It is definitely pleasant to be the “king of the world,” a strong authority for the Western world. The States can not make up with the idea that there might be someone else in the world, wanting a place on that throne as well. A throne is meant only for one. The Soviet Union was one of those that had that wish. The USSR was doing its best to catch up with the States.
The shock came in 1957, when the USSR launched the first satellite of the Earth. Several years later, in 1961, Yury Gagarin, a Soviet national, became the first man in space. Americans tried to understand, how it could be possible, they studied a lot of old Soviet newspapers and technical magazines.
Everyone was sure that the center of the world science was the USA. There were rumors saying that the USSR stole an A-bomb technology from the USA. As far as an inter-continental missile is concerned, the Soviet Union could not steal it from anyone, since no one had it. The USSR had an A-bomb and a way to take it to any point of the planet. The cost of a Soviet missile was a lot lower than anyone else’s.
Needless to mention that Americans were really excited about that. They toughened the scientific, designing, and research works. The scientific personnel increased in its number from 460 thousand to 750 thousand people during the period 1960-1982. The spending on the military scientific research was increased from nine to fourteen billion dollars.
The Soviet Union spent ten billion rubles on science, including the defense research – 49 million. The prime cost of the Soviet scientific research was a lot better than the one that America had. Each scientific discovery in the West was basically evaluated with the number of dollars. In Soviet Union it was not about the money, it was about the level of intellectual satisfaction. The people had an idea at that time. They were ready for everything for that idea.
Americans ought to be grateful to the USSR for the launch of the first satellite. The USA rushed forward, leaving the Soviet Union behind on certain aspects. So, the American miracle, which is a common issue of the western propaganda, was actually made by Russians.