Perlumbaan Angkasa

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Perjumpaan modul angkasa Apollo dan Soyuz pada 15 Julai 1975 menandakan berakhirnya Perlumbaan Angkasa

Perlumbaan Angkasa merujuk kepada pertandingan antara Amerika Syarikat dan Kesatuan Soviet, secara kasarnya di antara 1957 hingga 1975, membabitkan usaha selari oleh negara tersebut untuk menjelajah ruang angkasa dengan satelit, menghantar manusia ke angkasa, dan meletakkan manusia di bulan.

Walaupun permulaannya bermula pada teknologi roket awal dalam ketegangan antarabangsa selepas Perang Dunia II, Perlumbaan Angkasa bermula dengan pelancaran Sputnik 1 oleh Kesatuan Soviet pada 4 Oktober 1957. Istilah tersebut bermula sebagai analogi kepada perlumbaan senjata. Perlumbaan Angkasa menjadi sebahagian kebudayaan dan persaingan teknologi penting antara Soviet dan AS semasa Perang Dingin. Teknologi angkasa menjadi arena lebih penting dalam konflik ini, disebabkan isu kegunaan ketenteraan dan kelebihan psikologi bagi meningkatkan moral.

Roket Titan II melancarkan kapal angkasa AS dari 1960-an sehingga 1980-an

Latar sejarah[sunting | sunting sumber]

Pengaruh ketenteraan awal[sunting | sunting sumber]

Roket telah menarik minat pakar sains dan amatur selama 2,100 tahun. Negara China telah menggunakan roket sebagai senjata seawal abad ke-11. Pakar sains Kesatuan Soviet, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky mengemukakan teori pada 1880-an bahawa roket bahan api cecair pelbagai tahap mungkin mampu mencapai angkasa, tetapi hanya pada 1926 seorang saintis Amerika Robert Goddard mereka roket bahan api cecair yang praktikal.

Goddard melakukan kajiannya berkenaan roket secara tersembunyi, kerana masyarakat saintifik, orang awam, malah juga The New York Times melemparkan tohmahan terhadapnya. Ia memerlukan peperangan untuk menonjolkan roket kepada kemahsyuran. Ini merupakan petanda masa depan, kerana sebarang "perlumbaan angkasa" akan dikaitkan dengan cita-cita ketenteraan negara terbabit, walaupun cirinya lebih kepada sains dan "retorik kepada keamanan".

Sumbangan Jerman[sunting | sunting sumber]

Replika V-2 Jerman

Pada pertengahan 1920-an, para saintis Jerman mula menguji roket yang menggunakan bahan api cecair yang berupaya mencapai jarak dan altitud tinggi. Pada tahun 1932, Reichswehr, sebelum Wehrmacht, tertarik dengan roket bagi pengeboman artileri jarak jauh. Wernher von Braun, seorang saintis roket yang bersemangat, terbabit dalam usaha tersebut dan memajukan senjata bagi kegunaan Jerman Nazi dalam Perang Dunia II.

Roket A-4 Jerman, dilancarkan pada tahun 1942, merupakan peluncur/prototaip pertama mencecah angkasa. Pada tahun 1943, Jerman mula menghasilkan penggantinya, roket V-2, dengan jarak 300 km (185 batu) dan membawa 1000 kg (2200 paun) kepala peledak. Wehrmacht melancarkan beribu-ribu V-2 ke pihak Berikat, menyebabkan kerosakan besar dan kehilangan nyawa. Walau bagaimanapun, banyak juga pekerja paksa yang terbunuh dalam penghasilan roket ini.

Selepas perang, tentera Soviet, British, dan AS dan kakitangan saintifik berlumba untuk merampas teknologi dan kakitangan terlatih dari loji program roket Jerman di Peenemünde. USSR dan Britain mendapat sedikit kejayaan, tetapi Amerika Syarikat paling beruntung, mengambil sebahagian besar pakar sains Jerman; antara mereka merupakan ahli parti Nazi, termasuk von Braun – dari Jerman ke Amerika Syarikat sebagai sebahagian dari Operasi Klip Kertas (Operation Paperclip). Di sana para saintis mengubah suai roket bertujuan untuk menentang Britain bagi kegunaan lain.

Saintis roket pasca-perang mula memikirkan soal roket untuk mengkaji altitud tinggi (menerusi radio-telemetri tentang suhu dan tekanan atmosfera), sinar kosmos, dan lain-lain. Usaha tersebut berterusan bawah pimpinan von Braun.

