On Oct. 4, 1957, the USSR announced to an unsuspecting world that it had launched the first man-made object ever to successfully orbit earth. Americans were stunned and then terrified. Americans asked themselves what had happened to our academic and technological superiority; could the Soviets overtake us; could their satellites be used as weapons of mass destruction? Recalls the impact the satellite had on the American psyche, and how the shock catapulted the nation from complacency into action.
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