NASA's first official day was October 1, 1958. Imagine the vast challenge they felt as they organized their management and tried to create a space program! All sorts of space programs run by other agencies, like project Vanguard, were transfered officially to NASA.
October 4 was a noted date- the Vandenberg Air Force base was dedicated. It was the world's first ICBM base located among the free nations.
On October 7, an important program was adopted- Project Mercury. It had 3 goals: first, to place a manned capsule in orbit. Second, investigate how man can live and work in orbit. Third, recover the astronaut and spacecraft safely. That is just cool - 50 years ago...
I think it was October 8- Lt. Clifton M. McClure almost set a balloon altitude record in the MAN HIGH III balloon to 99,900 feet.
Go Baby! On October 11, 1958, Pioneer I launched from Cape Canaveral, FL on a Thor-Able rocket. One of its tasks was to measure micrometeorite density in space. It also explored the magnetic field and traveled 70,700 miles before coming back to Earth.
October 15- A most excellent date. The first of the three X-15 experimental rocket craft rolled out of North American Aviation's plant. Eventually Neil Armstrong would fly one of those three before transferring to NASA.
October 21st saw a double launch of BOMARC missiles from Cape Canaveral in a test, which successfully intercepted their targets. These missiles were designed to protect our country from invading enemy bombers at long range.
Although not related to NASA, a significant event occurred on the 26th when Pan American World Airways began cross- Atlantic service with the Boeing 707 jet from New York to Paris. Today it's hard to imagine a world without transatlantic jets.
With the start of Project Mercury, America was committing itself to make science fiction come true. "Buck Rogers" would be traveling in space, and if it was up to NASA, the first spaceman would be an American.
50 years ago. Busy month.