In this talk at the SETI Institute in 2009, aerospace engineer and inventor Eugene F. Lally, who died this week at the age of 89, talked about his involvement in the early years of US rocket and spacecraft development before and after Sputnik:
From the caption:
Lally was involved with the space program from the beginning in the United States starting in 1955, before Sputnik. Eugene worked with key people from Peenemunde and JPL and contributed many pioneering concepts when he was referred to as a Rocket Scientist. Eugene was considered a driving technical force and helped promote spaceflight through many papers delivered at American Rocket Society conventions. Eugene will discuss his personal story of the people and ideas (he worked with) that bought spaceflight out of the cradle and into reality.