The Dream Comes True

The Dream Comes True

Technological Challenges

Technological Challenges

In The Public View

In The Public View

Piercing Soviet Secrecy

Piercing Soviet Secrecy

The Soviet Union and the United States transfixed the world by launching the first human beings into space in 1961. Engineers and rocketry enthusiasts had planned such missions for decades, but Cold War competition made them a reality. The flights took place during a dangerous time: 1961-62, the years of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Dwight Eisenhower designated Project Mercury a civilian program with a robust public relations component. In contrast, the Soviets shrouded plans for their project in secrecy and only publicized their missions after they were successful.