October Sky

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Total English 3 (Heisei 17) pg. 76-81

October Sky
Word count517
BookTotal English

On October 4, 1957, a lot of people in the world were looking up into the sky. They wanted to see Sputnik. Homer Hickam was looking up, too. When Sputnik appeared, he was amazed and looked up into the sky for a long time. He never forgot that day.
Homer was an ordinary high school student. Most students in Coalwood would work in the mine after graduation. But he did not know what he wanted to do in the future―until he saw Sputnik.
The next morning, Homer said to his family, "I'm going to build a rocket!" His mother said, "Don't blow yourself up." His father said nothing.

Homer built his first rocket and told his friends, "Today I'm going to launch a rocket." Homer's rocket looked like a toy, but he was serious. His friends became interested and joined Homer.
The boys counted down, "3, 2, 1...0!" The rocket didn't fly but blew up a fence. His mother got very angry.
Homer's science teacher, Miss, Riley, was the only person that really understood his dream. She gave him a science book about rockets. Homer was so glad and said, "It's the best present I've ever received."

Homer and his friends built another rocket. It only flew a few meters. But the boys kept building and launching more rockets. After a while, people in Coalwood called Homer and his friends "The Rocket Boys".
Miss Riley told the Rocket Boys, "Enter the science fair. If you win, you'll get a scholarship for university." They were excited and tried hard to build a great rocket. But Homer's father did not want Homer to do that. His father was a leader respected by many miners. He wanted Homer to work in the mine in the future.

One day, Homer's father was hurt in the mine and couldn't work. Homer decided to work in the mine because the family needed money. The work was so hard he couldn't go to school or join the Rocket Boys.
After a few months, Homer's father became well. But Homer kept working in the mine for his father.
Some time later, Homer got news that Miss Riley was very sick. He visited her. "Is there anything I can do, Miss. Riley?" She answered, "Yes, Homer. Don't give up on your dream. Just follow your heart."
After that, Homer went back to school. The Rocket Boys began studying day and night. At last, they built a great rocket.

The Rocket Boys entered the National Science Fair. All the best science students in the U.S. met there. Homer wasn't sure the Rocket Boys could win. But they received the gold medal. The Rocket Boys won!
One fine day after the fair, many people in Coalwood came to see a launch by the Rocket Boys. The rocket was named "Miss Riley".
Just before the rocket was launched, Homer's father came to watch for the first time. Homer said to his father, "Here's the button to launch the rocket. Will you push it?" His father nodded.
The rocket flew very high in to the blue sky.


The following is an unofficial translation.

1957年10月4日 世界中の大勢の人々が空を見上げていた。彼らはスプートニクを見たいと思った。ホーマー・ヒッカムも見上げていた。スプートニクが現れたとき、彼は驚き、長いこと、空を見上げていた。彼はその日を決して忘れない。

少年達は秒読みをした。 “3,2,1...0!” ロケットは飛ばず、フェンスを壊した。彼の母は激しく怒った。

ライリー先生はロケット少年たちに云った。「科学博覧会に出しなさい。もし、入賞すれば、あなた方は大学の奨学金をもら えるわ」。彼らは奮起して、熱心に、大きなロケットを造ろうとした。しかし、ホーマーの父は、ホーマーがそうすることを望まなかった。彼の父は大勢の鉱山労働者から尊敬された指導者であった。彼は、将来、ホーマーが鉱山で働くように希望した。



  1. Source 1 (1st 3 paragraphs)15:20, 5 August 2019 (JST)
  2. Source 2 (4th paragraph)15:28, 5 August 2019 (JST)
  3. Source 3 (5th paragraph) 15:28, 5 August 2019 (JST)


  • October Sky is a 1999 American biographical drama film. It tells the true story of Homer Hickam Jr., a coal miner's son who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 to take up rocketry against his father's wishes and eventually became a NASA engineer.
  • Rocket Boys is the first memoir in a series of four, by American engineer Homer Hickam Jr. originally published in 1998. Later editions were published under the title October Sky as a tie-in to the 1999 film adaptation.
  • "October Sky" is an anagram of "Rocket Boys".

See also