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Space Flight

             Kennedy delivered one of the most memorable State of the Union addresses in the history of the United States. "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the earth" (http://www.cs.umb.edu/jfklibrary, President John F. Kennedy's Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs). With those words, Kennedy launched a new era of space exploration in the United States. Although the National Aeronautics And Space Administration was created in 1958 by the National Aeronautics and Space Act (http://www.hq.nasa.gov, Key Documents), and the Russians already launched the first satellite into space in 1957, the US was still at a stand still on the subject. What the country needed was a wake-up call, and that is exactly what it got from one of the most celebrated speakers in its history. The new era promised much, but expected little. From USA's struggle to be the dominant world power in the Cold War Era, to the careless depletion of natural resources in the Information Age, space exploration and astronauts were and will be the real keys to the new millennium and beyond. Before looking into the future, or even evaluating the present, one must look in detail at the history of the space project. The missions that gave scientists and engineers the necessary data and experience to make new, safer, more reliable and intricate equipment were launched long before there was realistic talk of sending probes to Mars. The astronauts that helped shape the training programs, took the beatings of primitive flight tests, and died in order to serve their country were born before World War II. And even the Russian Space Program was crucial to what the space program is today. It fueled competition, and provided more resources for American engineers. Until Apollo 11, they were ahead of the Americans in almost everyway, with their launch of Sputnik, a unmanned satellite in 1957, and their countless firsts in orbiting and space walks.

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