In response to the success of Sputnik, President
Eisenhower ramped up the American space program
and created the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA). The failed launch of the
AmericanVanguard TV3, just months after Sputnik, only
increased NASA’s resolve. Manned launches soon fol-
lowed the satellites. Again, the Soviet Union won the
race, with Yuri Gagarin being the rst man to reach outer
space. It was a unique age of scientic exploration.
Just 12 years after Sputnik orbited Earth, the rst humans
stepped onto the surface of the Moon. The American
Apollo landings were a breathtaking demonstration of
technology, engineering, and the human spirit.
But three years later, the lunar program came to an
abrupt end. Sending astronauts to the Moon was pro-
hibitively expensive, and public interest in the program
was in decline. Plans for a manned mission to Mars were
shelved as the projected budget spiraled out of control.
The chance of mission failure, and subsequent loss of
crew, was analyzed and deemed unacceptably high.
Above: On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the ﬁrst
human to leave a footprint on the Moon’s surface.
Neil Armstrong’s ﬁrst steps on the Moon were watched on
television by an estimated 600 million people.