Fifty years ago on Saturday, humans made history when NASA’s Apollo 11 mission successfully landed men on the moon.
While taking his first steps on Earth’s only natural satellite on July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong famously said: “It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
It was a giant leap forward for the United States in the space race against the Soviet Union.
Yet the 1960s marked several important accomplishments in space as two opposing sides of the Cold War raced each other to outer space.
Euronews takes a look back at the space race and significance of the moon landing.
A race to the finish line
As the communist Soviet Union and the democratic, capitalist United States poured money into nuclear weapons after World War II, the two opposing world powers raced each other in another domain: space.
The satellite “Sputnik” was the first human-made object to enter into Earth’s orbit in 1957, jumpstarting the space race. In 1958, US President Dwight D Eisenhower created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to meet the challenge.
Early on in the race — yet another arena where the two nations faced off during the Cold War — the Soviets appeared to hold the first place against the United States.
The Soviets would be the first to successfully send and bring animals back from space when dogs Belka and Strelka returned to Earth alive after orbiting the Earth in 1960. The first dog in space, a Soviet stray named Laika, had died within hours…