As space travel became a realistic possibility, a “space race” developed, with the United States pitted against Russia to be the first to achieve milestones such as orbiting the earth and landing on the moon. Americans were glued to television screens in July 1969 as Neil Armstrong became the first human to step on the moon, and every previous and subsequent milestone has been the subject of intense interest among people in all walks of life. Texas was an integral part of this phenomenon and it left an indelible imprint on the culture and personality of the state.
Space has captivated the imagination of humankind since history began. Early societies tracked planetary movement and oriented buildings accordingly, navigators relied on the stars to make their way across oceans, and myths were written around constellations.