Sputnik 1 (/ˈspʊtnɪk/ or /ˈspʌtnɪk/; "Satellite-1", or "PS-1",
Простейший Спутник-1 or Prosteyshiy Sputnik-1,
Satellite 1") was the first artificial Earth satellite.
Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4
October 1957. It was a 58 cm (23 in) diameter polished metal
sphere, with four external radio antennas to broadcast radio pulses.
Its radio signal was easily detectable even by radio amateurs, and
the 65° inclination and duration of its orbit made its flight path
cover virtually the entire inhabited Earth. This surprise success
precipitated the American
Sputnik crisis and triggered the Space Race,
a part of the Cold War. The launch ushered in new political, military,
technological, and scientific developments.
Tracking and studying
Sputnik 1 from Earth provided scientists with
valuable information, even though the satellite wasn't equipped with
sensors. The density of the upper atmosphere could be deduced from its
drag on the orbit, and the propagation of its radio signals gave data
about the ionosphere.
Sputnik 1 was launched during the
International Geophysical Year
International Geophysical Year from
Site No.1/5, at the 5th
Tyuratam range, in
Kazakh SSR (now known as
the Baikonur Cosmodrome). The satellite travelled at about 29,000
kilometres per hour (18,000 mph; 8,100 m/s), taking 96.2
minutes to complete each orbit. It transmitted on 20.005 and 40.002
MHz, which were monitored by radio operators throughout the world.
The signals continued for 21 days until the transmitter batteries ran
out on 26 October 1957. Sputnik burned up on 4 January 1958 while
reentering Earth's atmosphere, after three months, 1440 completed
orbits of the Earth, and a distance travelled of about
70 million km (43 million mi).
1 Before the launch
Satellite construction project
1.2 Launch vehicle preparation and launch site selection
1.3 Observation complex
3 Launch and mission
5.1 Backup units and replicas
5.2 In media
6 See also
9 Further reading
9.1 Russian texts
10 External links
Before the launch
Satellite construction project
On 17 December 1954, chief Soviet rocket scientist Sergei Korolev
proposed a developmental plan for an artificial satellite to Minister
of Defence Industry Dimitri Ustinov. Korolev forwarded a report by
Mikhail Tikhonravov with an overview of similar projects abroad.
Tikhonravov had emphasized that the launch of an orbital satellite was
an inevitable stage in the development of rocket technology.
On 29 July 1955, U.S. President
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower announced through
his press secretary that the United States would launch an artificial
satellite during the
International Geophysical Year
International Geophysical Year (IGY). A week
later, on 8 August, the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union approved the proposal to create an artificial satellite. On
30 August Vasily Ryabikov – the head of the State Commission on R-7
rocket test launches – held a meeting where Korolev presented
calculation data for a spaceflight trajectory to the Moon. They
decided to develop a three-stage version of the R-7 rocket for
This metal arming key is the last remaining piece of the first Sputnik
satellite. It prevented contact between the batteries and the
transmitter prior to launch. Currently on display at the Smithsonian
National Air and Space Museum.
On 30 January 1956 the Council of Ministers approved practical work on
an artificial Earth-orbiting satellite. This satellite, named Object
D, was planned to be completed in 1957–58; it would have a mass of
1,000 to 1,400 kg (2,200 to 3,100 lb) and would carry 200 to
300 kg (440 to 660 lb) of scientific instruments. The
first test launch of "Object D" was scheduled for 1957. Work on
the satellite was to be divided among institutions as follows:
USSR Academy of Sciences
USSR Academy of Sciences was responsible for the general
scientific leadership and research instruments supply
the Ministry of Defence Industry and its primary design bureau OKB-1
were assigned the task of building the satellite
the Ministry of Radiotechnical Industry would develop the control
system, radio/technical instruments and the telemetry system
the Ministry of Ship Building Industry would develop gyroscope devices
the Ministry of Machine Building would develop ground launching,
refueling and transportation means
the Ministry of Defense was responsible for conducting launches
Preliminary design work was completed by July 1956 and the scientific
tasks to be carried out by the satellite were defined. These included
measuring the density of the atmosphere and its ion composition, the
solar wind, magnetic fields, and cosmic rays. These data would be
valuable in the creation of future artificial satellites. A system of
ground stations was to be developed to collect data transmitted by the
satellite, observe the satellite's orbit, and transmit commands to the
satellite. Because of the limited time frame, observations were
planned for only 7 to 10 days and orbit calculations were not expected
to be extremely accurate.
