On October 4, 1957, the first artificial satellite. Sputnik 1, was launched by the Soviet Union. Thus, began the space age. It orbited the Earth until January 4, 1958. Sputnik made 1440 orbits and traveled about 70 million kilometers (43 million miles).

The successful launch shocked the world, according to NASA, and giving the former Soviet Union the distinction of putting the first human-made object into space. Its “unanticipated” success precipitated the Sputnik crisis in the United States and triggered the Space Race, a part of the Cold War.

The word ‘Sputnik’ originally meant ‘fellow traveler,’ but has become synonymous with ‘satellite’ in modern Russian.

Today is the 62nd anniversary of Sputnik 1’s launch. Russian space agency Roscosmos has published a video on Twitter to celebrate.

On October 4, 1957, the first artificial satellite. Sputnik 1, was launched by the Soviet Union. It orbited the Earth until January 4, 1958. Sputnik made 1440 orbits and traveled about 70 million kilometers (43 million miles).

The speed of Sputnik 1

Sputnik 1 traveled at about 29,000 km/h (18,000 mph; 8,100 m/s), taking 96.2 minutes to complete each orbit.

It transmitted on 20.005 and 40.002 MHz, which were monitored by radio operators throughout the world. The signals continued for 21 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on 26 October 1957.

Sputnik burned up on 4 January 1958 while reentering Earth’s atmosphere, after three months, 1440 completed orbits of the Earth, and a distance traveled of about 70 million km (43 million mi).

Roscosmos tweeted: “62 years outside Earth! On October 4, 1957, the world’s first artificial Earth satellite was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The whole world witnessed its flight, while its signal could be received by any radio amateur in any corner of the globe!”
Sputnik 1 technician
This historic image shows a technician putting the finishing touches on Sputnik 1. The pressurized sphere made of aluminum alloy had five primary scientific objectives: Test the method of placing an artificial satellite into Earth orbit; provide information on the density of the atmosphere by calculating its lifetime in orbit; test radio and optical methods of orbital tracking; determine the effects of radio wave propagation through the atmosphere; and, check principles of pressurization used on the satellites.
Replica of Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1 was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957. It was a 58 cm (23 in) diameter polished metal sphere, with four external radio antennae to broadcast radio pulses. It was visible all around the Earth and its radio pulses were detectable. This surprise success precipitated the American Sputnik crisis and triggered the Space Race, a part of the larger Cold War. The launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. Photo: a replica of Sputnik 1, Wikipedia

Sources

Sputnik 1 on Wikipedia
Sputnik 1 on NASA.gov

M. Özgür Nevres

I am a software developer, a former road racing cyclist, and a science enthusiast. Also an animal lover! I write about the planet Earth and science on this website, ourplnt.com. You can check out my social media profiles by clicking on their icons.

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