1957, Reaction To Sputnik
"How did the Russians beat us?" correspondent Howard K. Smith asks Homer Newell, science program coordinator of Project Vanguard, the U.S. satellite program (and future NASA official); Dr. Newell's reply, at least seen from the perspective of 50 years later, is hilarious.
A note on Daniel Schorr's report from Moscow: Only his voice is heard; what viewers saw on their screen is an early-generation teleprompter. With only one satellite in the air, there was, of course, no satellite transmission in 1957.
1.Russians Are First
1961 - First Man in Space
"I do not regard the first man in space [being Russian] as a sign of the weakening of the free world," said President John F. Kennedy at a press conference full of obviously frustrated people, excerpts of which are included in the CBS News Special Report that day.
2. The Red Stuff
Also interviewed was astronaut John Glenn, "This is not a stunt being done for international prestige or propaganda," he said, talking in general about the space program, before a scene of …well, stunts… that could best be described as weightless.
3. Kennedy's Commitment
'Man On The Moon' Address
His speech came 20 days after Alan Shepard, on May 5, became the first American to travel in space, albeit for only about 15 minutes.
When John Glenn orbited the earth three times on February 20, 1962, he was the fifth man to go into space (two Americans, two Russians preceded him); his trip wasn't even the longest of the five. But his flight, and his persona, touched a chord with the American public. The journey of Friendship 7 (Shepard's flight had been called Freedom 7) set the tone in many ways for the next decade of intense public interest in space, and epitomized all of the manned American missions - the six Mercury (one-man) flights from 1961 to 1963, the 10 Gemini (two-man) flights in 1965 and 1966 and even the 11 Apollo (three-man) missions from 1968 to 1972.
Live television captured the countdown - "T-minus 10…" and then the launch, and frequently followed up with animated graphics, narrated from beginning to end by the friendly baritone of Walter Cronkite.
Thirty-six years later, when he was 77 years old, John Glenn went up in space again, the oldest person ever to do so.
In 2002, at the commencement of the year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the flight of the Wright Brothers (the first powered and sustained human flight) in 1903, Senator Glenn, then 81 years old, was interviewed at the National Air and Space Museum, in the Milestones of Flight Hall, surrounded by the Wright Brothers plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, the plane flown solo across the Atlantic by Charles Lindburgh in 1927, Chuck Yeager's X-1 plane that broke the speed of sound in 1947, and the Friendship 7 space capsule.
1969: Man On The Moon
In 2005, Ed Bradley talked with the famously reticent Neil Armstrong. (For a full transcript of the broadcast segment, read.) When asked how he came up with his first words on the surface of the moon, Armstrong said: "I thought, 'Well, when I step off, I just gonna be a little step.' … But then I thought about all those 400,000 people that had given me the opportunity to make that step [that's the number of people working in one way or another on the moon mission] and thought 'It's going to be a big something for all those folks and, indeed, a lot of others that even weren't even involved in the project.' So it was a kind of simple correlation of thoughts."
He also described the lunar surface. "It's a brilliant surface in that sunlight. The horizon seems quite close to you because the curvature is so much more pronounced than here on earth. It's an interesting place to be. I recommend it."
'In The Shadow Of The Moon'
First Space Shuttle Launch
The End Of The Shuttle Era
1983: Sally Ride Returns
The telescope is launched into orbit around the earth, providing scientists with vast new stores of information (such as the date of the universe) and the public with some spectacular images, such as the birth of the birth of a star.
Happy Birthday, Hubble
The first two ships, one Russian, the other American, form the beginning of the International Space Station, and missions to it ever since have been making it larger.
Eye To Eye: Astronauts
Shuttle Columbia Disaster
It was not until two and half years after the Columbia disaster that there was a resumption of shuttle launches.
Columbia Widow Reflects
China Blasts Into Space
Bush Unveils Space Plans
SpaceShipOne Wins $10M
Space Tourist's First Day