By the end of 1956 it became clear that the complexity of the
ambitious design meant that 'Object D' could not be launched in time
because of difficulties creating scientific instruments and the low
specific impulse produced by the completed R-7 engines (304 sec
instead of the planned 309 to 310 sec). Consequently, the government
rescheduled the launch for April 1958. Object D would later fly as
Fearing the U.S. would launch a satellite before the USSR, OKB-1
suggested the creation and launch of a satellite in April–May 1957,
before the IGY began in July 1957. The new satellite would be simple,
light (100 kg or 220 lb), and easy to construct, forgoing
the complex, heavy scientific equipment in favour of a simple radio
transmitter. On 15 February 1957 the Council of Ministers of the USSR
approved this simple satellite, designated 'Object PS'. This
version allowed the satellite to be tracked visually by Earth-based
observers, and it could transmit tracking signals to ground-based
receiving stations. The launch of two satellites, PS-1 and PS-2,
with two R-7 rockets (8K71) was approved, provided that the R-7
completed at least two successful test flights.
Launch vehicle preparation and launch site selection
30k USSR miniature sheet depicting
Sputnik 1 orbiting the Earth, the
Earth orbiting the Sun and the Sun orbiting the centre of the Milky
Sputnik (rocket) and R-7 Semyorka
R-7 Semyorka was initially designed as an
ICBM by OKB-1. The
decision to build it was made by the Central Committee of the
Communist Party of the
Soviet Union and the Council of Ministers of
the USSR on 20 May 1954. The R-7 was also known by its GRAU (later
GURVO) designation 8K71. At the time, the R-7 was known to NATO
sources as the T-3 or M-104, and Type A. A special
reconnaissance commission selected
Tyuratam for the construction of a
rocket proving ground (the 5th
Tyuratam range, usually referred to as
"NIIP-5", or "GIK-5" in the post-Soviet time). The selection was
approved on 12 February 1955 by the Council of Ministers of the USSR,
but the site would not be completed until 1958. Actual work on the
construction of the site began on 20 July by military building units.
On 14 June 1956
Sergei Korolev decided to adapt the R-7 rocket to the
'Object D', that would later be replaced by the much lighter
The first launch of an R-7 rocket (8K71 No.5L) occurred on 15 May
1957. A fire began in the Blok D strap-on almost immediately at
liftoff, but the booster continued flying until T+98 seconds when the
strap-on broke away and the vehicle crashed some 400 km
downrange. Three attempts to launch the second rocket (8K71 No.6)
were made on 10–11 June, but an assembly defect prevented
launch. The unsuccessful launch of the third R-7 rocket (8K71
No.7) took place on 12 July. An electrical short caused the
vernier engines to put the missile into an uncontrolled roll which
resulted in all of the strap-ons separating 33 seconds into the
launch. The R-7 crashed about 7 km from the pad.
The launch of the fourth rocket (8K71 No.8), on 21 August at 15:25
Moscow Time, was successful. The rocket's core boosted the dummy
warhead to the target altitude and velocity, reentered the atmosphere,
and broke apart at a height of 10 km (6.2 mi) after
traveling 6,000 km. On 27 August TASS issued a statement on the
successful launch of a long-distance multistage ICBM. The launch of
the fifth R-7 rocket (8K71 No.9), on 7 September was also
successful, but the dummy was also destroyed on atmospheric
re-entry, and hence needed a redesign to completely fulfill its
military purpose. The rocket, however, was deemed suitable for
satellite launches, and Korolev was able to convince the State
Commission to allow the use of the next R-7 to launch PS-1,
allowing the delay in the rocket's military exploitation to launch the
PS-1 and PS-2 satellites.
