December 7, 1957

USA SPACE PROGRAM: Washington, 6 – The peoples of the free world were very embittered and disappointed today by the news of the failure of the first US satellite launch which had been expected to equal the Russians’ success. The news was announced by the US Defense Department and gave rise to much discussion at home and abroad. At the same time, the Communist leader Nikita Khruschev said in Moscow that the missile from the first Russian satellite had fallen to Earth in the US and that Russia was expecting it to be returned, a statement that was met with surprise in Washington. The launching of the American satellite by the Vanguard rocket had been set for 6.45 p.m. (Greek time) today. A few moments later, the news came from Cape Canaveral by telephone that the attempt had failed. According to foreign correspondents, the some 20 Pentagon officials and members of the press who surrounded the Defense Department spokesman were astounded by the news that the Vanguard had exploded on the ground as soon as it had been launched. The reporters and others present could not believe their ears.