Today, as you probably know, is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik by the Russians.
The launch was the beginning of the space race and it also marked the beginning of many a child's interest in science. One of Windham's current residents, Richard Brown, was among the first to sight Sputnik as it orbited. Here's an article detailing that day almost 50 years ago.
I found another claim to being the first in the U.S. to sight Sputnik. I'm willing to dismiss this claim since it happened in Alaska. Alaska didn't become a state until January 3, 1959, so in October 1957, it wasn't really a part of the United States.
Here are a few books from people who grew up during the era of Sputnik and who have ably written about its impact on their lives:
Beers, David. Blue Sky Dream: A Memoir of America's Fall from Grace. [B BEE]
Hickam, Homer H., Jr. Rocket Boys: A Memoir. [B HIC] (This was made into the film October Sky [DVD OCT].)
Kercheval, Jesse Lee. Space: A Memoir. [B KER]
For a history of the development of the space programs and the rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, check out, Space Race: The Epic Battle between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space by Deborah Cadbury [629.409 CAD].