Exactly 37 years ago today, American and Russian spacecraft docked in space for the first time as part of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. The auspicious event symbolized a new era for what had long been competitive rivalry – The Space Race. Today, the American and Russian space industries are closely integrated. With the end of NASA’s space shuttle program last July, American astronauts now rely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for transport to the International Space Station. Likewise, all private citizens who have traveled to space through Space Adventures (an American company) did so on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Manned spaceflight has now reached another level of competitiveness. While government space agencies deepen their collaboration, a new private space race has started. As private companies race to provide spaceflight opportunities to NASA and private citizens on orbital and suborbital vehicles, many ask who will the winner be. The winner undoubtedly will be any person who has a dream of flying to space in their lifetime. The astronauts of the Apollo Soyuz era only had one way of achieving their dream, and through a mix of incredible skill and good fortune were able to achieve it. Dreamers of today will have a wide array of choice on how to best achieve their own dream.