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The Soviet Union inaugurated the “Space Age” with its launch
of Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite, on October 4, 1957.

The spacecraft, named Sputnik after the Russian word for “fellow traveler,” was launched at 10:29 p.m. Moscow time from the
Tyuratam launch base in the Kazakh Republic.

Sputnik had a diameter of 22 inches and weighed 184 pounds and
circled Earth once every hour and 36 minutes. Traveling at 18,000
miles an hour, its elliptical orbit had an apogee (farthest point from
Earth) of 584 miles and a perigee (nearest point) of 143 miles.

Visible with binoculars before sunrise or after sunset, Sputnik transmitted radio signals back to Earth strong enough to be
picked up by amateur radio operators. Those in the United
States with access to such equipment tuned in and listened
in awe as the beeping Soviet spacecraft passed over America
several times a day.

In January 1958, Sputnik’s orbit deteriorated, as expected, and
the spacecraft burned up in the atmosphere.

Soviet technician working on sputnik 1, 1957.
A Soviet technician works on Sputnik in 1957.

posted by Bob Karm in ANNIVERSARY,HISTORY,Satellite,Soviet Union,SPACE and have No Comments

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