Space Race (02:14)
The Soviet Union's program, headed by Sergei Korolev, originally dominated the race; Yuri Gagarin was the first man in orbit. In 1965, Alexei Leonov pioneered the spacewalk. The U.S. announced intent to land a man on the moon, then launched ten Gemini missions.
Setbacks and Tragedies (08:29)
In January 1966, Korolev passed away; his replacement did not possess his passion or skills. Vasily Mishin pushed the Soyuz mission, despite testing failures, launching in April 1967. The flight experienced problems and Vladimir Komarov's parachute system failed; Gagarin died in March 1968.
Lunar Stage (07:33)
Americans honed in-flight docking and spacewalks during Gemini missions; cosmonauts simulated surface walks and tested landings. NASA developed Saturn V; Soviets designed the M-I. In July 1969, Apollo 11 reached the moon; the U.S. landed five more similar missions.
Salyut Space Program
The Soviet Union launched Salyut in April 1971. On June 29th, the crew suffocated in the return capsule after accidental cabin depressurization. During the 1970s, cosmonauts and experts went to the space station for extensive periods; they adopted exercise regimes to combat effects of zero gravity.
Mir Space Station (05:00)
During the mid-1980s, the Soviets launched the first permanent orbital space station. In 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved and the space program became the property of Russia; the United States formed a partnership with Russia.
Mir: Retirement (11:03)
In May 1997, Michael Foale reached the space station; cosmonauts set a cooperative precedent. The facility deteriorated as funds dwindled; a problematic system resulted in a cargo shuttle collision. The crew spent a day in orbit without electricity and six months later, the mission was decommissioned.
Soviet Legacy (02:31)
The International Space Station resulted as collaboration between fifteen agencies. The facility was made possible through 50 years of experience and the technology developed by Russian cosmonauts.
Credits: How Russia Won The Space Race: Episode II (00:35)
Credits: How Russia Won The Space Race: Episode II
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