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  • The Space Race was a 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States, for supremacy in spaceflight capability. The technological superiority required for such supremacy was seen as necessary for national security, and symbolic of ideological superiority. The Space Race spawned pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, unmanned probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and human spaceflight in low Earth orbit and to the Moon. The competition began on August 2, 1955, when the Soviet Union responded to the US announcement four days earlier of intent to launch artificial satellites for the International Geophysical Year, by declaring they would also launch a satellite "in the near future". The Soviet Union beat the US to this, with the October 4, 1957 launch of Sputnik 1. The Space Race peaked with the July 20, 1969 US landing of the first humans on the Moon with Apollo 11, and concluded in a period of détente with the April 1972 agreement on a co-operative Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, resulting in the July 1975 rendezvous in Earth orbit of a US astronaut crew with a Soviet cosmonaut crew.

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