Asal Perang Dingin Perlumbaan Angkasa[sunting | sunting sumber]

Selepas Perang Dunia II Amerika Syarikat dan Kesatuan Soviet terbabit dalam Perang Dingin yang dipenuhi dengan intipan dan propaganda. Penerokaan angkasa dan teknologi satelit boleh digunakan dalam Perang Dingin oleh kedua pihak. Satelit boleh digunakan bagi mengintip negara lain, sementara kejayaan meneroka-angkasa menjadi propaganda bagi menonjolkan kelebihan saintifik dan potensi ketenteraan sesebuah negara. Roket yang sama menghantar manusia ke orbit atau menghentam tempat tertentu di bulan mampu menghantar senjata nuklear ke bandar musuh yang khusus. Kebanyakan kemajuan teknologi yang diperlukan bagi pengembaraan angkasa boleh degunakan dengan baik bagi roket semasa perang seperti Peluru berpandu balistik antara benua (ICBM). Bersama aspek lain dalam perlumbaan senjata, kejayaan di angkasa kelihatannya menjadi petunjuk bagi kelicikan ekonomi dan teknologi, menunjukkan kelebihan ideologi sesebuah negara. Penyelidikan angkasa mempunyai teknologi dwi-kegunaan: ia boleh digunakan bagi tujuan keamanan, tetapi juga menyumbang kepada matlamat ketenteraan.

Kedua kuasa besar berlumba untuk mendapat kelebihan dalam penyelidikan angkasa, sama-sama tidak tahu siapa yang akan berjaya. Asas bagi perlumbaan angkasa telah ada hanya menunggukan picu dipetik sahaja.

Satelit buatan memulakan "perlumbaan"[sunting | sunting sumber]

Sputnik[sunting | sunting sumber]

Sputnik 1 dengan berat tidak lebih 90 kg dan berjaya mengelilingi Bumi lebih dua bulan

Pada 4 Oktober 1957, Soviet berjaya melancarkan Sputnik 1, satelit buatan pertama sampai ke orbit, dan mencetuskan Perlumbaan Angkasa. Pelancaran ini merupakan tamparan yang hebat kepada AS kerana Soviet mengalahkan AS dalam penerokaan angkasa lepas walaupun negara ini jauh lebih miskin dengan memiliki teknologi terkebelakang berbanding AS. Disebabkan kesan ketenteraan dan ekonomi, Sputnik menyebabkan kebimbangan dan memulakan perdebatan politik di Amerika Syarikat. Sebelum Sputnik, penduduk awam Amerika menganggap AS mempunyai kelebihan dalam semua bidang teknologi. Rakan sejawatan Von Braun di Kesatuan Soviet, Sergei Korolev, ketua jurutera yang merekacipta roket R-7 yang menghantar Sputnik ke orbit, kemudiannya akan mereka N-1, untuk melancarkan angkasawan ke bulan. Sebagai tindak balas kepada Sputnik, AS berusaha bersungguh-sungguh bagi mengembalikan kelebihan teknologinya, termasuk mengubah kurikulum persekolahan dengan harapan akan menghasilkan lebih ramai Von Braun dan Korolev. Reaksi ini kini dikenali sebagai krisis Sputnik.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Timbalan Presiden kepada Presiden John F. Kennedy menggambarkan motivasi bagi usaha Amerika ini sebagai berikut:

Di mata dunia, pertama di angkasa bererti pertama, itu saja; kedua di angkasa adalah kedua dalam semua perkara.1

Penduduk awam Amerika, pada mulanya patah semangat dan takut dengan Sputnik, menjadi tertawan dengan projek Amerika yang berikutnya. Pelajar sekolah mengikuti pelancaran berturut-turut, dan pembinaan roket replika menjadi hobi popular. Presiden Kennedy memberikan ucapan yang menggalakkan orang ramai menyokong program angkasa dan cuba menangani mereka yang meragui dan merasakan berjuta dolar lebih baik digunakan bagi membina stok persenjataan sedia ada yang terbukti, dan bagi membasmi kemiskinan.

