Sputnik and Roger Bannister
Big marketing lessons here:
1. when you do something that everyone said was impossible, or that they never even considered, you get remembered for a long, long time.
2. once you demonstrate that the jar actually doesn't have a lid on it, people start jumping out left and right.
There was no space race before Sputnik. We didn't even have something called a space program. Even Arthur C. Clarke, who invented the idea, didn't expect it would happen.
The other thing to remember: There was a Sputnik II. There's just about always a sequel, so don't worry about making the first one perfect.