back to top

35 Pictures From The Space Race That Are Out Of This World

The moments that brought us to the moon, presented by Getty Images.

Posted on
Keystone-france / Getty Images

US soldiers discover a disassembled V-2 rocket in Berlin, 1945. The V-2 was the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile and one of the Nazis' secret weapons during World War II. Following the end of WWII, Allied forces rushed into Germany to capture its technology and builders.

Getty Images

Left: German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun (center) and other members of the German V-2 rocket development team after their surrender to US forces in Austria, on May 3, 1945. Their subsequent work for the United States brought American rocket science to the forefront almost overnight. Right: The captured German V-2 rocket takes off in a test held at White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, on May 10, 1946.

John Bryson / Getty Images

Military commander and founder of the US Air Force's space and ballistic missile program, Major General Bernard A. Schriever, observes a test firing at Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Laboratory, near Los Angeles in 1957.

Getty Images

Left: Melba Roy, head of the group of NASA mathematicians known as "computers," on March 24, 1952. Roy's computations helped produce orbital element timetables that were crucial to landing a person on the surface of the moon. Right: Six unidentified scientists use ladders and a large chalkboard to work out equations for satellite orbits in 1957.

Getty Images

Left: A laboratory dog wears a space suit and oxygen mask during preparation for space travel at a Soviet base in Moscow in 1957. Right: Malyshka, a Russian space dog, poses here in its snug-fitting space suit with a transparent space helmet beside it. Meanwhile, the newly launched Soviet satellite, Sputnik II, circles the earth, carrying what is reported to be a female husky dog, the first living being to roam space.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

A monkey is fitted with an oxygen mask during a face test at the US Air Force Wright Air Development Center, near Dayton, Ohio, on Jan. 20, 1956.

Getty Images

Left: An orange golf ball floats before Mercury project astronaut Scott Carpenter as he undergoes weightlessness training in an F-100F Super Sabre aircraft in 1959. Right: An unidentified project Mercury astronaut undergoes water training in 1959.

Ralph Morse / The LIFE Picture Collection

An unidentified Navy test subject swings a bat during a game of softball in order to demonstrate an inflatable space suit's flexiblity in 1958.

Ralph Morse / Getty Images

Project Mercury astronauts stand for a group portrait in their pressure suits, 1959. They are, back row from left: Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr., Gus Grissom, and Gordon Cooper; front row from left: Wally Schirra, Deke Slayton, John Glenn, and Scott Carpenter.

Ralph Morse / Getty Images

A group of the wives of Project Mercury astronauts relax and talk together in Virgina, 1959. They are, clockwise from lower left: Rene Carpenter, Annie Glenn, Jo Schirra, Betty Grissom (on couch at right), Marjorie Slayton (on floor at right), and Trudy Cooper (standing with serving tray).

Svf2 / Getty Images

From left: Soviet cosmonauts Vladislav Volkov, Viktor Gorbatko, and Anatoly Filipchenko look over their camera equipment during a break from training for the Soyuz 7 mission in 1969.

Sovfoto / Getty Images

Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin prepares for the launch of Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961, before becoming the first human to enter space.

Getty Images

Left: The rocket carrying the Mercury "Friendship 7" capsule with US astronaut John Glenn aboard blasts off in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Feb. 20, 1962, for the first US manned orbital flight. Right: Lt. Col. John Glenn boards a rescue ship after completing his orbital flight.

Ralph Morse / Getty Images

American astronauts Buzz Aldrin (left, in blue), Charles Bassett (top, in blue), and Theodore Freeman (bottom, in orange), along with several technicians, experience weightlessness in a reduced-gravity aircraft as part of their NASA mission training in 1964. Theodore Freeman was killed that same year in T-38 jet and was the first NASA casualty during the Space Race.

Ullstein Bild / Getty Images

The Apollo 1 capsule is seen charred after a fire inside killed all three astronauts onboard on Jan. 27, 1967. Gus Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chaffee were scheduled for launch in just three weeks after the tragedy took place.

Universal History Archive / Getty Images

Astronaut Neil Armstrong holds back tears after first witnessing the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 space mission.

Lee Balterman / Getty Images

Joan Aldrin, wife of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, expresses relief as she watches the television broadcast of her husband's successful mission to the moon.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Schoolchildren in Paris wait at the airport for the arrival of the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Aboard the USS Hornet aircraft carrier, President Richard Nixon laughs with Apollo 11 astronauts as they exchange greetings through the window of the ship's Mobile Quarantine Facility.

Want more? Check out more iconic pictures from the Space Race at Getty Images.

BuzzFeed's resident photo geek.

Contact Gabriel H. Sanchez at gabriel.sanchez@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.