JFK said that nothing in the 1960s was "...more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space..." than getting a man to the moon and back safely. As the Apollo 11 flight neared, the entire nation waited, enraptured. But back in the USSR, the Soviets were also making strides. Though the contest with the Soviets for technological superiority had always been a race, it was now a literal one - a U.S. manned spacecraft was about to chase down a Soviet robotic vessel.
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