Pulitzer Prize-winning writer
Michael D’Antonio captures the wackiness of the first year of the space race as
the Americans scrambled desperately to match the Soviets and President
Eisenhower intervened to guarantee that the space program would not be run by
On October 4, 1957, the
Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite
into orbit around the earth. Little more than a month later, the Soviets
launched Sputnik II. News of Sputnik created panic in Washington, DC, and
throughout the United States. Within days, the US military began a madcap race
to space full of crashes, skullduggery, and backstabbing until Eisenhower’s
secret civilian program surpassed the Soviets by putting the first American—a
hero monkey named Gordo—into orbit.
D’Antonio draws on archives,
film footage, and interviews with many of the scientists, reporters, and others
who were involved in the first year of the space race. He recounts the early
days of the space race with all the zaniness and urgency of the time. Download and start listening now!