Before humanity received with shock the news of the launch of the first artifact into space in 1957, had not been more than 12 years of having completed the Second World War. The war military conflict that caused severe disruption in political relations and social configuration of the world.
Although the fighting ceased on the ground after the victory of the Allies over the Axis in 1945,
another stage was set; the "Cold War", a fact that meant a great strain for more than four decades between the Soviet Union and the United States both raised as an ideological rival superpowers, political, economic, sporting and cultural.
In this competition between the two systems - the Soviet and norteamericano- would add another element; the Space Race. An ambition to explore the cosmos through artificial satellites, to send humans into space and also leave your footprint on the Moon.
I have always been convinced that the technological component is essential for any country aspiring to establish itself as a power. Although between the USSR and the USA was already brewing rivalry in armaments and material technologies of rockets and missiles, space conquest set a precedent more than important.
In 1952, before learning of the existence of Sputnik 1, the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU, for short) established as the International Geophysical Year to the lapse of time between July 1957 and December 1958, before the forecast intense scientific solar activity on that date.
Two years later, in 1954 the same Board issued a call to all countries on the need to build satellites for mapping the Earth's surface to help investigate the consequences to the planet of cosmic incidents.
One reason used by USA announcing soon plans to launch a satellite fair during the International Geophysical Year. To this date had not yet been formed NASA and the Naval Research Laboratory proposed the "Vanguard" project that later end up failing in their attempts to position a satellite device.
It was then up to the fourth day of October 1957, when the world laid eyes on Moscow to demonstrate such a feat. The information on launching and orbiting of Sputnik I, opened the beginning of an aspiration for many was impossible.
The USSR left a precedent for the story. With a ballistic missile ejected retrofitted Soviet artificial satellite had a weight of 184 pounds and carried once around the Earth every 95 minutes.
As if that were not enough, a month later repeated the feat with Sputnik 2 but leaving another precedent. With the new mission came to the first living space. "Laika" a Moscow bitch.
These events caused some suspicion in the United States, aware of a kind of paranoia about the possibility that the USSR could launch missiles from the satellites to Earth, according to contemporary documents have been generated.
For Americans, it was an obligation to act with rapidity. Upon disposal Initial Project "Vanguard", thought of another rocket. So under the leadership of Werner von Braun, a team of engineers built the Jupiter, an expanded version of the Redstone rocket. Thus 31 January 1958, USA put into orbit the Explorer 1, its first satellite.
The launch of the Soviet Sputnik I, quite possibly, could have caused the creation of the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration born on October 1958.
The Sputnik devices, followed out into space about eight times until 1961; when the Soviets decided to create other strategies to study the cosmos, sending test ship "Vostok" and who became the first man in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.