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Sputnik, the Space Race, and NASA

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Saved by Chase Bennett
on March 25, 2024 at 1:04:39 pm
 

Neil and buzz

Topics on the Page

 

The Conditions that Led to the Space Race

 

President Eisenhower’s response to the Soviet’s launching of Sputnik

 

The Creation of NASA

 

The National Defense Education Act of 1958

 

Timeline for the Space Race

 

    • Anniversary of the First Human in Space 

 

 

Overview

 

  • After World War II, many Western European countries such as England, France and Germany were left in shambles. This left the United States and the USSR as the world's largest powers.

 

  • Conflicting ideologies between communism and capitalism created extreme competition between the countries. This led to the Nuclear Arms Race and the Space Race. 

 

  • At the height of the Cold War, the launching of Sputnik caught the West totally by surprise.

 

  • Sputnik - first artificial satellite to be put into orbit, on October 4, 1957. 

 

  • This terrified Eisenhower, and a lot of the country, who were filled with Cold War uncertainties, that the U.S. was no longer number one in advanced technology.

 

    • A week later the U.S. Office of Education published a study confirming that the Soviet Union outranked the United States in every aspect of science and technology.

 

  • The only hope, in Eisenhower’s and many U.S. citizen’s minds, was to reinvigorate American education, to place more emphasis on science, to add more discipline, and to use Sputnik as a threat of thermonuclear war to get kids to focus more.

 

    • Sputnik, not only reformed U.S. education but lead to the Space Race against the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The United States launched Explorer I, Courier 1B, and Project SCORE in response to Soviet advances in the space race

 

 

 Created NASA in 1958; its goal was to compete with the Soviet Union and its space program.

 

 

 

    • Read Sputnik's influence on America from NOVA PBS.

 

    • Watch a CBS news story from October 6th, 1957.

 

    • Click to read History.com's overview of the Sputnik launch.


Click here for a documentary on what became known as the "Sputnik Moment."

 

October Sky Trailer : The trailer for the movie October Sky, a movie based on the true story of a young American who was inspired greatly by the launch of Sputnik and became a engineer for NASA



National Defense Education Act was signed September 2, 1958 and was in response to the Soviets launching of the satellite Sputnik.

 

  • This funded education in the United States with a focus on math, science, and foreign language which the United States was falling behind the Soviet Union in.

 

  • It provided National Defense scholarships for students to pursue higher education in fields that were essential for national defense.

 


Click to see a timeline of the Cold War.

Click for a Crash Course video on the Cold War, including areas regarding US domestic policy.

 

This is a link for a timeline of the Space Race beginning with the launch of Sputnik.

 

5 minute video on the Space Race that details some of the larger, societal implications of it as well. 

 

April 12 is the Anniversary of the First Human in Space

 

  • Yuri Gagarin was the first human to launch into space in 1961
    • Yuri was a Soviet cosmonaut aboard the vessel Vostok 1 

 

 

 

First American Astronaut in Space 

  • American astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American to travel into space aboard Freedom 7, although his flight was suborbital (1961).

 

JFK's Moon Speech 

  • In a speech to Congress (1961), President Kennedy declared the goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade.

 

Gemini Program 

  • The United States developed the Gemini program to test various spaceflight capabilities necessary for the Apollo missions (1961-66).

 

Apollo Program 

  • NASA's Apollo program aimed to land humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth. Apollo 11 achieved this goal on July 20, 1969, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon.

 

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin 

  • Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were American astronauts who made history as the first humans to set foot on the Moon during NASA's Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969.
  • Armstrong, the mission commander, stepped onto the lunar surface first, famously saying, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
  • Aldrin, the lunar module pilot, followed shortly after.
  • Their achievement marked a monumental moment in human history, showcasing the culmination of scientific and engineering efforts in space exploration. 

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