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Tech
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U.S. & World

The Importance of the Space Program in the United States

By on March 10, 2014

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first human-made object to orbit Earth. It was the first step in a new era and huge change for the world. Undoubtedly, this caused great controversy in the United States – How did a communist nation was able to surpass the technology of the United States? Consequently, President Eisenhower founded The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958. Therefore, the United States was able to develop a new space exploration program that would try to surpass the Soviet Union’s program.

The Importance of the Space Program in the United States

Space exploration officially began after the launch of the Sputnik 1. The first being in space was the dog Laika, who was launched in the same year in Sputnik 2. Luna 2 was the first human-made object to impact on the moon in the year 1959. The first man in Space was Yuri Gargarin in the space capsule Vostok 1. Of course, all of these outer-space achievements were made by the Soviet Union. Although no one had ever landed on and explored the moon, yet. However, in August 5th 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, Jr. were the first men to land and explore the moon. Many people do not agree whether the space program was a good idea or bad idea. However, the space program was a good idea because it changed our perspective that the sky is not the limit, created inspiration among American citizens, and created great technology advances.

Is anything impossible in our life times? Is the sky the limit? The space program was able to help us answer these questions. It changed our perspective drastically on what we once thought was impossible and now is possible. It made the human race believe in themselves more than ever before. It provided us with hope of long-term survival for our race. Carl Sagan, a famous astrophysicist, wrote in his book (Pale Blue Dot), “As our telescopes probe the depths of space and time and our spacecraft missions reveal the scale and diversity of worlds even within our own solar system, we are provided with a humbling sense of our place in the universe.” This quote explains the idea of how small our planet is in comparison with the infinite universe that surrounds our planet. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first humans on the Moon, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Undoubtedly, the sky it was not the limit anymore for the human race, but a new beginning.

After witnessing the events happening from 1957 to 1969, it inspired an entire generation of students to pursue math and science careers. It drastically increased the aspiration of many people to become scientists and engineers. Undoubtedly, this help the United States tremendously by gaining more professional on fields such as astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, etc. Not only inspired regular citizens but also a leader of a great nation. On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress the ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. Moreover, On September 12, 1962, President Kennedy delivered a speech describing his goals for the nation’s space effort in the football stadium at Rice University in Houston, Texas:

Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

His goal was achieved on July 20, 1969. Sadly, on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated – six years before this great accomplishment.

Technology is the definition of creating great new artifacts that make our lives easier than before. The space program indeed helped to create great new technological advances for our everyday use. Space exploration brings together many intelligent people from many different fields and puts them to work on some very difficult problems. The result is not only fantastic scientific discoveries, but also many useful inventions. From healthier baby food to technology to better diagnose breast cancer, NASA technology is all around us. NASA has filed more than 6,300 patents since it beginning, according NASA Scientific and Technical Information publications. Technological advances is good for any nation. It means more new products that have not been created before. Consequently, it creases the productivity of the nation by creating new good and services that other nations are willing to consume. In other words, it creates an immense wealth for the nation that has a higher technological advance on their hands.

In conclusion, the space program was not just an obligation that the United States had to do because we felt pressure by the Russians. It was an aspiration beyond our dreams that the American population had to achieve in order to regain hope in what the United States was known for. The United States was and still is the nation were all you dreams can come true. Essentially, that is what the space program did for all the American citizens. It changed our perspective that the sky is not the limit, created inspiration among everyone, and created new great technology that we use in our everyday lives.

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