Kira-kira empat bulan selepas Sputnik, AS melancarkan satelit pertamanya, Explorer I. Dalam tempoh itu, beberapa kegagalan pelancaran yang memalukan berlaku di Cape Canaveral. Pada 31 Januari 1958, Explorer I menjumpai lengkungan sinaran Van Allen. Sementara Soviet dapat gelaran "pertama", Explorer I terbukti sebagai satelit pertama yang melakukan fungsi yang berguna.

Komunikasi satelit[sunting | sunting sumber]

Satelit komunikasi pertama, Projek SCORE, dilancarkan pada 18 Disember 1958, menyampaikan perutusan hari Natal daripada Presiden Eisenhower kepada dunia. Contoh penting satelit komunikasi lain semasa (atau dihasilkan) oleh Perlumbaan Angkasa termasuk:

1962: Telstar: satelit komunikasi merentasi laut (transoceanic) percubaan pertama.
1972: Anik 1: satelit komunikasi dalam negara pertama (Kanada)
1974: WESTAR: satelit komunikasi dalam negara pertama (Amerika Syarikat)
1976: MARISAT: satelit komunikasi bergerak pertama

Satelit lain[sunting | sunting sumber]

AS melancarkan satelit geosegerak pertama, Syncom-2, on 26 Julai 1963. Kejayaan kelas ini ialah piring satelit biasa tidak lagi perlu menjejak orbit satelit, kerana orbit tersebut adalah orbit geopegun. Jadi orang biasa dapat menggunakan komunikasi satelit untuk penyiaran televisyen, selepas dipasang sekali.

Kejayaan lanjut Soviet: Haiwan hidup di angkasa[sunting | sunting sumber]

Haiwan di angkasa[sunting | sunting sumber]

Fail:Laika first living being in space.jpg
Laika menjadi benda hidup pertama di orbit melalui Sputnik 2

Secara teknikal, lalat buah yang dilancarkan oleh A.S. menggunakan roket V-2 yang ditawan dari Jerman pada 1946 menjadi haiwan pertama di angkasa. Mamalia pertama dihantar ke orbit, adalah seekor anjing bernama Laika yang mengembara di dalam Sputnik 2 kepunyaan Soviet pada 1957. Malangnya anjing ini telah mati sebaik sahaja tiba di angkasa lepas akibat tekanan dan "kepanasan melampau". Walaupun begitu, pada 1960 dua ekor anjing Belka dan Strelka berjaya mengelilingi dunia dan pulang dengan selamatnya. Pihak Soviet juga telah berjaya menghantar beberapa ekor kura-kura mengelilingi bulan melalui roket Zond 5 pada bulan September 1968. Manakala pihak Amerika pula telah mengimport beruk dari Afrika, dan menghantar dua ekor beruk ke angkasa lepas sebelum menghantar manusia pula. Selepas itu, para saintis telah menggunakan haiwan tersebut serta keturunannya sebagai bahan kaji selidik bio-perubatan. Hanya pada akhir 1990-an selepas bantahan daripada orang ramai, haiwan tersebut dibebaskan ke dalam hutan.

Manusia di angkasa[sunting | sunting sumber]

Yuri Gagarin seorang angkasawan Soviet merupakan manusia pertama memasuki orbit dengan menggunakan roket Vostok 1 pada 12 April 1961, satu hari bersejarah yang masih diraikan di Rusia dan beberapa negara lain. 23 hari selepas peristiwa itu, Alan Shepard pula menyusul sebagai angkasawan AS yang pertama ke orbit dalam misi Freedom 7. Hampir setahun kemudian iaitu pada 20 Februari 1962, angkasawan John Glenn, dalam Friendship 7, telah menjadi rakyat Amerika pertama mengelilingi bumi.

Penerbangan pertama bagi krew dengan dua orang angkasawan juga berasal dari Soviet pada 11 Ogos-15 Ogos, 1962. Angkasawan wanita dari Soviet, Valentina Tereshkova menjadi wanita pertama ke angkasa pada 16 Jun 1963 dengan roket Vostok 6. Korolev pada asalnya dijadualkan untuk misi Vostok lain dengan jangka waktu yang lebih panjang, akan tetapi dengan pengumuman program Apollo, Premier Khrushchev menuntut lebih banyak "yang pertama". Penerbangan pertama dengan anak kapal melebihi seorang dilakukan oleh Voskhod 1 Soviet, sebuah versi ubahsuai dari kapal angkasa Vostok, telah berlepas pada 12 Oktober 1964. Penerbangan ini juga menandakan buat pertama kalinya anak kapal tidak memakai sut angkasa.

