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Emily Outen
Expert to Speak on Historical Outcomes of Sputnik Launch

HAMPTON, Va. -- History changed on October 4, 1957. "That's when the former Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik 1 and changed the contours of space exploration," says Roger Launius, senior curator at the National Air and Space Museum.

America's responses to Sputnik included the establishment of NASA, the consolidation of Department of Defense space activities, the passage of the National Defense Education Act and the creation of a Presidential Science Advisor.

Launius will speak on these historic actions resulting from the launch of Sputnik in a colloquium lecture called "Eisenhower, Sputnik and the Founding of NASA" on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m. in the Reid Conference Center at NASA Langley. He will also discuss the major political themes associated with the Sputnik crisis in 1957.

Media who wish to interview Launius at a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday should contact Emily Outen at 864-7022 or at by noon for credentials and entry to NASA Langley.

Launius is a senior curator in the Division of Space History at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and past chief historian of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1990-2002). He also served as a consultant to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in 2003.

Launius will speak on the subject again at a free lecture for the general public Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia Air & Space Center on Settlers Landing Road in Hampton.

For more information on NASA Langley's Colloquium and Sigma Series lectures, visit:

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