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The world changed forever on 4 October 1957, when the Soviet Union announced that it had launched the first man-made satellite, Sputnik 1; the space race had begun. Less than a month later, the Soviet Union launched another satellite, this time carrying a dog called Laika, in order to test the animal's reactions to space travel. The USA followed with its first satellite in February 1958, and by the end of 1959, both superpowers had sent unmanned rockets to the moon.

The first human was launched into space in April 1961. Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union spent 108 minutes orbiting the earth before landing again. But it was November 1969 before American Neil Armstrong walked on the surface of the moon.

Winning the space race was of enormous scientific importance, but it was also a matter of great prestige for both the USA and the Soviet Union. Illingworth refers to this in his cartoons, sometimes portraying Eisenhower and Khrushchev as neighbours and sometimes as enemies, depending on the international climate at the time.

Cartoons about the launching of Sputnik 1 showing Khrushchev celebrating, a dog called Laika being launched into space by the Soviet Union, the first pictures of the dark side of the moon, and the launch of a Soviet satellite.

Cartoons showing the launching of an American rocket, aliens welcome the Americans, Lunik II orbiting the moon, and Roman III landing on the moon