Aleksei Leonov, dari Voskhod 2, yang dilancarkan oleh Soviet pada 18 Mac 1965, telah melakukan jalan angkasa buat pertama kalinya. Misi ini hampir berakhir dengan malapetaka apabila Leonov hampir gagal kembali semula ke kapsul dan, disebabkan kuasa enjin balikkan yang lemah, kapal ini mendarat 1000 batu (1600 km) daripada sasaran. Pada waktu ini, Khrushchev telah meninggalkan pejabat manakala kepimpinan baru Soviet pula tidak memberi sepenuh usaha.

Misi-misi ke bulan[sunting | sunting sumber]

Rencana utama: Pendaratan di bulan

Walaupun kejayaan-kejayaan yang dilakukan oleh Amerika Syarikat dan Kesatuan Soviet menjadi kebanggaan bagi negara mereka, Perlumbaan Angkasa akan terus berlanjutan sehingga manusia pertama berjalan di bulan. Sebelum kejadian ini berlaku, kapal angkasa tanpa penghuni mesti dahulunya menerokai bulan dengan mengambil gambar dan menunjukkan keupayaan mereka untuk mendarat dengan selamat di permukaannya.

Prob tanpa manusia[sunting | sunting sumber]

Berikutan kejayaan Soviet meletakkan satelit pertama ke dalam orbit, Amerika memusatkan usaha mereka untuk menghantar prob ke bulan. Program Pioneer merupakan percubaan pertama A.S. Program Luna Soviet mula beroperasi dengan pelancaran Luna 1 pada 4 Januari 1959. Tujuan program Surveyor robotik A.S adalah untuk mencari tapak pendaratan di bulan. Seterusnya, Apollo 8 melakukan pengorbitan bermanusia pertama di bulan pada 27 Disember 1968, melatakkan batu asas untuk menghantar manusia ke bulan.

Pendaratan manusia di bulan[sunting | sunting sumber]

Walaupun rakyat Soviet sering menewaskan rakyat Amerika dalam mendahului dalam kebanyakan Perlumbaan Angkasa, mereka gagal dalam menewaskan Program Apollo Amerika Syarikat untuk mendaratkan manusia di bulan.

Selepas kejayaan awal Soviet, terutama penerbangan Gagarin, Presiden Kennedy mencari projek rakyat Amerika yang boleh menarik imaginasi umum. Lyndon Johnson championed the Apollo Program, which would economically benefit most of the key states in the next election, particularly his state of Texas, home to NASA's base in Houston. Projek Apollo menyokong dwi-penggunaan teknologi dan dalam pandangan Johnson, ini memberi peluang kepada US untuk mendahului Soviet. Kennedy melihat Apollo sebagai fokus yang ideal bagi usaha rakyat Amerika ke angkasa. He set up funding, shielding space spending from the 1963 tax cut and diverting money from other NASA projects, to the dismay of NASA's leader, James E. Webb.

Kennedy had claimed during the 1960 election that the previous administration had allowed a "missile gap" to develop between the US and USSR, although intelligence failed to confirm this. In conversation with Webb, Kennedy said:

Everything we do ought to really be tied in to getting on to the moon ahead of the Russians... otherwise we shouldn't be spending that kind of money, because I'm not interested in space... The only justification (for the cost) is because we hope to beat the USSR to demonstrate that instead of being behind by a couple of years, by God, we passed them.2.

Kennedy memerlukan mesej yang berbeza bagi mendapatkan sokongan awam. Beliau meminta Johnson untuk menyiasat sebarang kemungkinan manfaat teknologi dan saintifik misi ke bulan. Program itu perlu mematikan kritikan daripada ahli politik di sebelah kiri, yang mahukan lebih banyak wang untuk program sosial dan di sebelah kanan, yang cenderung kepada lebih banyak projek ketenteraan. By emphasizing the scientific payoff and playing on fears of Soviet space dominance, Kennedy and Johnson managed to swing public opinion: by 1965, 58 percent of Americans favored Apollo, up from 33 percent in 1963. After Johnson became President in 1963, his continuing support allowed the program to succeed, as Kennedy had originally hoped.

The USSR was more ambivalent about going to the moon. Soviet leader Khrushchev wanted neither "defeat" by another power, nor the expense of such a project. In October 1963 he said that the USSR was "not at present planning flight by cosmonauts to the moon", while adding that they had not dropped out of the race. A year passed before the USSR committed itself to a moon-landing attempt.

