The Soviet Union was to achieve all the firsts in cosmonautics, except for the first man on the moon, a feat accomplished by the United States of America (Harvey, “The Rebirth of the Russian Space Program”, pp. ix – x). The firsts consisted of the first satellite in orbit, the first animal in orbit, the first laboratory in orbit, the first probe to the moon, the first photographs of the far side of the moon, the first soft-landing on the moon, the first man in space, the first women in space and the first spacewalk. Thus, space exploration was a serious undertaking in the former Soviet Union and the motivation behind such efforts may well have been political, but a desire existed to develop new technology that could provide the Soviet Union with a competitive edge. Efforts made by Soviet scientists had captured the imagination of its political elite and the masses. A desire had existed to ensure that Russia left its mark on the human civilization (Harvey, “The Rebirth of the Russian Space Program”, pp. 7). During The Cold War era, a spirit of competition with the United States and its allies also contributed to the efforts directed towards the exploration of space (Zimmerman, pp. 85). Russian Space Exploration Efforts.
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