The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964 Page: 351
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NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center
event" in the city's rich economic history." Soon there was a heady
effect on the populace like that of the oil boom days as profes-
sional men, too, began to talk in superlatives about the coming
of the Manned Spacecraft Center; educators and university scien-
tists even predicted that it would bring to Houston some of the
most brilliant minds in the nation. "Placing such talent and
equipment here," said University of Houston President Philip
Hoffman, "can only have a beneficial effect."' Across the Greater
Houston area, men of every economic and social station looked to
the future with alacrity and high hopes. "NASA," quipped a
paper in upstate Dallas, "has put Houston in orbit.""
NASA's decision to move to Houston came rather abruptly,
after a few short weeks of studying the city's scientific and indus-
trial potential. In a broader sense, though, the decision grew out
of a swift series of space events that began back on October 4,
1957, when the Soviet Union launched man's first satellite into
orbit around the earth. Though Sputnik was the work of a totali-
tarian power, scientists over the world, rising above nationality
and political commitment, saw in its small dimensions not only
the accumulated brilliance of man, but also the beginning of a
new era in history-the Age of Space. In terms of the balance of
power, though, this 184 pound sphere spinning through the
heavens started a nervous shiver down the spine of the Free
World. The United States of course reacted with shock and out-
raged pride. The Eisenhower Administration moved quickly to
disparage Sputnik as a clever propaganda stunt without military
implication, but others on these shores viewed it as a stunning
blow to the nation's prestige that had come about largely because
of America's lagging educational system, with its undertrained
teachers and uninspired pupils. This public furor later reached
the boiling point when Wernher von Braun, head of the Army's
Redstone missile program, told Congress that, had the Adminis-
tration authorized him, he could have put a United States satellite
into orbit back in 1956. The tide of criticism, rising higher, soon
created a political situation which the Eisenhower Administration
wanted clearly to counteract; and it proceeded almost at once with
'Associated Press in Wichita Falls Times, October 12, 1961.
'Dallas Morning News, April 22, 1962. See also issue of September 2so, x961.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964, periodical, 1964; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/m1/409/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.