman and bureaucrats learned a thing or two about helping to run one of the most massive undertakings—the magnitude of which could not be overstated—in human history. Most important of all, all of this happened not only in one country, or two, but across multiple nations from all over the world, and advancements made were not only for the benefit of the space programs being launced, but also much to the developments in other fields due to tangling nature of technology and science. We can thank the Space Race for satellite TVs and memory foam. In the end, to say that one side had won the Space Race is simply asinine since as far as we are aware, on top of space programs still existing until now—only between new faces—each side have their victories to call their own that did contribute in their own way to the human race as a whole. Then if we really do need to answer the classic, ‘Who won the Space Race?' Why, Us of course!

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