90th Anniversary Issue: 1960s

The space race, technological optimism and other highlights, 1960–69

By Science News, 19:02 PM March 7, 2012

Race to the moon 

Science News Letter did its best to downplay the Soviet Union’s achievement in launching Sputnik in 1957. “Our rocket scientists have been perfecting … their satellites, instead of concentrating upon scoring a ‘first,’ ” a reporter wrote that year (10/19/57, p. 243). Ongoing Russian victories became hard to swallow during the space race of the 1960s. When cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space, one politician said the United States needed “space enthusiasts who ...

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