Tracing the Space Race 1952-1969

  • The National Science Foundation was created

    The National Science Foundation was created
    The goals of the NSF were to "support basic scientific research, initiate programs to strengthen scientific research potential, and support science education programs at all levels" (Chapter 7: Twenty Years of Science Curriculum Development: A Look BackWayne W. Welch REVIEW OF RESEARCH IN EDUCATION "1979 7: 282 DOI: 10.3102/0091732X007001282"
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    Tracing the Space Race

  • Upgrading the science background for college teachers

    The first summer institute at the high school level was held for 26 teachers in 1954 at the University of Washington with NSF providing a grant of $10,000. The success of previous summer institutes of 1952 and 1953 spurred this event on.
  • Soviet professional manpower; its education, training, and supply was published

    Thisarticleby Nicholas DeWitt provided strong impetus for NSF to respond to requests for involvement in precollege science education.
  • The Soviet Union launches Sputnik I into space

    The Soviet Union launches Sputnik I into space
    This surprise launch is credited for having the first human-made object orbit the Earth. Sonny is disappointed the Russians beat the U.S. in getting a space satellite in orbit first. This is the first memory for which Sonny credits his interest in space.
  • Sputnik II launches with dog as passenger

    Sputnik II launches with dog as passenger
    This second heavier Sputnik carried the first dog launced into space, Sputnik II circled earth in 90 minutes and united nations in fear. Sadly the dog Laika did not survive the trip home.
  • Failed Launch of of the Vanguard satellite

    Failed Launch of of the Vanguard satellite
    The U.S. made its first attempt to put a satellite into orbit. THe Vanguard lost its thrust and blew up. Sonny felt disappointed like other Americans and worried that his rockets would never get high in the sky.
  • Dr. Wernher von Braun launches the Explorer-1 satellite aboard a Jupiter-C Rocket

    Dr. von Braun worked closely with the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and this mission was a success. Von Braun first worked with the Germans and was then coaxed to the U.S. after a failed German mission. He remained a prominent figure in rocket development and space exploration throughout the 1970s. Dr. von Braun was Sonny's hero and inspriation.
  • President Eisenhower and Congress take action

    President Eisenhower and Congress take action
    On this day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. Lyndon B. Johnson is credited with helping this bill get signed.
  • NASA is officially born

    NASA is officially born
    This program was handled by a new civilian agency and not by the military as most aerospace technology was handled by the military up until that point. NASA's mission was to: "To provide for research into problems of flight within and outside the Earth's atmosphere, and for other purposes."
  • Homer Hickam Jr. wins National Science Fair Medals

    Homer Hickam Jr. wins National Science Fair Medals
    Rocket Boys
    Homer wins the silver and gold medals in the area of propulsion at the National Science Fair in Indianapolis
  • Grant money for Science programs in U.S. increases

    Grant money for summer institute grew to $30, 000,000 in 6 years. Number of summer institutes across the U.S.jumped from 1 to 320.
  • First American enters space

    First American enters space
    Alan B. Shepard became the first American and second person to be launched into space. He also commanded the Apollo 14 mission .
  • John Glenn

    John Glenn
    John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth and third American in space. On October 29, 1998, he became the oldest person to fly in space.
  • Elementary and Secondary Educational Act of 1965

    Following the National Defense Education Act which expanded the role of government in education, the Elementary and Secondary Educational Act of 1965 was launched. This Increased federal support for adequate educational opportunities for all students. More emphasis on science.
  • Man on the Moon

    Man on the Moon
    Man on the MoonThe United States edges past the Soviety Union and launches the first men on the moon with the success of Apollo 11. Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit. This success fulfilled President Kennedy's promise to reach the moon before the Soviet Union by the end of the 1960s. Watch this short clip of the 1st landing on the moon.