/tiles/non-collection/s/speaker_rayburn_seated_2005_016_043.xmlCollection of the U.S. House of Representatives About this object
The Cold War dominated the 85th Congress (1957–1959). Congress authorized military and economic aid to Middle Eastern countries fighting communist expansion and took a first step toward cracking racial segregation. The Soviet Union’s 1957 success in launching the first man-made satellite into Earth orbit inaugurated the “space race” between the superpowers. Congress established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); created congressional science panels; and passed the National Defense Education Act which funded enhanced science, mathematics, and foreign languages programs. In 1958, Congress passed a statehood act for Alaska which joined the Union in early 1959.