Sputnik: Scientific Advances, Public Perception, and Political Priorities in the Cold War

Instructional Resource

Subjects
Earth and Space Sciences World History
Grade Levels
Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9
Related Resources

Sputnik: Scientific Advances, Public Perception, and Political Priorities in the Cold War

Instructional Resource

The Soviet launch of Sputnik did much more than simply send a satellite into space. The announcement that the USSR had successfully launched a satellite that orbited the Earth was used to dramatize Soviet scientific superiority and set into motion a series of actions and statements by U.S. politicians designed to manage the public's fears and prevent the United States from falling behind.

Guiding questions:
-When it comes to military strength, which is more important: reality or perception?
-How do the sciences impact national defense?
-Why was a space program considered important and necessary for both the Soviet Union and the United States?
-How and why do foreign events impact domestic politics and culture?

Tags: Wilson Center, Cold War, Space Race, Sputnik, Technology, Soviet Union, USSR, Communism