A Ball, A Dog, and A Monkey: 1957, The Space Race Begins by Michael D'Antonio
On October 4, 1957, as the Soviet Union’s orbital satellite, Sputnik I, ascended into Earth’s atmosphere, America plunged into a state of panic. The Cold War was underway, the threat of nuclear annihilation loomed and the USSR was now at the fore in the space race. With dire warnings in the news nearly every day, the armed services insisted that space would be the new military frontier. President Eisenhower, however, maintained that exploration, remain a peaceful endeavor. As the debate raged, the Soviets, meanwhile, placed a dog inside their next satellite and into orbit, sending America deeper into fear. Determined not to be outdone, the U.S. countered by launching the first primate into space, a small monkey nicknamed Old Reliable. America soon went space crazy. UFO sightings became commonplace, from Brooklyn to Burbank model rockets soared and space-themed beauty pageants became a national phenomenon. A Ball, a Dog, and a Monkey tells the remarkable story of America's first forays into space during a time when new technologies not only threatened total destruction but promised the potential to touch the stars.