Please join us for a story of the collision of science and politics that rocked the nation and hurled it into a race for the dominance of outer space. Sputnik shook Americans’ confidence that they were the leaders of technology in the world. Not only was this event the catalyst for the creation of NASA, but it also spurred the education system to redouble its efforts in teaching math and science in the schools. Watch this fascinating film, originally premiered on NOVA, and meet its writer and director who will be in attendance.
Sputnik Declassified - 57 minutes
Synopsis: Fifty years ago, Sputnik, the first satellite, sent a shock wave through America and the world; the US had been beaten into space by the Soviet Union. The sudden advance by the Soviets occurred on President Eisenhower’s watch, and many blamed him for America falling behind. For half a century, this conventional view of Sputnik has held: Eisenhower was caught by surprise and didn’t understand the importance of space.
Now, thanks to newly declassified documents, “Sputnik Declassified” tells a far different story: in fact Eisenhower had a secret strategy for space that is only recently coming to light. The film documents the behind-the-scenes struggles of German rocket engineer Wernher von Braun, who pushed hard to orbit a satellite before the Russians, only to be blocked by the Eisenhower administration. Von Braun could have orbited a satellite a year before Sputnik – why was he prevented from doing so? The surprising answers, the ways politics controlled technology, the secret story of the birth of the space race – all are revealed in “Sputnik Declassified.”
About the Director:
For More Information and the Watch a Clip: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sputnik/
Sponsored by: TBA