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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Space Race

Documents on the 20th-century competition for supremacy in spaceflight capacity between the United States and the Soviet Union. This collection selected, edited, and annotated by Dr. Asif Siddiqi. See also Documenting the Soviet ICBM Program and New Sources on Sputnik.

  • May 13, 1946

    Decree of the USSR Council of Ministers, 'Questions of Reactive Weaponry'

    Council of Ministers decree on the formation of the postwar Soviet missile industry.

  • October 15, 1951

    Memorandum of D. F. Ustinov to L. P. Beria on the Use of German Specialists

    Summary report on the use of German specialists for Soviet rocket development

  • February 13, 1953

    USSR Council of Ministers Decree, 'On the Plan of Scientific-Research Work on Long-Range Missiles in 1953-1955'

    Council of Ministers decree approving development of several intercontinental missiles

  • November 25, 1953

    Memorandum by V. A. Malyshev, et. al., to the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee on the Creation of a Long-Range Missile with a Nuclear Warhead

    On the creation of a long-range missile to carry nuclear warheads

  • May 26, 1954

    Letter by S. P. Korolev with Enclosed Report by Tikhonravov, 'On the Possibility of the Development of an Artificial Earth Satellite'

    Report on simple satellite proposed by Tikhonravov, addressed to Council of Ministers

  • May 26, 1954

    M. K. Tikhonravov, 'Memorandum on an Artificial Earth Satellite'

    On the possibility of launching the “simplest satellite” along with future considerations of launching humans into space

  • February 12, 1955

    Decree of the USSR Council of Ministers, 'On a New Test Range for the USSR Ministry of Defense'

    Council of Ministers decree approving a launch range in Kazakhstan for testing the ICBM

  • August 05, 1955

    Note of M. V. Khrunichev, V. M. Riabikov, and S. P. Korolev to N. S. Khrushchev and N. A. Bulganin On Work to Create an Artificial Earth Satellite

    Requesting permission to launch a satellite during the International Geophysical Year

  • August 08, 1955

    CPSU Central Committee Presidium Decree, 'On the Creation of an Artificial Satellite of the Earth'

    Presidium (Politburo) decree approving the launch of a satellite during the International Geophysical Year

  • January 30, 1956

    USSR Council of Ministers Decree, 'On the Creation of ‘Object D'

    Council of Ministers decree officially approving the launch of a satellite during the International Geophysical Year

  • July 04, 1956

    Note of Academician I. P. Bardin to N. S. Khrushchev about the Position of Soviet Representatives at a Conference of the Special Committee for the International Geophysical Year

    What Soviet scientists could reveal about Soviet plans when traveling abroad

  • January 05, 1957

    Proposal On the First Launches of Artificial Earth Satellites Before the Start of the International Geophysical Year

    Suggesting launch of a smaller and simpler satellite before the beginning of the International Geophysical Year

  • February 15, 1957

    CPSU Central Committee Presidium Decree, 'On Measures Connected with Carrying out the International Geophysical Year'

    Presidium (Politburo) decree approving request to launch a simpler satellite at the beginning of the International Geophysical Yea

  • April 10, 1957

    Memorandum from V. M. Riabikov and S. P. Korolev to N. S. Khrushchev on the State of Preparations for the First Launch of the R-7 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

    Preparations to launch the first R-7 ICBM

  • May 16, 1957

    Report of V. M. Riabikov, M. I. Nedelin, K. N. Rudnev, and S. P. Korolev to the CPSU Central Committee

    Results of first launch of the R-7 ICB

  • September 24, 1957

    Note of V. M. Riabikov, K. N. Rudnev, and Others to the CPSU Central Committee About the Work to Launch Artificial Earth Satellites

    On preparations to launch first Soviet satellite

  • September 26, 1957

    Decree of the CPSU Central Committee Presidium, 'On the Launch of an Artificial Satellite of the Earth'

    Presidium (Politburo) decree approving launch of satellite

  • September 26, 1957

    Council of Ministers Decree, 'On the Launch of an Artificial Satellite of the Earth'

    Approving the launch of the first Soviet satellite.

  • October 05, 1957

    Pravda Newspaper Article, 'Announcement of the First Satellite'

    Announcement of the launch of the first artificial "sputnik" satellite by the Soviet Union.