Did Sputnik Really Scare Americans That Much?

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,740
San Antonio, Tx
My father was 6 years old at the time and still remembers having gone outside into the family hay field to watch it go over.

My late grandfather (a WWII vet), said that upon seeing Sputnik "pass over his house", he was more worried about the U.S.A.'s future than he had been at any time during 'the War'.
You're right, PV. My parents felt the same way. It was a big blow. Incidentally, I do recall the TV scandal well - wasn't it "The $64,000 Question" or something like that, but I don't recall that it was the cause of increased funding for math and science education.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,740
San Antonio, Tx
Rice University got a nice sum of the money which helped them becoming the prestigious Science and Engineering university in the country at the time.
It did, but it had long been one of the most prestigious science and engineering universities in the country. The fact that the NASA HQ at Clear Lake was built on land owned by Rice University didn't hurt, either. LBJ knew it well and he was in charge of Kennedy's space program. When that moonshot was announced, Kennedy made it at the Rice University football stadium. I was there.
 

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Jun 2016
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My father was 6 years old at the time and still remembers having gone outside into the family hay field to watch it go over.

My late grandfather (a WWII vet), said that upon seeing Sputnik "pass over his house", he was more worried about the U.S.A.'s future than he had been at any time during 'the War'.
Even my grandfather told me stories of how panic grasped the government and majority of fellow Americans. Glad that the panic resulted in betterment of our school system :) Look where we are today. NASA is the biggest force when it comes to space technology.