The successfully launch of Sputnik satellite was to ignite the American issues of the missile gap, the Sputnik crisis and the space race. The Sputnik crisis can bee defined as a period in the late 1950's that was marked by both public fear and uncertainty in the United States in the wake of the successfully launch of Sputnik 1 and a perceived technological gap between the two superpowers. This also fuled more generalised fears concering the arms race aswell.
The launch of Sputnik 1 (AKA- Sputnik) caused a "Pearl Harbour" effect on American public opinion. Even President Dwight D. Eisenhower was concerned by the way the USSR was pulling ahead. There was also the possibility that the launch rocket could be used to launch nuclear arms. It was a great shock to the public as the government began to introduce the average citizen to the developing space age in a now crisis setting. The USSR had long been tought of as too backward to beat the Americans to it, but now they had to everyone's horror. The successfully launch of anything from a still backward USSR stood in stark contrast to the American Flopnik incident. The British and French were also surprised by the Soviet victory, but did not feel terrified by it.
The Space Race formally began and the USA seriously upped it's game in space tech and travel.