THE NATION: Symbol of Hopes

Out of a commendable and well-kept secrecy, the U.S. fired—and guided—an 85-ft., 8,600-lb. Atlas intercontinental missile into orbit. Admittedly, the shot of the heavy bird, with its voice-receiving and transmitting equipment, was a calculated counter-symbol to the Russian Sputniks (see Space). But in the sweep of time it symbolized far more: the U.S. march into space, programed long before Sputnik stirred up the free world's self-doubters, was headed into a period of historic achievements that had important meanings both in space and on earth.

In the 14 months since Sputnik I, Russia's Khrushchev had repeatedly rattled his rockets in an...

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