On the 4th October 1957 the Soviet Union stunned the world by placing Sputnik 1 in orbit.
This achievement, in the wake of a successful Soviet ICBM flight came as a rude shock to the United States.
Although statements were made to the contrary, the US recognised the significance of the Soviet achievement.
Barely a month later, the US attempted to place a satellite in orbit but with an embarrassing lack of success
The rocket rose about one metre, fell back and exploded
The satellite was thrown clear and found 'beeping' on the ground a few yards away
The Soviet Sputnik launch came at a time of new US financial restrictions, the reduction of missile numbers and a stretching of the schedules.
There was now an abrupt reversal of this downward trend and emergency plans to accelerate and augment the US ballistic missile prgramme were prepared.
The first decision concerned Thor.....on the 25th November 1957, the new Secretary of Defence decided to put both Thor and Jupiter into the 'operational inventory'.