60 years of human spaceflight brings in tech changes and emphasis on diversity

If spaceflight used to be viewed as a race between the Soviet Union and the United States, the language today tilts toward imperfect diversity.

Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok-1 mission roared into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in what’s now Kazakhstan 60 years ago today (April 12) in 1961, ushering in a brief-yet-intense competition between the Soviets and the Americans for space supremacy that today we call the “space race.” Simply put, during an incredible decade of innovation, government-funded well-chiseled astronauts rode early rockets to Earth orbit and — for a select few — to the moon’s surface.


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