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On October 4, 1957

On October 4, 1957

On October 4, 1957


On October 4, 1957 At that time I was 8 years old and I lived in a small village in the district of Aveiro in Portugal. I remember that at night, young and old people, with their eyes in the head, looking in the starry sky, with curiosity and some astonishment, a luminous point that moved in relation to the stars until it disappeared and returned the following night.

RE: On October 4, 1957

Yes, Sputnik. Which lead many American school children to consider becoming engineers, some of whom eventually went to work in the aerospace industry. One of those school kids, a boy from a coal mining town in West Virginia named Homer Hickam, started to experiment with rockets, won a scholarship to engineering school and ended-up getting a job at NASA. He wrote a book about all of this titled 'Rocket Boys: A Memoir', which was later turned into a feature-length film titled 'October Sky'. A few years later, I attended an engineering conference where Homer Hickam was one of the keynote speakers. That evening I had the good fortune to be seated at the same table with Hickam during the conference's award banquet. It was very interesting to hear more details about his experiences directly from him (note that the night before, the conference attendees had a chance to enjoy a showing of 'October Sky').

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: On October 4, 1957

One of our dear friends became a biomedical engineer with NASA during the Apollo program. When he left NASA, he worked in the administration of a hospital. He loved when the sales representatives came to try and sell him some device he had helped develop at NASA.

RE: On October 4, 1957

JRB, thanks for mentioning Homer Hickam, a fine alumnus of Virginia Tech. I have never met him.

RE: On October 4, 1957


His father wanted him to be in the coal mine, but his mind was, way up there, in the space of a starry night. I recently saw the movie, of Homer Hickam and his classmates' dream with the support of their teachers in fulfilling their dream of launching a rocket into space.

RE: On October 4, 1957

My Dad was a ham radio operator so he tuned in to the published frequency and turned on the speaker, instead of his headphones, so we could all hear the beep, beep, beep. Neighbors and kids from school came over to listen, too.

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