Soviet Soyuz rockets like the one pictured above became the first reliable means to transport objects into Earth orbit.

Kennedy proposed joint programs, such as a moon landing by Soviet and American astronauts and improved weather-monitoring satellites. Khrushchev, sensing an attempt to steal superior Russian space technology, rejected these ideas. Korolev, the RSA's chief designer, had started promoting his Soyuz craft and the N-1 launcher rocket which had the capacity for a manned moon landing. Khrushchev directed Korolev's design bureau to arrange further space firsts by modifying the existing Vostok technology, while a second team started building a completely new launcher and craft, the Proton booster and the Zond, for a manned cislunar flight in 1966. In 1964 the new Soviet leadership gave Korolev the backing for a moon landing effort and brought all manned projects under his direction. With Korolev's death and the failure of the first Soyuz flight in 1967, the co-ordination of the Soviet moon landing program quickly unravelled. The Soviets built a landing craft and selected cosmonauts for the mission that would have placed Aleksei Leonov on the moon's surface, but with the successive launch failures of the N1 booster in 1969, plans for a manned landing suffered first delay and then cancellation.

Earthrise, Dec 22, 1968 (NASA)

Apollo 11 gets there first[sunting | sunting sumber]

While unmanned Soviet probes did reach the moon before any U.S. craft, American Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the lunar surface, after landing in July of 1969. Commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong received backup from command-module pilot Michael Collins and lunar-module pilot Buzz Aldrin in an event watched by over 500 million people around the world. Social commentators widely recognize the lunar landing as one of the defining moments of the 20th century, and Armstrong's words on his first touching the moon's surface became similarly memorable:

That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

Other aspects of the moon landing[sunting | sunting sumber]

Unlike other international rivalries, the Space Race has remained unaffected by the desire for territorial expansion. After its successful landings on the Moon, the U.S. explicitly disclaimed the right to ownership of any part of the Moon.

Some conspiracy theorists still insist that the lunar landing was a hoax. These Apollo moon landing hoax accusations flourish in part because, while many enthusiasts predicted that moon landings would become commonplace, except for the several ensuing Apollo landings in the next decade such predictions have not yet come to pass.

Kejayaan-kejayaan lain[sunting | sunting sumber]

Misi-misi ke planet-planet lain[sunting | sunting sumber]

Zuhrah merupakan planet pertama yang dilintasi oleh kapal angkasa pada 14 Disember 1962.

Soviet merupakan negara pertama yang menghantar prob-prob planet, ke planet Zuhrah dan Marikh pada tahun 1960. Kapal angkasa pertama yang berjaya terbang melalui Zuhrah adalah Mariner 2, yang dihantar oleh A.S. pada 14 Disember 1962. Ia memberi keputusan yang mengejutkan berkenaan suhu permukaan yang tinggi dan ketumpatan udara di Zuhrah. Oleh kerana ia tidak memiliki kamera, penemuannya tidak mendapat perhatian orang ramai sepertimana imej-imej daripada prob angkasa, yang mana jauh melangkaui keupayaan teleskop ahli kaji bintang yang berpangkalan di bumi.

The first craft to land on Venus was the USSR's Venera 7, launched in 1971. Venera 9 then transmitted the first pictures from the surface of another planet. These were only two in the long Venera series; several other previous Venera spacecraft performed flyby and attempted landing missions. Seven other Venera landers followed.

Mariner 10, which flew by Venus on its way to Mercury, was launched in 1974 by the US. It became the first, and so far the only, spacecraft to fly by Mercury.

Mariner 4, launched in 1965 by the U.S., was the first to fly by Mars; it transmitted images that were completely unexpected. Although the first spacecraft on Mars was Mars 3, launched in 1971 by the USSR, it did not return pictures. The first such pictures were transmitted by the US Viking landers of 1976.

The U.S also sent Pioneer 10 on a successful fly by of Jupiter in 1973. This was a precursor to the first flyby of Saturn in 1979 with Pioneer 11, and the first and only flybys of Uranus and Neptune with Voyager 2.

Launches and docking[sunting | sunting sumber]

The first space rendezvous was between Gemini 6 and Gemini 7, both U.S. craft, on December 15 1965. Their successor, Gemini 8, performed the first space docking on March 16 1968. The first automatic space docking was performed by the USSR's Cosmos-186 and Cosmos-188 on October 30 1967.

