For today’s American Culture and History lesson, we’re going to learn about NASA and Space Travel.

In this lesson we’ll learn all about Nasa and its achievements in Space Exploration over the years.

NASA is a government-funded agency of the US that stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Americans are pretty proud of it mainly because of the achievements they’ve had in space research, robotic spaceflight and human space exploration.

They’re probably, actually, most well-known for sending the first manned flight to space in 1961 and landing the first three men on the moon in 1969.

In today’s fact of the day, we’re going to talk about the events that led up to the Apollo 11 landing on the moon and how space travel has progressed since then. So let’s flashback to 1957 Russia launched the first artificial satellite to space called Sputnik 1.

It was a space achievement like no other before it and it helped teach scientists about the density of the upper atmosphere. It proved that from a low orbit radio signals could be picked up from Earth. Sputnik was angled at a 65 degree angle enabling it to orbit almost all of the Earth’s surface. To orbit means to take a curved path around a planet or star. Planets orbit the Sun, for example. Orbiting the Earth, as you can imagine, is the sort of advancement that can give one country a huge advantage over another.

So the US panicked. They didn’t want Russia to have more power than them. The US and Russia weren’t good friends at the time, they were actually fierce competitors in this sort of ongoing political war. And so this led to what we call the space race, a competitive battle between the US and Russia to better themselves at space exploration.

American Culture and History Lesson for Intermediate English Learners - NASA and Space Travel

Image Credit: NasaSpaceFlight.com

American Culture and History Lesson

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