On 22 September a modified R-7 rocket, named Sputnik and indexed as
8K71PS, arrived at the proving ground and preparations for the
launch of PS-1 began. Compared to the military R-7 test vehicles,
the mass of 8K71PS was reduced from 280 tonnes to 272 tonnes; its
length with PS-1 was 29.167 metres (95 ft 8.3 in) and the
thrust at lift off was 3.90 NM (7.22 km; 4.49 mi).
These weight reductions were accomplished by deleting the inertial
guidance system, several telemetry measurements, and assorted hardware
designed to support a warhead.
PS-1 was not designed to be controlled, it could only be observed.
Initial data at the launch site would be collected at six separate
observatories and telegraphed to NII-4. Located back in Moscow (at
Bolshevo), NII-4 was a scientific research arm of the Ministry of
Defence dedicated to missile development. The six observatories,
designated IP-1 through IP-6, were clustered around the launch site,
with the closest (IP-1) situated at a distance of 1 km
(0.62 mi) from the launch pad.
A second, nationwide observation complex was established to track the
satellite after its separation from the rocket. Called the
Command-Measurement Complex, it consisted of the coordination center
in NII-4 and seven distant stations situated along the line of the
satellite's ground track. These tracking stations were located at
Tyuratam; Sary-Shagan; Yeniseysk; Klyuchi; Yelizovo;
Makat in Guryev
Oblast; and Ishkup in Krasnoyarsk Krai. Stations were equipped
with radar, optical instruments, and communications systems. Data from
stations were transmitted by telegraphs into NII-4 where ballistics
specialists calculated orbital parameters. The complex became an early
prototype of the Soviet Mission Control Center.
The observatories used a trajectory measurement system called "Tral,"
OKB MEI, by which they received and monitored data from
transponders mounted on the R-7 rocket's core stage. The data was
useful even after the satellite's separation from the second stage of
the rocket; Sputnik's location was calculated from the data on the
second stage's location which followed Sputnik at a known
distance. Tracking of the booster during launch had to be
accomplished through purely passive means such as visual coverage and
radar detection. R-7 test launches demonstrated that the tracking
cameras were only good up to an altitude of 200 km (120 mi)
but radar could track it for almost 400 km (250 mi).
Outside the Soviet Union, the satellite was tracked by amateur radio
operators in many countries. The US government followed it from
the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory of the National Bureau of
Standards. The booster rocket was located and tracked by the
British using the
Lovell Telescope at the Jodrell Bank Observatory,
the only telescope in the world able to do so by radar. Canada's
Newbrook Observatory was the first facility in North America to
photograph Sputnik 1.
A replica of
Sputnik 1 at the U.S. National Air and Space Museum
The chief constructor of
Sputnik 1 at
OKB-1 was Mikhail S.
Khomyakov. The satellite was a 585-millimetre (23.0 in)
diameter sphere, assembled from two hemispheres that were hermetically
sealed with o-rings and connected by 36 bolts. It had a mass of 83.6
kilograms (184 lb). The hemispheres were 2 mm thick,
and were covered with a highly polished 1 mm-thick heat
shield made of aluminium-magnesium-titanium
AMG6T alloy ("AMG" is
an abbreviation for "aluminium-magnesium" and "T" stands for
"titanium"; the alloy is 6% magnesium and 0.2% titanium). The
satellite carried two pairs of antennas designed by the Antenna
OKB-1 led by Mikhail V. Krayushkin. Each antenna was
made up of two whip-like parts: 2.4 and 2.9 meters (7.9 and
9.5 ft) in length, and had an almost spherical radiation
pattern, so that the satellite beeps were transmitted with equal
power in all directions, making reception of the transmitted signal
independent of the satellite's rotation.
