SPACE: On Pain of Extinction

Just when U.S. space achievements were beginning to make up for Sputnik jolts to the U.S.'s pride and prestige, the Russians sent their Lunik soaring far beyond where any man-made object had ever penetrated before. Once again the world marveled at the U.S.S.R.'s technological prowess. Pressing and immediate question: Why is the U.S. still lagging in a race that may decide whether freedom has any future?

"The Russians' secret weapon," says a U.S. space expert, "is their early start." The U.S.S.R. began working on long-range ballistic missiles soon after World War II. The U.S. did not push ballistic-missile development until...

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