Description of the event

The climate of “cold war”, with a strict ideological contrapposition of the world in two blocks, marks each side of the life after the end of World War II. Even sports, science and technology are seen as fields in which demonstrate supremacy, with discoveries as sensational as possible. The new horizon to conquer is now the space and, since the early 50’, American and Soviet scientist’s efforts are aimed to this purpouse.
The first important hit is in the USSR: on October 4th, 1957 they are able to orbit the first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1). Only one week later, the USA reply with Pioneer 1. On November 3rd, the USSR carry into orbit the first living being, a small dog called “Laika”, with the satellite Sputnik 2.
The rush to the more sensational outcome is going on, with continuous thrust and counterthrust during the following three years, but at the end belongs to the USSR the first spatial triumph. On April 12th, 1961 the Soviet cosmonaut Jurij Alekseevi? Gagarin, with the shuttle Vostok 1, completes an orbital flight of 108 minutes around the Earth, at the extraordinary speed of 27.400 km/h.
By this moment the spatial adevnture becomes, for the USA, the more manifest and impressive side of the contest against the USSR; a field in which win back as soon as possible a supremacy lost in a such humiliating way. Nevertheless it takes about one year to do this: the first american orbital flight is completed on February 20th, 1962.
Meanwhile Gagarin, pilot of the USSR Air Force only since 1957, has become in a few hours the most famous man all around the world. He dies in 1968, testing a small aircraft prototype. One year later, an American crew composed by the cosmonauts Armstrong, Glenn and Aldrin would have landed, for the first time in the human history, on the Moon (July 21st, 1969).