61 years ago today, a milestone in America's race to Space
Sixty-one years ago today, July 29, 1958, America’s exploration of Outer Space became official.
That’s the day President Dwight D. Eisenhower (above, center) signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, effectively creating what would become the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, popularly known as NASA.
(SEE : Sixty Moments in NASA History”: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/timeline/ )
Looking back, rivalry and competition in the form of a Soviet spacecraft called “Sputnik” were motivating forces behind America’s early missions. It’s part of NASA history:
“The Sputnik launch changed everything. As a technical achievement, Sputnik caught the world's attention and the American public off-guard…In addition, the public feared that the Soviets' ability to launch satellites also translated into the capability to launch ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear weapons from Europe to the U.S. Then the Soviets struck again; on November 3, Sputnik II was launched, carrying a much heavier payload, including a dog named Laika.”
(SEE : “Sputnik : The Fiftieth Anniversary https://history.nasa.gov/sputnik/ )
At the time many Earthlings were nervous about anything Soviet-related flying over their heads. In fact, “Sputnik” became part of the vernacular as evidenced by the photo above in which a young boy pulls “Middletown’s Sputnik” in a wagon during what was likely the All-America City Award parade in February 1958.
(SEE : www.midpointelibrary.org > eLibrary > Digital Archives > Sputnik, or http://www.midpointedigitalarchives.org/digital/search/searchterm/sputnik )
Sputnik’s impact “led directly to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). On this date in July 1958 Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act (commonly called the "Space Act")”, which created NASA as of October 1, 1958...”
(See : https://history.nasa.gov/sputnik/ )
In ensuing years NASA would experience thrilling victories and heartrending losses in its exploration of Space. Its astronauts have become national heroes.
And NASA’s mission remains:
“To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.”
Above: Pictured with President Eisenhower on July 29, 1958, are NASA’s Hugh L. Dryden, left, and T. Keith Glennen, right.
Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!