Financial History 25th Anniversary Special Edition (104, Fall 2012) - Page 23

By Peter Kline Left (top): Astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands beside an American flag on the moon, 1969. Left (bottom): Illustration celebrating the launch of Sputnik I and II, 1957. rocket and the Apollo program’s Command Module. Members of the Grumman team that designed the Apollo Lunar Lander are still venerated in the scientific community for their achievements. The successful launch of the first manmade satellite, Sputnik I, by the Soviet Union on Friday, October 4, 1957 sparked the Space Race by creating the widespread perception that the US had fallen behind the Soviets both technologically and militarily. The nation’s star struck and fearful response proved a pivotal one in American history because it led directly to greatlyincreased federal government involvement in higher education and scientific research and development. It also provided the political cover needed to fund direct human exploration of the lunar surface. Sputnik did not encourage sky high confidence in American industry. This was reflected in the stock market at large when on Monday, October 7, 182 companies posted record lows while no companies Museum of American Finance © Rykoff Collection/CORBIS © Bettmann/CORBIS