Archives spotlights the role of MIT’s James R. Killian in the US response to Sputnik, 1957

Sputnik 1 mockupThe 50th anniversary of Sputnik is observed in the October Object of the Month exhibit of the Institute Archives & Special Collections. After the surprise launch of Sputnik by the USSR in 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed MIT’s James R. Killian the first Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. Killian chaired the President’s Science Advisory Committee (PSAC), which was instrumental in initiating national curriculum reforms in science and technology and in establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Sputnik 1 mockup – NASA image