By the time The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was published in 1979, many people had tired of the American and Soviet race for dominance in space. Twenty years earlier, there had been excitement and anticipation in the United States, spurred on by fear that the Soviet Union would be the first country to conquer space.
The first evidence of real progress in the exploration of space was witnessed in 1957, when the citizens of the world woke up one day to find that the Soviets had put an artificial satellite, Sputnik I, into orbit....
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