The first launch from the sea was Scout B, on April 26 1967, by the U.S. The first space station was Salyut 1, on June 7 1971, by the USSR.

Persaingan ketenteraan di angkasa[sunting | sunting sumber]

Out of view, but no less real a competition, was the drive to develop space for military uses. Well before Sputnik, both the US and USSR were developing plans for reconnaissance satellites. The Soviet Zenith spacecraft, which by the dual-use designed in by Korolev eventually became Vostok, was originally a photoimaging satellite. It was in competition with the USAF's Discoverer series, of which Discoverer XIII was the first payload recovered from space - one day ahead of the first Soviet recovered payload.

Program-program ketenteraan angkasa utama dibangunkan oleh A.S dan Soviet, often following a pattern whereby the US only completed a mockup before its program ended, while the USSR built, or even orbited, theirs:

  1. Supersonic Intercontinental Cruise Missile: Navaho (test program stopped) vs. Buran cruise missile (plan)
  2. Small Winged Spacecraft: X-20 Dyna-Soar (mockup) vs. MiG-105 (flight-tested)
  3. Satellite Inspection Capsule: Blue Gemini (mockup) vs. Soyuz interceptor (plan)
  4. Military Space Station: MOL (plan) vs. Almaz (flown somewhat modified as Salyut 2, 3, and 5)
  5. Military Capsule with hatch in heat shield: Gemini B (tested crewless in space) vs. Merkur space capsule (flown crewless as part of TKS)
  6. Ferry to Military Space Station: Gemini Ferry (plan) vs. TKS (flown crewless in space, and docked with a Salyut)

The "end" of the Space Race[sunting | sunting sumber]

While the Sputnik 1 launch can clearly be called the start of the Space Race, its end is more debatable. Most hotly contested during the 1960s, the Space Race continued apace through the Apollo moon landing of 1969. Although they followed Apollo 11 with five more manned lunar landings, American space scientists turned to new arenas. Skylab would gather data, and the Space Shuttle would work on returning spaceships intact from space journeys. Americans would claim that by first landing a man on the moon they had won this unofficial "race". Soviet scientists meanwhile pushed ahead with their own projects, and would likely not have conceded anything like defeat. In any event, as the Cold War cooled, and as other nations began to develop their own space programs, the notion of a continuing "race" between the two superpowers became less real.

Both nations had developed manned military space programs. The USAF had proposed using its Titan missile to launch the Dyna-Soar hypersonic glider that would be used to intercept enemy satellites. This was replaced by the Manned Orbiting Laboratory that used hardware based on the Gemini program to carry out surveillance missions, but this was also cancelled. The USSR commissioned the Almaz program, for a similar manned military space station, which merged with the Salyut program.

The Space Race slowed after the Apollo landing, which many observers describe as its apex or even its end. Others, including space historian Carole Scott and Romanian Dr. Florin Pop's Cold War Project, feel its end was most clearly punctuated by the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission of 1975. The Soviet craft Soyuz-19 met and docked in space with America's Apollo 18, allowing astronauts from the "rival" nations to pass into each other's ship and participate in combined experimentation. Although each country's endeavors in space persisted, they went largely in different "directions", and the notion of a continuing two-nation "race" was outdated after Apollo-Soyuz.

Organization, funding and the economic impact[sunting | sunting sumber]

The huge expenditures and bureaucracy needed to organize successful space exploration led to the creation of national space agencies. The United States and the Soviet Union developed programs focused solely on the scientific and industrial requirement for these efforts.

NASA insignia

On July 29 1958, President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). When it began operations on October 1 1958, NASA consisted mainly of the four laboratories and some 8,000 employees of the government's 46-year-old research agency for aeronautics, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). While its predecessor, NACA, operated on a $5 million budget, NASA funding was rapidly accelerated to $5 billion per year, including huge sums for subcontractors from the private sector. The Apollo 11 moon landing, the high point of NASA's success, was estimated to have cost some $20-25 billion.

Making comparisons of U.S. and Soviet space spending, especially during the Khruschev years, is very difficult. However in 1989, then-Soviet Armed Services Chief of Staff General M. Moiseyev reported that the Soviet Union allocated 6.9 billion rubles (about $4 billion) to its space program that year3. Other Soviet officials estimated that their total manned space expenses totaled about that amount over the entire duration of the programs, with some lower unofficial estimates of about four and half billion rubles. In addition to the murkiness of the figures, such comparisons must also take into account the likely effect of Soviet propaganda, whose goal was to make the Soviet Union look strong and to confuse the Western analysis.

