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RE: Sputnik
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Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite to be put into Earth's orbit. It was launched into an elliptical low Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on 4 October 1957.
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Sputnik Satellite

Just before midnight on Friday October 4th, 1957, fifty two years ago today, something kinda weird happened.
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Cold War: Space Race
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1949 - 1961
In the mid-50s the Soviet Union seems to be forging ahead. In October 1957, the first Soviet satellite Sputnik orbits the earth - to the dismay and fear of the U.S., frustrated by its own ineffectual space program. In 1961, the Soviets launch Yuri Gagarin into space. America will have to meet the challenge.

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Sputnik, the artificial satellite that brought in the space age as well as the space race was once watched in awe as it orbited the Earth. More than 50 years after the launch, the Soviet side to the story was heard. The details make Sputnik seem a little less glamorous, from the fact that no one ever saw Sputnik orbiting the Earth, that the rocket used was really intended to carry bombs, and the first organism to orbit Earth was a dog.
Everything started with the Soviets plan to create a rocket that would be able to strike the United States with a hydrogen bomb. None of the engineers building the rocket knew how heavy the warhead would be though, so they made sure the rocket had more than enough thrust to carry heavy objects. The R-7 ballistic missile was then born, the first step in a puzzle for Sputnik, a project that many had not even though of yet.

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"REDS ORBIT ARTIFICIAL MOON"
50 years ago, Sputnik 1, was launched on Oct.4, 1957 at 19:12 UTC , to become the first artificial satellite to successfully orbit the Earth.

The Soviet Sputnik program consisted of four satellites, three of which reached Earth orbit. It was a aluminum sphere about 2 feet across (58.0 cm-diameter) , weighing 184 lbs (83.6 kg), with long sweeping "antennae" pointing back like a comet. It orbited for 6 months before falling back to Earth. It`s rocket booster, weighing 4 tons, also reached orbit and was easily visible from the ground as a first magnitude object .

Sputnik45
October 4, 1957
:
The Russians launched the first artificial satellite from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan which demonstrated the technological superiority of Communism

The second Sputnik satellite was launched on Nov 3, 1957 and carried a dog, named Laika, into space. Biological data was returned for a week before the animal had to be put to sleep. The last Sputnik installment was intended to be a space laboratory for study of Earth's magnetic field and radiation belt. After its launch on May 15, 1958, it remained in orbit for nearly two years.

 


Sputnik 1
Organization: Soviet Union
Major Contractors: Korolev Design Bureau
Mission Type: Earth Science
Satellite of: Earth
Launch: October 4, 1957 at 19:12 UTC
Launch Vehicle: R-7/SS-6 ICBM
Decay: January 4, 1958
Mission Duration: 3 weeks
Mass: 83.6 kg
NSSDC ID: 1957-001B
Orbital elements
Semimajor Axis: 6,955.2 km
Eccentricity: .05201
Inclination: 65.1°
Orbital Period: 96.2 minutes
Apogee: 939 km
Perigee: 215 km
Orbits: ~1,400
Instruments
Nitrogen pressurized sphere : Micrometeorite detection
Radio : Propagation of radio signals
Thermometer : Micrometeorite detection

"SOVIET SATELLITE CIRCLES GLOBE EVERY 90 MINUTES".

The United States was shocked. Senator Lyndon Johnson said the Russians have jumped way ahead of us in the conquest of space.. Everyone in the United States were constantly reminded that the Russians had a head start in what would be call "the Space-Race" .

The story really 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). 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.
The US began work on the Vanguard project, the Russians, Sputnik.

The Sputnik launch occurred back in the days when computers had vacuum tubes. During this dark-period the Americans and the Russians regarded each other as "Cold War" enemies. They built massive armies, navies, and air forces and were prepared to engage in global war at a moments notice. American military manuals regarded the Russians as "The Red-Threat," and Soviet government went as far as training many non-military citizens on use of small arms to prepare for an invasion from "The Imperialists."

Immediately after the Sputnik I launch in October, the U.S. Defence Department responded to the political furore by approving funding for another U.S. satellite project. As a simultaneous alternative to Vanguard, Wernher von Braun and his Army Redstone Arsenal team began work on the Explorer project. The development of space technology became a national priority.

The United States unsuccessful Vanguard satellite exploded on the launch pad ( some called it the "Kaputnik.") And it wasn't as bad as just a launch failure, the vanguard satellite only the size of a grapefruit. The Sputnik 1 was 184 pounds and by then the Russians had already launched Sputnik 2 which was 1100 pounds and carried a live dog! There were lots of finger pointing, yelling, but also some had said that Sputnik didn't pose an immediate military threat. Although the same vehicle that can put a satellite into orbit can also vault a nuclear bomb across continents, nobody had solved the problem of shielding a satellite, or a warhead, during atmosphere re-entry.

The original Soviet ICBM, this rocket launched the first satellite, served as the first stage of the Vostok, and serves as the first stage of the Russian Soyuz

 

R7missile3
"Unpublished Drawings" of the Sapwood (R-7) rocket that put Sputnik into orbit

 

 

 

The Russians equipped the Sputnik with transmitters to broadcast on frequencies at 20.005 and 40.002 MHz so everyone would know it's up there, it was that `out of this world` "beep, beep, beep" every 90 minutes that reminded the U.S. that the soviets had beaten them into space...


To hear the sounds of Sputnik



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When space veterans talk about seeing world's first artificial satellite on Oct. 4, 1957, the tale usually gets better with decades of retelling. Few people on Earth actually witnessed the small, shiny sphere that marked the opening shot in the space race.

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sputnik_L.jpgspacer.gif

Fifty years ago today, on the night of 4 October the first beep-beep from Sputnik fell from the heavens and marked the beginning of a new era for the human race.

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Fifty years ago today, on the night of 4 October, the first beep-beep from Sputnik fell from the heavens and marked the beginning of a new era for the human race.

Satellites and space probes have dramatically changed our way of living, they have turned the world into a global village where an unprecedented wealth of information is at hand anywhere, anytime. The world has shrunk, and our perception of our planet has changed too. Thanks to remote sensing and Earth observation, we can now take the pulse of our environment and devise politics based on an increasing knowledge of the way our world is evolving.
We have explored many worlds in the Solar System and our space-based instruments have been able to open large windows into previously unknown realms of our universe. What was thought to be quiet has revealed its violence and its incredible activity.
Men and women have ventured out of their planetary cradle and have succeeded in their first exploration of another world. They have settled in space and started to work there, first in competition, and then as a global cooperation, in a spirit of peace and for the benefit of mankind.
On the ground, engineers, scientists, technicians, but also politicians, and sometimes dreamers, have worked together to make dreams come true, changing our lives for ever, and hopefully for the best.
Europes contribution to this great adventure has been significant since the very beginning - although sometimes hidden and little known to the general public. Most of the great concepts that led to the development of space technologies and applications were born in Europe, from rocket design to geostationary orbit, and European scientists have been involved in many of the successes of these last five decades.
Halfway into the first century of the human conquest of space, 2007 indeed sees the results of years of investment and daring engineering, both made-in-Europe and in cooperation with the United States and Russia.
Since the beginning of the year, ESA has been looking at the achievements of some of these key actors in space and describing the many advances that have been made in space science and technology, from access to space and Earth observation to the exploration of planets and of the wide universe.

Source 

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JPL podcast: Sputnik - The Beep Heard Round the World, The Birth of the Space Age

Download (6.8Mb,  MP3)

Beep, Beep, Beep (110kb, wav)

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