This is the President of the United States speaking. Through the marvels of scientific advance, my voice is coming to you via a satellite circling in outer space. My message is a simple one: Through this unique means I convey to you and all mankind, America’s wish for peace on Earth and goodwill toward men everywhere… Dwight David Eisenhower


HISTORIC VIEW OF THE VEREIN FUER RAUMSCHIFFAHRT, 1930. LEFT TO RIGHT: RUDOLF NEBEL, FRANZ RITTER, UNKNOWN, KURT HEINISCH, UNKNOWN, HERMANN OBERTH, UNKNOWN, KLAUS RIEDEL, WERNHER VON BRAUN, UNKNOWN, KLAUS RIEDEL HOLDS EARLY VERSION OR MODEL FOR THE MINIMUM ROCKET, 'MIRAK'.

HISTORIC VIEW OF THE VEREIN FUER RAUMSCHIFFAHRT, 1930. LEFT TO RIGHT: RUDOLF NEBEL, FRANZ RITTER, UNKNOWN, KURT HEINISCH, UNKNOWN, HERMANN OBERTH, UNKNOWN, KLAUS RIEDEL, WERNHER VON BRAUN, UNKNOWN, KLAUS RIEDEL HOLDS EARLY VERSION OR MODEL FOR THE MINIMUM ROCKET, ‘MIRAK’.

A ball, a dog, and a monkey : 1957, the space race begins  Michael D’Antonio  New York : Simon & Schuster, 2007  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 306 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [263]-291) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG   

Photograph shows people walking by a model of Sputnik III at the USSR Exhibition in Sokolniki Park, Moscow, next to the American National Exhibition.

Photograph shows people walking by a model of Sputnik III at the USSR Exhibition in Sokolniki Park, Moscow, next to the American National Exhibition.

When the Soviet Union launched the first orbital satellite, Sputnik I, Americans panicked. The Soviets had nuclear weapons, the Cold War was underway, and now the USSR had taken the lead in the space race. Members of Congress and the press called for an all-out effort to launch a satellite into orbit. With dire warnings about national security in the news almost every day, the armed services saw space as the new military frontier. But President Eisenhower insisted that the space effort, which relied on military technology, be supervised by civilians so that the space race would be peaceful. Meanwhile, the Soviets put a dog inside the next Sputnik, and Americans grew more worried as the first animal in space whirled around the Earth.

 Explorer 1 First U.S. Satellite

Explorer 1 First U.S. Satellite

Throughout 1958 America went space crazy. UFO sightings spiked. Boys from Brooklyn to Burbank shot model rockets into the air. Space-themed beauty pageants became a national phenomenon. The news media flocked to the launchpads on the swampy Florida coast, and reporters reinvented themselves as space correspondents. And finally the Army’s rocket program succeeded. Determined not to be outdone by the Russians, America’s space scientists launched the first primate into space, a small monkey they nicknamed Old Reliable for his calm demeanor. And then at Christmas time, Eisenhower authorized the launch of a secret satellite with a surprise aboard – President Eisenhower’s Christmas Message.

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