Thursday, 4 October 2012

On this Day: 4th October 1957, Sputnik launch starts the space race

Between 1957 and 1975, the Cold War rivalry between the United States and Soviet Union had a secondary ‘front’ focused on attaining firsts in space exploration, which were seen as necessary for national security and symbolic of technological and ideological superiority.

It effectively began with the Soviet launch of the Sputnik 1 artificial satellite on 4 October 1957, and concluded with the co-operative Apollo-Soyuz Test Project human spaceflight mission in July 1975.

Sputnik 1 (Russian: "Cпутник-1") was the first artificial Earth satellite, launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957, from Site No.1/5, at the 5th Tyuratam range, in Kazakh SSR (now at the Baikonur Cosmodrome).

The satellite travelled at about 29,000 kilometers (18,000 mi) per hour, taking 96.2 minutes to complete each orbit. The signals continued for 22 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on 26 October 1957. Sputnik 1 burned up on 4 January 1958, as it fell from orbit, after travelling about 60 million km (37 million miles) and spending 3 months in orbit.

Photo Legacy: Making your memories last forever

Image courtesy of San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives under The Commons Agreement on Flickr

Research courtesy of Wikipedia


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