The power supply, with a mass of 51 kg (112 lb), was in
the shape of an octagonal nut with the radio transmitter in its
hole. It consisted of three silver-zinc batteries, developed at
the All-Union Research Institute of Current Sources (VNIIT) under the
leadership of Nikolai S. Lidorenko. Two of these batteries powered the
radio transmitter and one powered the temperature regulation
system. The batteries had an expected lifetime of two weeks, and
operated for 22 days. The power supply was turned on automatically at
the moment of the satellite's separation from the second stage of the
The satellite had a one-watt, 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) radio
transmitting unit inside, developed by Vyacheslav I. Lappo from
NII-885, the Moscow Electronics Research Institute, that
worked on two frequencies, 20.005 and 40.002 MHz. Signals on the
first frequency were transmitted in 0.3 sec pulses (under normal
temperature and pressure conditions on-board), with pauses of the same
duration filled by pulses on the second frequency. Analysis of the
radio signals was used to gather information about the electron
density of the ionosphere. Temperature and pressure were encoded in
the duration of radio beeps. A temperature regulation system contained
a fan, a dual thermal switch, and a control thermal switch. If the
temperature inside the satellite exceeded 36 °C (97 °F)
the fan was turned on and when it fell below 20 °C (68 °F)
the fan was turned off by the dual thermal switch. If the
temperature exceeded 50 °C (122 °F) or fell below
0 °C (32 °F), another control thermal switch was
activated, changing the duration of the radio signal pulses.
Sputnik 1 was filled with dry nitrogen, pressurized to 1.3 atm.
The satellite had a barometric switch, activated if the pressure
inside the satellite fell below 130 kPa, which would have indicated
failure of the pressure vessel or puncture by a meteor, and would have
changed the duration of radio signal impulse.
While attached to the rocket,
Sputnik 1 was protected by a cone-shaped
payload fairing, with a height of 80 cm (31.5 in). The
fairing separated from both Sputnik and the spent R-7 second stage at
the same time as the satellite was ejected. Tests of the satellite
were conducted at
OKB-1 under the leadership of Oleg G. Ivanovsky.
Launch and mission
The control system of the Sputnik rocket was adjusted to an intended
orbit of 223 by 1,450 km (139 by 901 mi), with an orbital
period of 101.5 min. The trajectory had been calculated earlier by
Georgi Grechko, using the USSR Academy of Sciences' mainframe
Artist's impression of
Sputnik 1 in orbit
The Sputnik rocket was launched on 4 October 1957 at 19:28:34 UTC
(5 October at the launch site) from
Site No.1 at NIIP-5.
Telemetry indicated that the strap-ons separated 116 seconds into the
flight and the core stage engine shut down 295.4 seconds into the
flight. At shut down, the 7.5 tonne core stage with PS-1 attached
had attained an altitude of 223 km (139 mi) above sea level,
a velocity of 7,780 m/s (25,500 ft/s) and velocity vector
inclination to the local horizon of 0 degrees 24 minutes. This
resulted in an initial orbit of 223 kilometres (139 mi) by 950
kilometres (590 mi), with an apogee approximately 500 kilometres
(310 mi) lower than intended, and an inclination of 65.1 degrees
and a period of 96.2 minutes.
The launch came very close to failure—a postflight examination of
telemetry data found that the Blok G strap-on had not attained full
power at ignition and the resulting imbalanced thrust caused the
booster to pitch over about 2° six seconds after liftoff. Two seconds
later, the flight control system tried to compensate by rapidly moving
the vernier engines and stabilizer fins. The Blok G strap-on finally
reached 100% thrust only one second before the pitch angle would have
been great enough to trigger an automatic shutdown command, which
would have terminated the launch and sent the R-7 and Sputnik 1
crashing to the ground in a fireball only a short distance from the
A fuel regulator in the booster also failed around 16 seconds into
launch, which resulted in excessive RP-1 consumption for most of
powered flight and engine thrust 4% above nominal. Core stage cutoff
was intended for T+296 seconds, but the premature propellant depletion
caused thrust termination to occur one second earlier when a sensor
detected overspeed of the empty RP-1 turbopump. There were 375
kilograms (827 lb) of LOX remaining at cutoff.
At 19.9 seconds after engine cut-off, PS-1 separated from the second
stage and the satellite's transmitter was activated. These signals
were detected at the IP-1 station by Junior Engineer-Lieutenant V.G.
Borisov, where reception of Sputnik 1's "beep-beep-beep" tones
confirmed the satellite's successful deployment. Reception lasted for
two minutes, until PS-1 fell below the horizon. The Tral
telemetry system on the R-7 core stage continued to transmit and was
detected on its second orbit.
