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Soviet Space

 

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Overview
Achievements in space exploration have had an impact on science and technology around the world. The study and exploration of space is a quest for excellence and adventure, as well as a thirst for unlocking the secrets of the unknown. The first decade of space exploration was marked by many Soviet and American firsts. In October 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to circle the Earth. A month later, Sputnik II rocketed spaceward carrying a dog, Laika, the first space traveler to orbit our planet. In following years, dozens of American and Soviet satellites were launched, with several probes exploring even more distant regions of space. The real challenge of space exploration was to rocket people into space, and then toward the Moon. The first human to orbit the Earth was Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin. He flew in the Vostok I spaceship for one circuit of the globe in April 1961. During the 1960s, many Soviet cosmonauts and American astronauts mastered space flight. Only U.S. astronauts achieved the goal of landing on the faraway Moon. In 1975, The Soviet Union and the United States worked together to link their respective spaceships above Earth the U.S. Apollo and the Soviet Soyuz 19 a historic first in space cooperation. Today, U.S. space shuttles routinely take astronauts on voyages in Earth's orbit to experiment in microgravity. The Soviet Union uses their Space Station Mir to study the effects of long durations of weightlessness on the cosmonaut space travelers. Built of many modules, the Mir was first launched in 1986. On one expedition aboard the Mir, the cosmonaut team of Musa Manarov and Vladimir Titov spent a total of 366 days, 18 hours and seven minutes in space the current world's record. In recent times, the Soviets have opened up their space program to more and more cooperation with other nations. They also want to commercialize their space program to help reduce its cost. In upcoming years, U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts are expected to once again fly together in space, forging friendships that could lead to a joint mission to the distant dunes of Mars.

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