It’s a warm afternoon in July 1969, and you’ve fallen asleep on the couch. Your big sister pokes you and says, “Wake up or you’ll miss it!”
You sit up and look at the TV. On the screen, an astronaut in a spacesuit steps onto some rocky ground. “That’s one small step for a man,” he says, “one giant leap for mankind.” Your dad says the astronaut is Neil Armstrong. He’s the first person to set foot on the moon!
In the 1950s, the Soviet Union and the United States built more and more powerful weapons. They were in an arms race. Each side tried to make as many nuclear bombs as they could. In 1957, the U.S.S.R. launched the first mission into space. U.S. space scientists started working harder to keep up. Some Americans worried the Soviets would take over the heavens. That’s why the space race is sometimes called the arms race in space.