History Of The Cold War In the late 1950s, a de-Stalinized Soviet Union became a bit more receptive to Korolev's idea of satellites. Not least it would be a significant propaganda coup if the Soviets managed to launch one into orbit; it would signal that they have the ability to strike anywhere on the planet. After years of working on new rocket designs and building a launch center in the middle of the Kazakh steppes, Korolev launched his Sputnik on the R-7 ICBM on October 4, 1957. It was not much; a small metallic sphere with antennaes attached to it capable of little more than transmitting a "Beep. .. beep" radio signal, but it was mankind's first satellite. Sputnik sent shockwaves around the world. The Americans in particular were shocked to be beaten by a communist country that a decade ago was still largely a smoldering ruin. Just as the Americans thought there was a "bomber gap", there was now talk of a "missile gap". The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was up and running one year after Sputnik and
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