Inefficient organization also plagued the Soviet effort. The USSR had nothing like NASA (the Russian Aviation and Space Agency was created only in the 1990s). Too many political issues in science, imaginary values instead of real ones, and too many personal views handicapped Soviet progress. Every Soviet chief designer had to stand for his ownideas, looking for the patronage of a communist official.

The Soviets were also operating in the face of a largely impoverished population not enjoying the fruits of the expanding U.S. economy. Eventually the Soviets inefficient economy, organization, and lack of funds led them to lose their early advantage. The high economic cost of the space race, along with the extremely expensive arms race, eventualy deepened the economic crisis of the communist economic system and was one of the factors that lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Deaths[sunting | sunting sumber]

When America's Apollo 15 left the moon, the astronauts left behind a memorial to astronauts from both nations who perished during the efforts to reach the moon. In the United States, the first astronauts to die during direct participation in space travel or preparation were from Apollo 1, Command Pilot Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward White, and Pilot Roger Chaffee. These three were killed in a fire during a ground test on January 27, 1967.

Flights of the Soviet Union's Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 11 also resulted in cosmonaut deaths. Soyuz 1 was launched into orbit on April 23 1967, carrying a single cosmonaut, Colonel Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov, who was killed when the spacecraft crashed after return to Earth. In 1971, Soyuz 11's cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolski, Viktor Patsayev, and Vladislav Volkov were asphyxiated during re-entry. There are claims that monitoring of Soviet telemetry has recorded other deaths (based on audio or loss of their telemetered vital signs in spaceflight) which the Soviet Union did not announce.

Other astronauts died in related missions, including four Americans who died in crashes of T-38 aircraft. Russian Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, met a similar death when he crashed in a MiG fighter in 1968.

Garis masa (1957-1975)[sunting | sunting sumber]

Tarikh Kejayaan pertama Negara Nama misi
1946 Binatang di angkasa (lalat buah)  USA USA-ABMA V2
21 Ogos 1957 ICBM Fail:Sovetunio.gif Soviet R-7/SS-6 Sapwood
4 Oktober 1957 Satelit buatan (Bumi) Fail:Sovetunio.gif USSR Sputnik 1
3 November 1957 Binatang di orbit (anjing) Fail:Sovetunio.gif USSR Sputnik 2
31 Januari 1958 Detection of Van Allen belts Fail:Us flag large.png USA-ABMA Explorer I
18 Disember 1958 Satelit komunikasi Fail:Us flag large.png USA-ABMA Projek SCORE
4 Januari 1959 Satelit buatan (matahari) Fail:Sovetunio.gif USSR Luna 1
14 September 1959 Prob ke bulan Fail:Sovetunio.gif USSR Luna 2
17 Februari 1959 Satelit cuaca Fail:Us flag large.png USA-NASA (NRL)1 Vanguard 2
7 Ogos 1959 Gambar bumi yang diambil dari angkasa Fail:Us flag large.png USA-NASA Explorer 6
18 Ogos 1960 Satelit pengawasan Fail:Us flag large.png USA-Air Force KH-1 9009
April 12 1961 Human in orbit Fail:Sovetunio.gif USSR Vostok 1
March 18 1965 Extra-vehicular activity Fail:Sovetunio.gif USSR Voskhod 2
December 15 1965 Orbital rendezvous2 Fail:Us flag large.png USA-NASA Gemini 6A/Gemini 7
March 1 1966 Probe to another planet Fail:Sovetunio.gif USSR Venera 3
July 21 1969 Human on the Moon Fail:Us flag large.png USA-NASA Apollo 11
April 23 1971 Space station Fail:Sovetunio.gif USSR Salyut 1
July 15 1975 First U.S.-USSR joint mission Fail:Sovetunio.gif USSR Fail:Us flag large.png USA-NASA Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

1Project Vanguard was transferred from the NRL to NASA immediately before launch.
2 The Soviet Union had attempted an earlier rendezvous on August 12, 1962. However, Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 were only within five kilometers of one another, and were in different orbital planes. Pravda did not mention this information, and indicated that rendezvous had been accomplished.

