Sputnik, the first space satellite, launched in October, 1957

by James K. Sayre

Back in October, 1967, I was a freshman in Mount Lebanon High School. The launching of Sputnik, the world's first orbiting space satellite was front page news in every newspaper in America.

We were thrilled and impressed by Sputnik. In a few days, the newspapers were print articles about how and when one could see Sputnik. We went out at dusk and could see Sputnik tumbling in the over-the-horizon sunlight. My parents were especially thrilled with this new sky sight, since they had been in college in an astronomy class and had been keen observers of planets and stars since then.

With the launching of the Russian Sputnik, American education was suddenly much more serious about teaching mathematics and science. So as a sophomore in high school, I was treated to being in the Advanced Placement classes in math and science for the next three years. Finally, we were actually challenged in school, after a decade of very easy classes in elementary school and junior high school.




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Web page last updated on 3 October 2007.