People have long been fascinated by the Moon but it was not until after the Second World War that the space race began. In the cold war between the Soviet Union and America, the two greatest powers in the world competed in all aspects for supremacy. No area more actively demonstrated this than the space race where the two nations competed in the production of rockets and space flight. Development in both areas offered military advantages. The rockets used to send the first satellites into orbit by the Russians were also used as intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Americans also realised the importance of satellites to spy on the Russians from a secure position in space.
NASA file image of president Kennedy during his famous speech
In May 1961 the United States declared that they would be the first to land a man on the Moon, and they would do this before the end of the sixties. The United States of America achieved their goal with the Apollo 11 mission. Five further landings were made, each landing a further two men on the moon. The later visits included a vehicle in which the astronauts could drive around the surface of the Moon.
NASA Apollo 11 mission image
Although denied at the time the Russians competed to reach the Moon first, however the Russians did achieve many firsts: