Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sputnik and the International Geophysical Year

On October 4, 1957, the space age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, into orbit. Happy 48th birthday, space age!!

"History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race.

The story begins in 1952, when the International Council of Scientific Unions decided to establish July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958, as the International Geophysical Year (IGY) because the scientists knew that the cycles of solar activity would be at a high point then. In October 1954, the council adopted a resolution calling for artificial satellites to be launched during the IGY to map the Earth's surface."

Source: NASA

Telemetry from Sputnik I as it passed over the Earth(WAV File)



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