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The Cold War E03: Precursor to the Space Race

Different backgrounds, the same dream

For ages, no man could imagine going from our home planet Earth to the outer space. Only in the second half of 20th century, two emerging models and superpowers, in order to show their superiority, started to create plans to achieve it what was unthinkable before.

The Soviet Union faction was led by rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, he was released from the gulag just for a single reason - to help the Soviets defeat the USA in Arms and Space race. He is considered to be the father of practical astronautics.

Sergei Korolyov - Horyzonty Techniki 11/1966 By nn (Horyzonty Techniki 11/1966) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The US side was led by a quite controversial personality - visionary ex-Nazi genius Wernher von Braun. No matter how dark their pasts were, they both had a dream to open the gates of heavens to the mankind.

Von Braun, Wernher-dr. In his office with rocket models behind him. 9/16/60. Source: Flickr

Such an ambitious dream had a price, as often to get financing for such a scientific endeavor you had to align yourself with military and politics. The same rockets designed to lift the men to space could carry a weapon of mass destruction to any corner of the world. The space race as romantic as it sounds was also a deadly battle between two giants, as only one could win.

V-2 rocket on Meillerwagen at Operation Backfire near Cuxhaven in 1945 By User Ian Dunster on en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Rockets race

In 1945, at the end of World War II, just before its defeat, in order to turn tides to the other direction, Nazi Germany launches their top secret weapon, designed by the same Wernher von Braun, a rocket v-2, with a V for Vengeance. Just after mere 6 minutes, it was able to reach London 200 miles away, inflicting devastating damage. Von Braun himself stated:

The rocket worked perfectly, e...
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