END OF THE SPACE RACE.
FLOWN FLAGS FROM ASTP, THE SYMBOLIC END OF THE SPACE RACE, BEING AMERICAN AND SOVIET FLAGS FLOWN ABOARD THE APOLLO AND SOYUZ SPACECRAFTS. Presentation plaque comprising two flown flags, each 4 by 6 inches, mahogany and metal, the flags behind lucite panels, 21 by 17 inches.
With wording in English and Russian, the plaque reads in part: "Presented to the Honorable Nelson A. Rockefeller. These flags were flown aboard the Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft during the world's first International Manned Space Flight, July 1975. They symbolize the ability of nations to work together successfully in space as well as on earth."
Rockefeller was an early avid supporter of the space race, especially during his role as adviser to president Eisenhower.
The Space Race essentially began in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1, and was arguably "won" in 1969 when the USA put a man on the moon. But it was not until the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975 that the two competitors literally shook hands in Earth's orbit.
This final Apollo mission carried Tom Stafford, Vance Brand, and Deke Slayton. On board the Soyuz were Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov. On July 17, 1975, the two spacecraft docked, and the commanders, Stafford and Leonov, shook hands through the open hatch of the Soyuz, a moment whose symbolism cannot be overstated. The astronauts and cosmonauts then conducted experiments, exchanged certificates, flags and gifts, and ate together.