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On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik into space, and this has changed the way the United States viewed Russia. The United States from that moment on knew that they had lost the race to space and solidified that the US had fallen behind the Soviet Union when it came to scientific advancements. At that moment, the US knew that if Russia can send a radio transmitter into space, who knows what other scientific innovations they had in the regards to military artillery. In the book, Science and Culture throughout History, Bowles (2012) writes:
The Russian success became a cultural watershed moment. As the visible dim blinking of this Soviet craft passed over rural America, it made the Cold War seem more real and heightened a sense of fear that the United Sates had fallen behind the Soviet Union in the realm of science. (Sect. 8.3)
In a way, I can imagine when Sputnik was seen being launched on that day the United States space program must’ve felt like they were just slapped in the face. The US knew that the Soviet Union was a force to be reckoned with and now they were just playing catch-up. So instead of just setting their sights to orbit, the US started looking at ways to send a man to the moon. Which gave the United States some hope and it made us become a closer nation to support our efforts to send a man to the moon. More people were interested in funding the space program, and more kids wanted to become astronauts. It gave the United States hope that we can band together to send a man to the moon and it was a real testament of commitment and togetherness for our country.
Bowles, M. & Kaplan, B. (2012). Science and culture throughout history. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education