Space Race NASA Companies

The competition began in earnest on August 2, 1955 when the Soviet Union responded to the US announcement four days earlier of intent to launch artificial satellites for the International Geophysical Year, by declaring they would also launch a satellite “in the near future”. The Soviet Union achieved the first successful launch with the October 4, 1957 orbiting of Sputnik 1, and sent the first human to space with the orbital flight of Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. The USSR also sent the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, to space on June 16, 1963, with numerous other firsts taking place over the next few years with regards to flight duration, spacewalks, and related activities. According to Russian sources, these achievements lead to the conclusion that the USSR had an advantage in space technology. [citation needed]