The Space Race was a competition between the US and the USSR to see who could build the best technology the quickest.
On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union released the first ever satellite into orbit around the Earth.
This event marked a major point in the Cold War. Although they were not fighting, the US and the USSR were still battling each other in the competition of who would have the better technology. From this amazing lead, it looked a lot like the Soviet Union was going to win this race.