The designers, engineers and technicians who developed the rocket and
satellite watched the launch from the range. After the launch they
drove to the mobile radio station to listen for signals from the
satellite. They waited about 90 minutes to ensure that the
satellite had made one orbit and was transmitting, before Korolev
called Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev.
On the first orbit the
Telegraph Agency of the
Soviet Union (TASS)
transmitted: "As result of great, intense work of scientific
institutes and design bureaus the first artificial Earth satellite has
been built". The R-7 core stage, with a mass of 7.5 tonnes and a
length of 26 meters, also reached Earth orbit and was visible from the
ground at night as a first magnitude object following the satellite.
Deployable reflective panels were placed on the booster in order to
increase its visibility for tracking. The satellite, a small,
highly polished sphere, was barely visible at sixth magnitude, and
thus more difficult to follow optically. A third object, the payload
fairing, also achieved orbit.
The core stage of the R-7 remained in orbit for two months until 2
December 1957, while
Sputnik 1 orbited for three months, until 4
January 1958, having completed 1,440 orbits of the Earth.
Sputnik crisis and Space Race
Our movies and television programs in the fifties were full of the
idea of going into space. What came as a surprise was that it was the
Soviet Union that launched the first satellite. It is hard to recall
the atmosphere of the time.
— John Logsdon
The Soviets provided details of
Sputnik 1 before the launch but few
Soviet Union noticed. After reviewing information publicly
available before the launch, the science writer
Willy Ley wrote in
If somebody tells me that he has the rockets to shoot — which we
know from other sources, anyway — and tells me what he will shoot,
how he will shoot it, and in general says virtually everything except
for the precise date — well, what should I feel like if I'm
surprised when the man shoots?
Organized through the citizen science project Operation Moonwatch,
teams of visual observers at 150 stations in the United States and
other countries were alerted during the night to watch for the Soviet
sphere at dawn and during the evening twilight through binoculars or
telescopes as it passed overhead. The USSR asked radio amateurs
and commercial stations to record the sound of the satellite on
Listeners were both thrilled and terrified to hear Sputnik 1's steady
News reports at the time pointed out that "anyone possessing a short
wave receiver can hear the new Russian earth satellite as it hurtles
over this area of the globe".[this quote needs a citation] Directions,
provided by the
American Radio Relay League
American Radio Relay League were to "Tune in 20
megacycles sharply, by the time signals, given on that frequency. Then
tune to slightly higher frequencies. The 'beep, beep' sound of the
satellite can be heard each time it rounds the globe." The first
recording of Sputnik 1's signal was made by
RCA engineers near
Riverhead, Long Island. They then drove the tape recording into
Manhattan for broadcast to the public over
NBC radio. However, as
Sputnik rose higher over the East Coast, its signal was picked up by
W2AEE, the ham radio station of Columbia University. Students working
in the university's FM station, WKCR, made a tape of this, and were
the first to rebroadcast the Sputnik signal to the American public (or
whoever could receive the FM station).
At first the
Soviet Union agreed to use equipment "compatible" with
that of the United States, but later announced the lower
White House declined to comment on military
aspects of the launch, but said "it did not come as a surprise."
On 5 October the Naval Research Laboratory announced it had recorded
four crossings of
Sputnik 1 over the United States. The USAF
Cambridge Research Center collaborated with Bendix-Friez, Westinghouse
Broadcasting Co., and the
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to
obtain a motion picture of Sputnik's rocket body crossing the pre-dawn
sky of Baltimore, broadcast on 12 October by
WBZ-TV in Boston.
U.S. President Eisenhower obtained photographs of the Soviet
Lockheed U-2 flights conducted since 1956.
The success of
Sputnik 1 seemed to have changed minds around the world
regarding a shift in power to the Soviets.
The USSR's launch of
Sputnik 1 spurred the United States to create the
Advanced Research Projects Agency
Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later DARPA) in February 1958
to regain a technological lead.
In Britain the media and population initially reacted with a mixture
of fear for the future, but also amazement about humankind's progress.
Many newspapers and magazines heralded the arrival of the Space Age.
However, when the
Soviet Union launched a second craft containing the
dog Laika, the media narrative returned to one of anti-communism and
many people sent protests to the Russian embassy and the RSPCA.
