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This Day, 1957


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I was 15 years old and had just come home from my boarding prep school, when my grandmother called me on the phone to tell me that the Russians had launched an earth satellite!  I had long been interested in space and missiles.  My first thought was that if they could do that, they had ICBM's!  It later turned out that wasn't correct.  They had the launch capability, but hadn't solved the reentry problem yet.  Russian "Chief Designer" Korelev needed more time and funds, so he persuaded Nikita Khrushev to allow him to launch Sputnik I to scare the "goose grief" out of America....which it did.  Not only did Wernher von Braun get the go ahead to launch Explorer I the following January, but America's science and engineering education get a big boost.  My high school got the physics course from the Physical Science Study Committee at MIT...delivered weekly to our instructor in the form of mimeographed sheets!  Been quite an adventure on all fronts since then!  If only I was fifty years younger, I'd be down in Texas beating on Elon's door! 

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I was 10 years old and I heard it on the news and I thought Russia was going to bomb us from space! :o

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Our 7th grade science teacher, Mr. Schecter, turned the radio on and we listened to the satellite beeping.  It was just one more thing be scared of, down the list from my Dad, nuclear war, girls, hispanic gang kids, and Miss Rogers the social studies teacher.

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Remember it well.  Ninth grade science teacher got a radio hook up and we listened to it.  That night he set up some telescopes on the football field where thee were no lights at all and a dozen or so of us went to watch it.

 

My 10x binoculars worked just as well once I figured how to use them without wiggling.

 

I also remember some people were scared to death that the USSR was going to be in our back yards before long.

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3 minutes ago, Charlie Harley, #14153 said:

My parents were still four years from finding each other and getting married.


(Couldn’t resist it!)

 

Durned uppity whippersnapper!  

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21 hours ago, Forty Rod SASS 3935 said:

Remember it well.  Ninth grade science teacher got a radio hook up and we listened to it.  That night he set up some telescopes on the football field where thee were no lights at all and a dozen or so of us went to watch it.

 

My 10x binoculars worked just as well once I figured how to use them without wiggling.

 

I also remember some people were scared to death that the USSR was going to be in our back yards before long.

Sputniks I and II were actually too small to see even with binoculars.  I remember watching what I thought was Sputnik blinking on and off as it went over. What it actually was, was the booster trailing it and tumbling over and over.  What I really remember was four years later, when I was hanging around the Holiday Inn's pool at Coca Beach one night when Gherman Titov flew over.  There were a bunch of engineers from NASA, McDonnell-Douglas, et al, (I was working as a summer hire for the Navy's Polaris SLBM program, at the time.)  Yuri Gagarin had flow in April, and only Alan Shepard had flow on his sub-orbital flight. And here was the second Russian in orbit!  You never saw such an angry bunch of guys that night! :angry:

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My Father was working on the development of the weapon system for CF-105 AVRO "ARROW" at RCAF, Station Cold Lake.

He came home that night and predicted the end of the Arrow Project, since it was designed solely as an interceptor of "waves' of Soviet bombers coming over the pole.

The interim interceptor replacement reverted back to the previously rejected, Starfighter.

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I remember that well. I was 7 or 8. Everyone was surprised that the U.S.S.R. was that advanced. Some were worried that perhaps they had an edge on us, and might decide to attack us with nuclear weapons. It was an embarrassment that they seemed to be further along, in the "space race", than we were.

We all thought we had a lot better, and smarter, ex-nazi rocket scientists, than they did. 

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