For more than a decade, the space race looked bleak for the U.S. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik into space. It was the first unmanned satellite ever to reach such heights. That was followed by a Soviet dog named Laika, which became the first animal to orbit Earth. And then the big one: Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space. American officials knew they had to come big or go home. So JFK ramped up the country's space program and dared the Russians to send someone to the moon. On July 21, 1969, one year after three Americans successfully orbited the moon, Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on its surface. Whoever said, "It's not the destination, but the journey," clearly didn't have the space race in mind.