Soviet 40 kopeks stamp, showing satellite's orbit
Sputnik 1 was not immediately used for Soviet propaganda. The Soviets
had kept quiet about their earlier accomplishments in rocketry,
fearing that it would lead to secrets being revealed and failures
being exploited by the West. When the Soviets began using Sputnik
in their propaganda, they emphasized pride in the achievement of
Soviet technology, arguing that it demonstrated the Soviets'
superiority over the West. People were encouraged to listen to
Sputnik's signals on the radio and to look out for Sputnik in the
night sky. While Sputnik itself had been highly polished, its small
size made it barely visible to the naked eye. What most watchers
actually saw was the much more visible 26 meter core stage of the
R-7. Shortly after the launch of PS-1, Khrushchev pressed Korolev
to launch another satellite in time for the 40th anniversary of the
October Revolution on 7 November 1957.
The launch of
Sputnik 1 surprised the American public and shattered
the perception, furthered by American propaganda, of the United States
as the technological superpower and the
Soviet Union as a backward
country. Privately, however, the CIA and President Eisenhower were
aware of progress being made by the Soviets on Sputnik from secret spy
plane imagery. Together with the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL),
Army Ballistic Missile Agency
Army Ballistic Missile Agency built Explorer 1, and launched it on
31 January 1958. Before work was completed, however, the Soviet Union
launched a second satellite, Sputnik 2, on 3 November 1957. Meanwhile,
the televised failure of
Vanguard TV3 on 6 December 1957 deepened
American dismay over the country's position in the Space Race. The
Americans took a more aggressive stance in the emerging space
race, resulting in an emphasis on science and technological
research and reforms in many areas from the military to education
systems. The federal government began investing in science,
engineering and mathematics at all levels of education. An
advanced research group was assembled for military purposes. These
research groups developed weapons such as ICBMs and missile defense
systems, as well as spy satellites for the U.S.
On Friday, 4 October 1957, the Soviets had orbited the world's first
artificial satellite. Anyone who doubted its existence could walk into
the backyard just after sunset and see it.
— Mike Gray, Angle of Attack
Initially U.S. President Eisenhower was not surprised by Sputnik 1. He
had been forewarned of the R-7's capabilities by information derived
from U-2 spy plane overflight photos, as well as signals and telemetry
intercepts. The Eisenhower administration's first response was
low-key and almost dismissive. Eisenhower was even pleased that
the USSR, not the U.S., would be the first to test the waters of the
still-uncertain legal status of orbital satellite overflights.
Eisenhower had suffered the Soviet protests and shoot-downs of Project
Genetrix (Moby Dick) balloons and was concerned about the
probability of a U-2 being shot down. To set a precedent for
"freedom of space" before the launch of America's secret WS-117L spy
satellites, the U.S. had launched
Project Vanguard as its own
"civilian" satellite entry for the International Geophysical Year.
Eisenhower greatly underestimated the reaction of the American public,
who were shocked by the launch of Sputnik and by the televised failure
of the Vanguard Test Vehicle 3 launch attempt. The sense of fear was
inflamed by Democratic politicians and professional cold warriors, who
portrayed the United States as woefully behind. One of the many
books that suddenly appeared for the lay-audience noted seven points
of "impact" upon the nation: Western leadership, Western strategy and
tactics, missile production, applied research, basic research,
education, and democratic culture.
The U.S. soon had a number of successful satellites, including
Explorer 1, Project SCORE, and Courier 1B. However, public reaction to
Sputnik crisis spurred America to action in the Space Race,
leading to the creation of both the Advanced Research Projects Agency
(renamed the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency
Advanced Research Projects Agency or
NASA (through the National Aeronautics and Space
Act), as well as an increase in U.S. government spending on
scientific research and education.
