Yes. Think of the effect the Dreadnought had on the UK in terms of generating fear of Germans and this is on an incredible higher scale. I mean the Soviets were the first to send an object into space and this implied that they were technologically superior. Now this was nonsense the US quickly got an object into orbit of there own but that's now how the PR played, US was losing because the USSR was doing these things first. Also keep in mind due to the Red Scare the US population had many false notions about the power of the USSR, for example JFK in 1960 ran for President on closing the "missile gap" only to find when he entered office that this gap didn't exist and the US had a huge lead over the USSR. American public was ironically given a Soviet biased account of the Cold War in order to generate support for containment. Cuban Missile Crisis another example, US put missiles in Turkey, USSR responds but the US public just sees it as the USSR putting missiles right off the coast of Florida so they can. While I often talk about the lack of US support for intervention the late 1950s and early 1960s was one where the memory of Korea became distant and fear of the USSR was a major consensus even though in reality the US was technologically superior.