WK7 10-5 1957 The US Reaction to Sputnik, Manfred Von Ehrenfried (2 pages) (1).pdf - 2 The Sputnik Reaction There is no question that the American

WK7 10-5 1957 The US Reaction to Sputnik, Manfred Von Ehrenfried (2 pages) (1).pdf

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5 © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 M. von Ehrenfried, The Birth of NASA , Springer Praxis Books, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-28428-6_2 There is no question that the American reaction to the launch and orbit of Sputnik on October 4, 1957 was more than unnerving; it even caused fear and foreboding in some. While the satellite was just a 23-inch diameter sphere weighing 184 lbs. that simply went “Beep Beep,” it was the first satellite in orbit. More disturbing was the fact that the upper stage of the R-7 booster rocket weighing over 7 tons was also in orbit. If the Soviets could put that much mass into orbit they could clearly launch a nuclear weapon. If you didn’t believe the news, you could go outside and see it (the upper stage, not the satellite) moving across the night sky; a phenomenon that no one had ever witnessed before. While the United States was trying to digest what had just happened, the Soviets launched a second Sputnik on November 3rd in what was effectively “a slap in the face” or at least a “take that.” This spacecraft weighed 1,120 lbs. and carried a dog named

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