Historian Michael D'Antonio discussed his new book A Ball, a Dog and a Monkey, which chronicles the rollicking start of the space race between the United States and Soviet Union.
The first artificial satellite to be put into space was Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union in October 1957. D'Antonio said people of the time claimed they could see the basketball-sized spacecraft as it orbited the planet transmitting its famous "beep-beep-beep" radio signal. Some worried the satellite was being used for spying, he added.
Sputnik 2 was the second spacecraft launched into space and the first to carry a living passenger, a dog named Laika. Although Laika died within a few orbits, D'Antonio explained, she proved humans could survive being launched into space.
Americans also used animals to investigate the biological effects of space travel. D'Antonio shared the story of Gordo, the first monkey successfully launched into space by the U.S., as well as how black bears were utilized for rocket sled tests.
D'Antonio said the American space program suffered a setback with the failure of the Vanguard rocket. German scientist and former Nazi weapons maker Wernher von Braun was able to get the U.S. space program back on track, he noted.
D'Antonio also commented on the numerous UFO sightings witnessed during the early days of the space program.
In the first hour, investment advisor Catherine Austin Fitts commented on the U.S. economy and recently proposed economic stimulus package, as well as the story about a rogue trader who cost a French bank $7 billion.
Bumper music from Saturday January 26, 2008