Legacy of the Space Race[sunting | sunting sumber]

Advances in technology and education[sunting | sunting sumber]

Technology, especially in aerospace engineering and electronic communication, advanced greatly during this period. The effects of the Space Race however went far beyond rocketry, physics, and astronomy. "Space age technology" extended to fields as diverse as home economics and forest defoliation study, and the push to win the race changed the very ways in which students learned science.

American concerns that they had fallen so quickly behind Russia in the race to space led quickly to a push by legislators and educators for greater emphasis on mathematics and the physical sciences in U.S. schools. America's National Defense Educational Act of 1982 increased funding for these goals from childhood education through the post-graduate level.

The scientists spawned by these efforts helped develop technologies for space exploration which have been adapted to uses ranging from the kitchen to athletic fields. Dried and ready-to-eat foods, stay-dry clothing, and even no-fog ski goggles have their roots in space science. Today over a thousand artificial satellites orbit earth, relaying communications data around the planet and facilitating remote sensing of data on weather, vegetation, and human movements to nations who employ them. In addition, much of the micro-technology which fuels everyday activities from time-keeping to enjoying music derives from research which initially was driven by the Space Race.

The USSR was the undisputed leader in rocketry, even up to the end of the Cold War. The U.S. was superior in electronics, remote sensing, vehicle guidance, and robotic control.

More "space races" to come?[sunting | sunting sumber]

Although its pace was slowed, space exploration continues to advance long after the demise of the first Space Race. The first reusable spacecraft (space shuttle) was launched by the USA on the 20th anniversary of Gagarin's flight, April 12 1981. On November 15 1988, the USSR launched Buran, the first and only automatic reusable spacecraft. Probes, satellites of many types, and huge space telescopes continue to be launched by these and other nations.

The Space Shuttle Columbia seconds after engine ignition, 1981 (NASA)

The possibility of another international "space race" appeared in 2003, with the successful manned space flight of Shenzhou 5 by the People's Republic of China. Their "opponent" could be the United States, which is considering creating a permanent base on the Moon, a manned mission to Mars, or both.

Any subsequent "space race" is likely to be of a different nature. Competition in what might be called "space tourism", to run the first commercial trips into orbit, culminated in a bilateral result. On April 28 2001 American Dennis Tito became the first fee-paying space tourist when he visited the International Space Station on board Russia's Soyuz TM-32. The Ansari X Prize, a competition for private suborbital spaceships, has also been called the new "space race". In late 2004, British aviator-financier Richard Branson announced the launch of Virgin Galactic, a company which will use SpaceShipOne technology, with hopes of launching commercial flights by 2008.

Notes[sunting | sunting sumber]

1 letter from Johnson written to Kennedy on April 28,1961
2 from a tape recording in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library
3 James Oberg, in Final Frontier, as reprinted in The New Book of Popular Science Annual, 1992

Related topics[sunting | sunting sumber]

References[sunting | sunting sumber]

  • An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, Robert Dallek (2003). ISBN 0-316-17238-3
  • Arrows to the Moon: Avro's Engineers and the Space Race , Chris Gainor (2001). ISBN 1-896522-83-1
  • Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon, Colin Burgess, Kate Doolan, Bert Vis (2003). ISBN 0-8032-6212-4
  • Light This Candle : The Life & Times of Alan Shepard--America's First Spaceman, Neal Thompson (2004). ISBN 0-609-61001-5
  • The New Columbia Encyclopedia, Col.Univ.Press (1975).
  • The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe (pbk ed. 2001). ISBN 0-553-38135-0 ISBN 0-613-91667-0
  • Russia in Space: The Failed Frontier?, Brian Harvey (2001). ISBN 1-85233-203-4
  • The Soviet Space Race With Apollo, Asif A. Siddiqi (2003). ISBN 0-8130-2628-8
  • Soyuz: A Universal Spacecraft, Rex Hall, David J. Shayler (2003). ISBN 1-85233-657-9
  • Space for Women: A History of Women With the Right Stuff, Pamela Freni (2002). ISBN 1-931643-12-1
  • Space Exploration, Carole Scott, Eyewitness Books, 1997
  • Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge, Asif A. Siddiqi (2003). ISBN 0-8130-2627-X
  • Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles, Roger E. Bilstein (2003). ISBN 0-8130-2691-1
  • Yeager: An Autobiography, Chuck Yeager (1986). ISBN 0-553-25674-2

Pautan luar[sunting | sunting sumber]