The Space Race was a 20th century competition between Cold War adversaries to develop superior spaceflight capabilities. Its origins date back to a ballistic missile-based nuclear arms race. Despite the competition for space travel, the Space Race has many facets. Let’s explore some of them. How did the U.S. achieve its supremacy in spaceflight? What were the challenges to U.S. dominance?
The origins of the Space Race can be traced to a rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union to build the most powerful rockets and launch satellites into Earth orbit and eventually carry humans to the Moon. The Space Race was partly a secret war, as Secret Eyes in Space would spy on rival territory and warn of an impending attack. However, there were other factors at play, too, that led to the Space Race’s origins.
The US Air Force’s involvement in the Space Shuttle program led to a fear from the Soviet leadership that the United States would be a threat to its national security. This fear prompted the Soviet Union to develop its own rocketry program. Despite this, the competition escalated during the Cold War. This competition resulted in the creation of national space agencies. The US and the Soviet Union both developed rocketry programs that met their industrial and scientific requirements.
Race to the Moon
More than 60 years after the first moon landing, a new space race has begun. As public and private capital marshal their resources to reach the moon, new players are preparing to take on the challenge. Dominating the moon could mean control of a resource-limited world, and opening up new ways to reach Mars. The Moon’s potential to become a permanent gateway to the rest of our solar system is exciting, and is bound to spark a new space race, but is the race to the moon really about dominating the moon?
The current space competition is shaped by economic and social forces, as well as national and international interests. NASA believes that the Soviet Union may be able to send a multi-person spacecraft around the Moon before the US. This would require developing new rockets to reach space. If the US wanted to dominate the moon, it would need to create a new space station as soon as possible. And the Space Race is only going to become more complicated.
U.S. preeminence in space
With the advent of space technology, the United States has begun sending people beyond low Earth orbit. But experts say that the preeminence of the United States in space could be threatened if other nations take the lead. They point to NASA’s role in nurturing initiatives across the board, including a study of a permanent space station. After the station is built, the next steps would be a return to the moon and then a manned mission to Mars.
Long-term federal investments in space research and technology are critical to maintaining US preeminence in space. These investments are necessary to realize ambitious science goals, maintain a skilled aerospace workforce, and ensure U.S. national security in the decades ahead. But how do we go about sustaining US preeminence in space? Read on to learn about some of the options available to us today. The next step in our nation’s space program is to create a strategic vision.
Challenges to U.S. dominance
As China and Russia continue to increase their space-based capabilities, the United States must fight to maintain its military advantage. The current U.S. space defense strategy is insufficient, and is on a collision course with failure. President Donald Trump’s vision of a Space Force, however, has been overshadowed by an Air Force focused on incremental improvements to its existing equipment and organizational structures. Dominating space requires revolutionary capabilities, deeper resources, and an active partnership with the commercial space industry.
The challenge to U.S. dominance in space requires both offensive and defensive capabilities. While dissuasion may work in the short term, it only works when the other country is unable to compete. Great powers are always in competition with each other. As long as one nation dominates space, the other must be limited. While the U.S. has been the dominant country, others will want to emulate it.