3…2….1…Ignition…..Sputnik, Flopnik and the Great Space Race!

Posted by on July 28, 2010

If you’ve had a chance to check out our new image of the month, then you might already be aware of the space race in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.  The facts remain that this was an uneasy time for the United States and her citizens.  Our uneasy World War II alliance with the Soviet Union was rapidly degenerating and the threat of Communism for all was the prevalent mood of the time.

So when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in the fall of 1957, according to other sources I found on Wikipedia, the results were:

“…panic overtoook the American public, which created an enormous sense of vulnerability…”

The upshot here was the the Space Race was on!  For the United States, the next few years would see some success in space as well as disasters on the launchpad (particularly for some launches of the Vanguard program–“Flopnik”).

However, overall, the United States began to pour resources and scientific know-how into the space program, which ultimately paved the way for the later successes of NASA, Mercury and Apollo.  For more information, hit the links below and don’t forget to see our previous posts as well:


Ham in Space, or is that a chimp in my chair?

Missiles, Space and the Rock-N-Roll Era!

The Watcher, the Launch and the Horsecollar Grill


(1) Wikipedia Citation, Sputnik

(2) NASA Image, Vanguard

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