Space Race and U-2 Incident
IntroductionBeginning in the late 1950s, the US and Soviets competed for influence in the skies. Once the superpowers had ICBMs to deliver nuclear warheads and aircraft for spy missions, they both began to develop space technology.
The Space RaceThe Cold war affected science and education programs of the two countries.The soviets announced the development of the ICBM in August of 1957.They used this to push Sputnik I into space on October 4, 1957. It made the Americans nervous, because they felt as though they had fallen behind in science and technology.
By January 1958, the Americans had launched their own satellite.1961 Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space.
July 20, 1969, the US puts human beings on the moon. Buzz Aldrin claims this as one small step for man One giant leap for mankind.
Geneva Summit and the Open Skies Treaty The Spy Plane IncidentAmericans and Soviets met in Geneva, Switzerland, for a summit meeting in 1955.Eisenhower proposed an open skies treaty that would allow each side to fly over the others territory to learn more about its military abilities.The Soviets rejected the proposal. U.S. believed in it.Eisenhower wanted to gain information about the Soviet military. Remain ahead of the Soviets in military power.On May 1, 1960 the Soviets shot down an American U-2 spy plane sent into the Soviet Union to photograph their military facilities.
Dwight Eisenhower, decided to take a decisive step towards ending the Cold War by arranging a summit meeting with Nikita Khrushchev. He agreed to meet in Paris on 16th May, 1960.
On 1st May, 1960, a high-altitude American photographic reconnaissance aircraft, a Lockheed U-2, was shot down over the Soviet Union and the pilot, Gary Powers, was taken prisoner. On the afternoon of May 1st, when Eisenhower was informed that contact had been lost with the U2, and that the plane was probably lost, a cover story was devised to be disseminated to the American people through the media, which stated that the lost plane was a joint NASA-U.S Air Force weather service mission which had gone down in a lake somewhere in Turkey.
U2 Incident May 1, 1960Gary Francis PowersU2 pilot employed by the CIA
However four days later, on May 5th, in a speech to the Supreme Soviet, Khruschev announced that the Soviet military had shot down the American spy plane and captured the pilot.
Eisenhower, on receiving the news from Allan Dulles, then met with his top advisors on the U2 spy program, and devised a second cover story that would harmonize with the first failed cover story.
After Eisenhower announced an 'investigation' into the incident, it was stated that it was possible that the weather plane might have wandered accidentally into Soviet air space, after the pilot had problems with his oxygen equipment.
To bolster the cover story, a U2 spy plane was quickly painted in the colors of NASA and then paraded before the press on May 6th.
Lockheed U2 Dragon LadyPurpose: High altitude reconnaissanceCeiling: 70,000 ft plus (over15 miles) Soviet interceptors had a ceiling of 50,000 feetSoviets had just developed SAMS capable of reaching 65,000 feet (not very accurate at that altitude)Range: 3,500 milesOriginally used by the CIA authorized by Eisenhower to spy on the Soviet militaryU-2 flights and the U-2 planes themselves were top secret. U.S. officials did not want anyone to know that the country had this kind of technology.
*Khrushchev announced to the world what had happened and demanded a full apology from the United States government. President Eisenhower refuses. However, he argued that the United States government had the right to protect its security by collecting the maximum of information about Soviet military strength. *On 15th May Nikita Khrushchev made another appeal to Dwight Eisenhower to apologize for carrying out aerial spying on the Soviet Union. When he refused, the Soviet delegation left Paris and the summit meeting never took place. Hopes for peace were shattered.
Flight Path of U2 Major Gary Powers
At this time the American government was unaware that the pilot was in Soviet custody and Khrushchev waited almost a week to allow the American cover story to spread before embarrassing the White House by announcing to the world the capture of the pilot and showing images from the rolls of film, as well as information that revealed that plane had never been anywhere near Turkey, but that rather the flight originated in Pakistan and its end destination was Norway. Eisenhower then held a press conference where he in effect admitted to the cover up and stated that as long as two powers were in conflict there would be espionage, and that, while he did not want to be alarmist or overly dramatic, nevertheless Americans should never forget the lessons of Pearl Harbor..
Truth is the first casualty of warfare.What does this statement mean?
Is it permissible for the President of the U.S. to lie to the American people?
What is the cartoon depicting? Give the cartoon a title.
Positive ResultsThe Space Race developed out of the Cold War superpowers search for military dominance. In reality, however, the skies have provided an opportunity for the United States and the Soviet Union, and now Russia, to learn to cooperate and peacefully coexist.
Today - ISSToday, the US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts work together in a joint Space Station effort. The International Space Station (ISS) was begun in 1998 and will most likely be complete by 2011. It is supposed to be in use until at least 2015 and most likely 2020. It can even be seen from Earth.The ISS is home of many scientific efforts, including biology efforts, physics, astronomy, and meteorology.
Operated as a joint project between the five participant space agencies, the station's sections are controlled by mission control centers on the ground operated by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). It is owned through treaties and agreements of the above agencies.It is believed to be the most expensive object ever constructed, with costs ranging somewhere around 160 billion dollars.
Is it worth it?Do you believe that an expenditure of this magnitude is justified? Why or why not?If you worked for these agencies, what would you like to see us get out of a program like this?Several spacecraft have landed on Mars in the last 15 years. What could be some reasons for exploring this planet?
*Group discussion on the last question. Areas that could be discussed- national security/interests, protection of personnel (military), yellow journalism by the media,The American people do not need to know everything that the government is doing,
*Soviet cartoon, The Art of Camouflage Eisenhower trying to cover up the U 2 incident*