The space race was perhaps a microcosm of the 1960s. Our young, optimistic president set the challenge in 1961, and our best minds set to work.

Tensions were high as several countries rushed to settle this new frontier — for good or evil, we weren’t really sure — and amid the dangers we saw heroes die.

But the success was sweet. And televised. July 1969’s moon landing was so fantastic that many still believe it was staged — just one of many of the decade’s unprecedented and unbelievable events.

Above are some photos that capture things we had never seen until the ’60s.

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