Lead: In the fall of 1957, the Soviet Union confounded skeptics by launching Sputnik, the first man-made earth satellite. The U.S., it seemed, had a way to go.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Soviet achievement was all the more remarkable in that it was accomplished without America’s sophisticated technological base. The Soviets were using enhanced World War II technology. Their booster rockets were probably based on the successful German V-2 design, brought to Russia by German scientists captured at the Baltic Sea Peenemunde (pay na meun da) Rocket complex after the war, but most of those scientists had been repatriated.  The Russian accomplishment was theirs alone. By November they had launched a second Sputnik this one carrying the space dog, Laika.