Lead: The 1957 Soviet launch of Sputnik, while a noteworthy accomplishment, perhaps had an even greater impact on in the United States.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Russian launch of the first man-made earth satellite and another and another and then manned space flights was interpreted by many as a sign of the west’s collapse. It came during the height of the Cold War. The ability of the Soviet’s to throw a 184 pound satellite into orbit was seen as proof that they could also, toss a nuclear warhead over intercontinental distances. Yet, through it all President Dwight Eisenhower seemed unconcerned. For this unwillingness to lead in the chorus of doomsayers after Sputnik, he paid a terrific price in short-term popularity. The President, however, knew something others did not. From various intelligence sources, including top-secret, illegal U-2 flights over Soviet airspace, he knew, while the Russians were slightly ahead in throw weight, the ability to lift gross tonnage, they were far behind in the micro-technology required to make practical use of space exploration.