The enabling technological step towards lunar and planetary space flight was the development of the military intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). From this, it is only a small incremental step to the development of a rocket capable of launching Earth-orbiting satellites, and then only another small step to one capable of sending spacecraft on trajectories to the Moon and beyond. The developers of ICBMs in both the US and USSR dreamed about space flight from the very beginning, and always in the back of their minds knew that the weapons on which they were working could ultimately be used for space exploration. This was as true for Sergey Korolev in the Soviet Union as for Wernher von Braun both in wartime Germany and later in the US. Each rapidly adapted their large rockets for flights to Earth orbit and beyond. The launch of Sputnik and the first Soviet launches to the Moon were made during the initial months of testing the R-7, the Soviet Union’s first ICBM. Subsequently, various versions of the R-7 became standard launchers for both military and civilian Soviet space missions. The ‘space race’ in the 1960s between these two nations was essentially defined by the development of ever more powerful rockets on both sides.
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