First Sputnik: 66th Anniversary of Soviet Earth Orbit Satellite Launch

First artificial satellite of the Earth InternationalIndiaAfricaOctober 4 marks the 66th anniversary of the first artificial satellite launch into low Earth orbit. The successful launch of the Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union paved the way for fulfilling humanity’s longtime dream of exploring space.On October 4, 1957, at 7:28 p.m. GMT, the USSR launched the Soviet R-7 carrier rocket with the Sputnik 1 on board from the fifth field research facility of the Ministry of Defense (later renamed as the Baikonur Cosmodrome).The day marked the beginning of the era of space exploration. Calculated as early as Newton, cosmic velocity was achieved for the first time three centuries later by the Soviet-made invention. As a result, the Russian word “sputnik” (lit. “satellite”) immediately spread to all nations as the whole world was watching the small luminous dot floating in the night sky, listening to the simple signals: “beep beep beep,” realizing that these sounds were being sent by a new celestial body created by humans.

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In a matter of hours, billions of people suddenly felt as though humanity was one, the nation of the planet Earth, standing on the threshold of an immense cosmos, the immeasurable universe – so vast, but now so reachable.The launch was made possible by Soviet scientists and engineers, who created the rocket carrier as well as the first artificial satellite in an unprecedentedly short time. The Sputnik 1 was designed to be simple, but reliable and able to carry out a number of scientific studies. The satellite existed for 92 days, until January 4, 1958, having made 1,440 circles around the Earth.Beyond PoliticsRussian Space Agency Creates Small Satellite Constellation to Monitor Earth’s Entire Surface2 October, 15:08 GMTThe successful launch astonished the United States, which had hoped to make the breakthrough first.

"The successful launch came as a shock to experts and citizens in the United States, who had hoped that the United States would accomplish this scientific advancement first," the US Department of State Archive said in a statement.

Coming amid the Cold War, the launch shattered the US view of the USSR as an agrarian country and damaged the ego of the “blessed nation.” The two countries were fiercely competing in an arms race, and the stunning success of the USSR fed fears that the US had fallen behind.

"The fact that the Soviets were successful fed fears that the US military had generally fallen behind in developing new technology," the archive said.

The orbit was designed for the Sputnik 1 to fly over Moscow and Washington, covering the distance in around 15 minutes, serving as a reminder of the breathtaking Soviet achievement.The successful launch of the first satellite was just the beginning of the Soviet space program. Sputnik 1 was followed by more spacecraft, including the one carrying the famous space dogs Belka and Strelka on August 19, 1960, which were the first living creatures to survive a trip to outer space. They safely returned to Earth.


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