In 1958, President Eisenhower signed a public order that created NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a federal agency which would be devoted to space exploration. NASA also had an interest in exploring the military potential of space.
When Apollo 11 landed on the moon in July of 1969 and Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon, the Americans effectively won the Space Race.
Space exploration served as an arena for Cold War competition. In October of 1957, a Soviet missile launched Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite and the first manmade object to be launched into Earth’s orbit. The launch of Sputnik was an unpleasant surprise to Americans. It became important for the United States to expand into space, which was seen as the next frontier of American exploration.
Photo of Sputnik:
Apollo 11 took off from the Kennedy Space Center at 9:32am on July 16th, 1969. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were aboard. Apollo 11 traveled 240,000 miles in 76 hours to enter lunar orbit on July 19th. On July 20th, the lunar module Eagle separated from the command module and began its descent to the moon’s surface, and at 4:17pm it touched down on the moon's surface. Armstrong radioed Mission Control in Houston, Texas with the now-famous message, "The Eagle has landed."