Scientist from both countries knew that travel between planets would come if they could determine if it is possible for people to live in space for long periods of time. And the two-person rocket ship with no leg room design had to be changed, because Astronauts were quite uncomfortable.
Once again the Soviets were one step ahead of the Americans. On April 19,1971, a tremendous proton rocket sent the first space station,Salyut 1, into orbit. The twenty-ton station was a new model which was a metal cylinder some sixty-five feet long and thirteen feet in diameter that had winglike solar panels. Inside, was three pressurized compartments which would house a crew of three. Cosmonauts aboard the Salyut circled above the Earth in low orbit. This marked the first time people would really be living in space. Two months later the Soviets launched the Salyut 11 and cosmonauts aboard were able to maneuver the spacecraft to the Salyut 1. Docked at the single port the cosmonauts on the Salyut 11 went aboard the Salyut 1. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Soviet citizens watched history in the making on their television sets.
All good things must come to an end, and when the returning Soyuz capsule finally arrived home, all the crew members were found dead. Rumor has it that some unknown factor had killed them, but in actuality a valve connected to the cabin had loosened. Depressurizing the spacecraft during reentry and because the cosmonauts were not wearing spacesuits they died when their air ran out. The tragedy which occured set the Soviet space program back several years.
As a result of the setback, the United States began to catch the Soviets in technological advancements. Thus on July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first American on the moon, fulfilling Kennedy's dream. Also, the U.S. created Skylab, which was their version of a space station. Skylab was very huge and bulky with solar panels mounted on its nose. And with the 10,000 cubic-interior, it offered the crew about the size of a three bedroom house. Skylab was roughly three times the size of the Salyut. On May 14, 1973 Skylab was launched atop a Saturn booster rocket. Eleven days later, its first settlers arrived aboard their Apollo command ship and stayed for twenty-eight days. Eventually, the last team which was aboard Skylab had stayed for eighty-four days, which had never been done before. Aboard the Skylab, the American astronauts were having lots of fun. One astronaut said, "We never went anywhere straight; we always did a somesault or a flip on the way." The crews also performed various experiments such as playing darts. They found out they had to shoot it absolutely straight rather than pointing it a tad bit up. As well as conducting such playful scientific demonstrations, the Skylab was able to complete various tasks. They had to keep careful accounts of their own bodily functions. They recorded every mouthful of food they ate, drew daily blood samples, and recorded brain waves while they were sleeping. All this was done to gauge the psychological effects of the experience. Also they gathered tons of data to help engineers design the next space stations and guide others wandering in orbit.
Meanwhile, the Soviets revived their space-program and created the Salyut 6 and Salyut 7 which were greatly improved compared to the earlier Amereican models. Cosmonauts aboard the improved space stations stayed in space for well over half a year or 237 days. In February of 1986, the Soviets launched Mir. It held six docking ports, enabling it to accept various supply or scientific modules. This gave cosmonauts more room for their activities. Because of the comfort and versatility of Mir, the new station was a huge success and in the late 1988 a team of Soviets cosmonauts stayed in space for a record 366 days. Thus, scientist were able to conclude that humans were able to stay alive in space for long periods of time.
As you can see the Soviets were obviously the leaders throughout the "space race." And yet today it is the Americans who are leading in space development. Also, today we have seen astronauts and cosmonauts working together in joint missions to space, after all two heads are better than one. It seems the space race is over, due to the cuts in budget of the space programs in both countries. However the ultimate goal is still out there which is to eventually live in space; and the country which does it first will obviously be the ultimate and unanimous winner of the "space race."