How Much Do You Know About the Race to Put a Man on the Moon?


By: Annette

5 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Following the development of rocketry in the 1930s and 1940s, and its eventual deployment in World War II in the form of the Nazis' infamous V2 rockets, it became abundantly clear to the rising world powers of the time that rockets were the next big thing. Rockets are not the same as jets, which require oxygen in order to burn fuel and are thus limited to the atmosphere. Instead, a rocket can take up its own special kind of fuel that contains the oxygen it needs for combustion, and thus burn an engine out in the void of space.

Once this was possible, naturally humanity began looking skyward, ready to colonize the next frontier. However, as the Cold War rivalry between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics kicked off, people began to wonder whether it might be a good idea to hurry up and get into space before their ideological opponents did. Partly, this was a matter of military security, since space is the ultimate high ground in any future war. Partly, it was about establishing one's own way of life as the right way and carrying the right ideals - democracy, liberty, free speech and so on - into the great wide universe.

People got themselves into space, and then into orbit around the planet. With the moon being the closest heavenly body, it became the next target: the first nation to set foot on the moon would be able to claim victory in the race. How well do you remember this giant leap for mankind?

The competition to put a man on the moon is more commonly known as the ______.

The competition to put a man on the moon first is more commonly known as the Space Race. The U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. both wanted to win.


The Cold War came in the wake of ______.

The Cold War came in the wake of WWII. This war pitted the two great powers of the world against one another.


In what year did Apollo 11 land on the moon?

Apollo 11 famously landed on the moon in 1969. Six more Apollo missions followed by the end of 1972.


Which Apollo crew survived an explosion of an oxygen tank?

Apollo 13 famously survived an explosion of an oxygen tank. This took place in the spacecraft's service module on the way to the moon.


What does Sputnik mean in Russian?

Sputnik means "traveler" in Russian. It was the world's first artificial satellite and man-made object to be placed in orbit.


In what year was Sputnik launched?

Sputnik was launched in 1957. It was sent into space by a Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile.


True or False: Sputnik was a surprise for Americans.

It is true that the launch of Sputnik was a surprise for Americans. And it wasn't a pleasant one, at that.


To Americans, space was viewed as what?

To Americans, space was seen as the next frontier. It was a logical extension of the American tradition of exploration.


The Soviet R-7 missile worried the U.S. because of ______.

The R-7 missile that launched Sputnik worried Americans deeply. It meant that the Russians were seemingly capable of launching a nuclear warhead into U.S. airspace.


In response to Sputnik, the U.S. launched its own satellite, ______.

In response to Sputnik, the U.S. launched Explorer I. It was designed by the U.S. Army under the direction of Wernher von Braun.


Which president signed a public order creating NASA?

The order was signed by Dwight Eisenhower to create NASA. It was a federal agency dedicated to space exploration.


Who launched Luna 2?

The Soviet space program took another big leap forward when they launched Luna 2 in 1959. It was the first space probe to hit the moon.


When did the first person orbit Earth?

In 1961, the first person orbited Earth. His name was Yuri Gagarin, and he was from the Soviet Union.


What was the name of the U.S. effort to send a man to space?

Project Mercury was the U.S.'s effort to send a man into space. NASA designed a small, cone-shaped capsule far lighter than the Russian version.


Who was the first American in space?

Alan Shepard was the first U.S. astronaut to be sent into space. However, he was not actually in orbit.


Who claimed that the U.S. would put a man on the moon before 1970?

John F. Kennedy made the statement that the U.S. would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. His claim ended up being true.


Who was the first American to orbit Earth?

John Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth. It took place in February 1962.


Between 1961 and 1964, NASA's budget was increased by how much?

In a short span of years, NASA's budget was increased by 500%. Talk about heating up the competition!


How many NASA employees were involved in the first moon landing?

There were some 34,000 NASA employees involved in the firstmoon landing. There were also 375,000 employees of industrial and university contractors.


True or False: American astronauts were killed during an Apollo launch simulation.

It's true that American astronauts were lost during an Apollo launch simulation. This took place in January of 1967.


The Soviet space lunar landing program lost speed in the '60s due to ________.

The Soviet landing program lost speed due to a number of factors. One of them was the death of Sergey Korolyov, the chief engineer of the Soviet space program.


Apollo 8 was the first manned space mission to orbit ______.

Apollo 8 was the first manned space mission to orbit the moon. It was launched from Merritt Island, near Cape Canaveral.


Which famous astronaut was on the Apollo 11 mission?

These were the three brave astronauts aboard Apollo 11. They set off on July 16th, 1969.


How many days after takeoff did Apollo 11 land on the moon?

It was 4 days after takeoff that Apollo 11 successfully landed on the moon. Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon's surface.


True or False: By landing on the moon, the U.S.A. officially won the space race.

It's true that by landing on the moon, the U.S.A. effectively won the space race. The Soviets would make four failed attempts to launch a lunar landing craft.


The frenzy of the space race was only encouraged by ________.

The new medium of television had a huge impact on the space race. Astronauts came to be seen as the ultimate American heroes.


During this time, it was common for Soviets to be pictured as ______.

It was common during this time for Soviets to be pictured as villains. Their failed space attempts did not help this any.


After the early 1970s, the U.S. interest in lunar missions _______.

In the wake of the space race, U.S. interest in lunar landings waned. It was ultimately about competition, after all.


When was the first joint Soviet-U.S. space mission?

1975 saw the Apollo-Soyuz mission where three U.S. astronauts were sent aboard an Apollo spacecraft that docked with a Soviet Soyuz vehicle. It was the "handshake in space" heard round the world.


What was aboard Sputnik 2?

Aboard Sputnik 2 there was a dog named Laika. Sputnik 2 was launched one month after Sputnik 1.


What was the name of the first successful weather satellite?

Tiros 1 was launched by NASA as the first successful weather satellite. This took place in 1960.


“Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!”

This is a famous quote from Yuri Gagarin. Amidst the Cold War, he delivered a message of peace.


The USA and USSR both tried to prove their superior _______.

Each nation sought to prove that it was superior. Space became the perfect place to prove a lot of things at the same time!


The Space Race was exacerbated by what?

All these events proved to be fuel for the fire of the Space Race. Tensions in general were at an all-time high between the U.S. and Russia.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!