Florida Space Coast photo of Apollo Rockets at Cape Canaveral

Florida's Space Coast is not only home to the Kennedy Space Center and NASA, but it played a unique role in the Space Race. The US and the USSR were in the heights of the Cold War. While this period may have lacked in armed conflict, the two countries made up for in an epic space-bound competition.

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The Soviet Union got off to an early lead by sending the first satellite into orbit by launching the Sputnik on October 4th, 1957. The USSR increased its lead on the US on November 3rd, 1957, when it launched the first living creature into space, a Laika dog.

The US founded NASA in 1958 and began to catch up. However, the USSR managed to land the first spacecraft on the moon and launch the first man into space before the US made any significant progress. In 1961, the US had finally sent its first man into space. The only challenge left in the space race was getting a man on the moon, but it wouldn't be until eight years later when US astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men on the moon.

Florida's Cape Canaveral was central to the US victory in the space race. An isolated air force base was in Cape Canaveral near the ocean. This location allowed NASA scientists to test rockets freely.

As the space race progressed, migration to Cape Canaveral increased as businesses came to meet the NASA scientists' needs, and a bustling economy began to form. As business boomed in the small Florida town, more and more people flocked to Cape Canaveral to pursue opportunities and exciting proximity to the space race.

Over time, large corporations, such as SpaceX and Lockheed Martin, moved into this Florida region and created a miniature Silicon Valley. Now, Cape Canaveral boasts an up-and-coming technology industry and low costs of living relative to similar technology-centric areas.

In the video below, Trent Saunders of SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler describes a bright future in store for Cape Canaveral. "Over the next 20 years, we predict a significant increase in real estate value with a major influx in population driven by the technology companies and the Kennedy Space Center."

Interested in more Florida history? Read our other articles here.


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