Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Launches,
Marking End to the Space Race
Launched on July 15, 1975, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was the first joint U.S.-Soviet space mission. It marked the end of the Apollo program and the beginning of the world’s two superpowers working together.
Both spacecraft launched from their respective countries on July 15 and docked together in orbit two days later. The American and Soviet astronauts conducted joint experiments, toured each other’s spacecraft, and shared meals. The crews exchanged flags and gifts before separating 44 hours after docking.
The crews continued to work together in space. Apollo maneuvered in front of the Sun to cause the first man-made eclipse, so Soyuz could take photos of the Sun’s corona. The Apollo crew remained in space for six additional days observing the Earth and the universe. The astronauts studied ocean currents and pollution, volcanoes, and iceberg movements. They expanded our knowledge of distant space with the discovery of the first pulsar (or pulsing star) outside our galaxy and evidence that led to identifying the hottest known dwarf star.
The knowledge gained during the mission was valuable future space programs. People from both countries gained a better understanding of each other by witnessing the crews’ interactions on live television feeds.
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