term paper RESOURCE GUIDE
In October 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I , the first satellite to orbit the earth. The following month it launched into orbit the much larger Sputnik II , which carried a dog. Thanks to secret U-2 spy plane forays over the Soviet Union , President Eisenhower did not see this as a threat to American security, but others, who lacked his information, did. As a result, some congressmen and the general public assumed there was a dangerous ‘‘missile gap” favoring the Soviets. This fear led to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); the National Defense Education Act to improve instruction in math, science, and foreign languages; and increased funding for the National Science Foundation. In January 1958 the United States put into space its first satellite, Explorer I .
Suggestions for Term Papers
1. Discuss public reaction to the launching of Sputnik I and Sputnik II .
2. Discuss how President Eisenhower responded to Sputnik .
3. Compare American and Soviet missile technology at the time of Sputnik .
4. Discuss the creation and purposes of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
5. Analyze the impact of the National Education Act on American education.
Suggested Sources : See entries 52 and 67 for related items.
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Space . Michael Rycroft, ed. New York : Cambridge University Press, 1990. Informative reference source providing well-written and authoritative information on all aspects of space travel.
The Encyclopedia of U.S. Spacecraft . Bill Yenne. New York : Exeter/Simon&Schuster, 1985. Treats all U.S. manned and unmanned spacecraft that followed Sputnik up to the date of publication.
Hansen, James R. Spaceflight Revolution: NASA Langley Research Center from Sputnik to Apollo . Washington , DC : National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1995. Detailed history of the research center that contributed so much to the U.S. space program.
Launius, Roger D. NASA: A History of the U.S. Civil Space Program . Malabar , FL : Krieger Publishing, 1994. Concise, interesting, and informative history of NASA from its creation to the present.
———. NASA and the Exploration of Space: With Works from the NASA Art Collection . New York : Stewart, Tabori&Chang, 1998. Recent comprehensive illustrated history of space flight.
———, and Howard E. McCurdy, eds. Spaceflight and the Myth of Presidential Leadership . Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 1997. Collection of essays by specialists examining the role of the presidency in the U.S. space program; begins with Eisenhower and his reluctance to enter the space race.
Spangenburg, Ray, and Diane Moser. Opening the Space Frontier .New York: Facts on File, 1989. Brief but comprehensive overview of the origins and developments of worldwide space flight from its visionary beginnings to the moon landings.
Bulkeley, Rip. The Sputniks Crisis and Early United States Space Policy: A Critique of the Historiography of Space . Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1991. Examines the causes of what the author terms ‘‘stunning defeat” in the space race when Sputnik I and Sputnik II were launched.
Clowse, Barbara B. Brainpower for the Cold War: The Sputnik Crisis and the National Defense Education Act of 1958 . Westport , CT : Greenwood , 1981. Examines the impact of Sputnik in propelling support for the first piece of legislation to provide funds for higher education.
Divine, Robert A. The Sputnik Challenge . New York : Oxford University Press, 1993. Interesting and revealing account of the national hysteria over the launching of Sputnik ; Eisenhower was unable to quell the fears that resulted in numerous efforts to remedy the perceived missile gap.
Dow, Peter B. Schoolhouse Politics: Lessons for the Sputnik Era . Cambridge , MA : Harvard University Press, 1991. Well-written, seriously researched account of the emergence and ultimate decline of an innovative social science program of study in elementary education with its innovative techniques and emphasis on the scientific method; examines the economic and political controversies in this program founded by the National Science Foundation.
Gurney, Gene, and Clare Gurney. The Launching of Sputnik, October 4, 1957: The Space Age Begins . New York : Franklin Watts, 1975. Easy-to-read, concise account of events leading up to the launching of Sputnik and its impact.
McDougall, Walter A. The Heavens and the Earth . New York : Basic Books, 1985. Interesting account of the early development of the space program relating the major impact of Sputnik in setting government goals.
Glennan, Thomas K., and J. D. Hunley. The Birth of NASA: The Diary of T. Keith Glennan . Washington , DC : NASA History Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1993. Detailed personal account providing a thorough description of the creation of NASA.
Harford, James. Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon . New York : Wiley, 1997. Detailed and revealing biography of S. P. Korolev, founder of the Soviet space program, who spearheaded the effort until his death at age fifty-nine in 1966.
The Class of the 20th Century: 1952–1961 . New York : A&E Home Video, 1991. Videocassette. One of six videos in the series examining events of the twentieth century up to 1990; the ‘‘1952–1961” coverage treats the race for space, among other important developments. 100 minutes each.
Eyewitness Encyclopedia of Space and the Universe . New York : DK Multimedia, 1996. CD-ROM. Excellent treatment of the space program; includes prints, sound, graphics, video, and animation.
WORLD WIDE WEB
‘‘The Beep Heard Round the World.” Scientific American: Explorations . October 1997. http://www.sciam.com/explorations/100697sputnik/hall1.html Good narratives on various aspects surrounding Sputnik with leads to additional pages as well as the NASA site commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the event.