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For Eilene Marie Galloway, the day the earth stood still was always Oct. 4, 1957. If you have to ask, "Why Oct. 4, 1957?" you're probably not 102 years old, as was Mrs. Galloway at the time of her death May 2. Her obit is in today's paper.

The red-letter day in '57 was the day the Soviets launched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth, and as Mrs. Galloway recalled in a recent interview with Aerospace America, "Everyone was worried that the Russians might drop bombs on us from space, with Sputnik going around the earth in 90 minutes over a lot of countries. People were really terrified, all over the world. There was a lot of fear in this city (Washington)."

Mrs. Galloway was a defense analyst working for the Library of Congress at the time, and she spent the next 50 years reading, writing and doing research about space issues and policy. She was working until shortly before her death. I found it compelllng that a youngster who danced for presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 would be dancing on the edge of space -- symbolically, at least -- almost a hundred years later.

By Joe Holley  |  May 6, 2009; 4:48 PM ET
 | Tags: Eilene Marie Galloway, Soviet Union, Sputnik  
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