Over the course of history, the United States and the Soviet Union have competed in many head-to-head races, from nuclear missiles to putting a man on the moon.
When it came to testing nuclear missiles, the U.S. went first. It was in July of 1957 when the United States launched their ICBM, the SM-65 Atlas. To put it plainly, the missiles test launch was an utter failure.
Of course, the Soviets had to follow the U.S.’s failure with a launch of their own. In August, they tested their ICBM and gave it rave reviews, with zero data to go along with the great success.
Many in the U.S. were a little skeptical of the Soviet’s success. However, it was followed by the successful launch of Sputnik. After that, the U.S. kicked it into high gear to close the gap between them and the Soviets.
Of course, that race ended with the United States coming out on top, successfully landing on the moon, long before the Soviets could ever hope to be ready.
Currently, Russia and the United States are on neutral ground when it comes to space. The two countries have agreed to cooperate with one another when it comes to space until December 2030.
According to DW, “The agreement was first signed in 1992 and has since been extended four times. The pact included joint work on the International Space Station, which Russia said at the beginning of March will continue until 2028. It also included cooperation between Roscosmos and NASA — the two countries’ space agencies — as well as Russian rockets ferrying astronauts and supplies to the ISS, after NASA shelved its space shuttle fleet.”
Russia has renewed the agreement even with the United States creating the Space Force. However, tensions between the United States and Russia remain high. From the U.S. accusing Russia of interfering with our election to President Biden calling out President Putin, there has not been much goodwill.
Hopefully, big picture scientists will continue to influence decisions when it comes to cooperating in space instead of political whims.