The Soviet Union launch Sputnik 1 and it landed on the moon on October 4 1957, becoming the first nation to put anything in space. This was the beginning of the Space Race. The U.S. thought that they had better technology than the Soviet Union. By seeing this they all collectively pooped their pants.
About a month later on November 7 1957, the Soviet Union also becoming the first country to people a living thing in space, which was dog named Laika. This spacecraft was named Sputnik 2. The dog sadly never made it back.
Trying to beat the Soviet Union in the Space Race, The United States created NASA.
In 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit the moon. He is from the Soviet Union. He orbited the moon on April 12, 1961.
About a month after Yuri orbited the moon, Alan B. Shepard became the first American to orbit the moon. He did it on May 5, 1961.
The Space Race ended on July 20, 1969 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon. They became the first people to step on the moon. Michael Collins was also on the crew but stayed in the Lunar Module called the Eagle. The United States won the Space Race.