Sputnik also contributed directly to a new emphasis on science and
technology in American schools. With a sense of urgency, Congress
enacted the 1958 National Defense Education Act, which provided
low-interest loans for college tuition to students majoring in math
and science. After the launch of Sputnik, a poll conducted and
published by the University of Michigan showed that 26% of Americans
surveyed thought that Russian sciences and engineering were superior
to that of the United States. (A year later, however, that figure had
dropped to 10% as the U.S. began launching its own satellites into
One consequence of the Sputnik shock was the perception of a "missile
gap." This became a dominant issue in the 1960 Presidential
One irony of the Sputnik event was the initially low-key response of
the Soviet Union. The Communist Party newspaper
Pravda only printed a
few paragraphs about
Sputnik 1 on 4 October. In the days
following the world's startled response, the Soviets started
celebrating their great accomplishment.
Sputnik also inspired a generation of engineers and scientists.
Harrison Storms, the North American designer who was responsible for
X-15 rocket plane, and went on to head the effort to design the
Apollo Command/Service Module
Apollo Command/Service Module and
Saturn V launch vehicle's second
stage was moved by the launch of Sputnik to think of space as being
the next step for America. Astronauts Alan Shepard, who was the
first American in space, and
Deke Slayton later wrote of how the sight
of Sputnik I passing overhead inspired them to their new careers.
Homer Hickam's memoir
Rocket Boys and the movie
October Sky tell the
story of how a coal miner's son, inspired by Sputnik, started building
rockets in the mining town where he lived.
The launch of
Sputnik 1 inspired United States writer
Herb Caen to
coin the term "beatnik" in an article about the
Beat Generation in the
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle on 2 April 1958.
The flag of Kaluga, featuring Sputnik 1.
The flag of the Russian city of Kaluga, which, due to its importance
as Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's birthplace, is very focused on space,
features a small Sputnik in the left section.
Backup units and replicas
Sputnik replica at the
Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas
At least two vintage duplicates of
Sputnik 1 exist, built apparently
as backup units. One resides just outside Moscow in the corporate
museum of Energia, the modern descendant of Korolev's design bureau,
where it is on display by appointment only. Another is in
Museum of Flight
Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. Unlike Energia's unit, it
has no internal components, but it does have casings and molded
fittings inside (as well as evidence of battery wear), which suggest
it was built as more than just a model. Authenticated by the Memorial
Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow, the unit was auctioned in 2001 and
purchased by an anonymous private buyer who donated it to the
museum. Two more Sputnik backups are said to be in the personal
collections of American entrepreneurs Richard Garriott and Jay S.
In 1959, the
Soviet Union donated a replica of Sputnik to the United
Nations. There are dozens of other full-size Sputnik replicas,
more or less accurate, on display in locations around the world,
National Air and Space Museum
National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.;
Frontiers of Flight Museum
Frontiers of Flight Museum and the Fort Worth Museum of Science
and History, both in Texas; the Armstrong Air and Space
Museum and the National Museum of the United States Air Force, both in
Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas; the California Science
Center in Los Angeles; the Science Museum, London; the World Museum in
Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia and outside the
Russian embassy in Madrid, Spain.
Three one-third scale student-built replicas of
Sputnik 1 were
deployed from the
Mir space station
Mir space station between 1997 and 1999. The first,
Sputnik 40 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the launch
of Sputnik 1, was deployed in November 1997.
Sputnik 41 was
launched a year later, and Sputnik 99 was deployed in February 1999. A
fourth replica was launched, but never deployed, and was destroyed
when Mir was deorbited.
Sputnik 1 is mentioned in the 1999 film
Toy Story 2
Toy Story 2 as the cause of
the interest of kids to space toys instead of western toys.
Sputnik 1 appears in the 1999 film The Iron Giant.
Sputnik 1, or a replica of it, appears in the 2008 film WALL-E, as the
titular character exits Earth's atmosphere, attached to EVE's rocket,
and finds a subsized Sputnik, still transmitting its radio signal, on
Sputnik appears in the 1999 film
October Sky as the catalyst for
NASA engineer Homer Hickam's interest in amateur rocketry.
Soviet Union portal
-nik – words formed with the ending -nik
Explorer 1, the United States' first successfully launched orbital
Donald B. Gillies
Donald B. Gillies – one of the first to calculate the Sputnik 1
ILLIAC I – First computer to calculate the orbit of Sputnik I
Kerim Kerimov – one of the lead architects behind Sputnik 1
Oleg Ivanovsky – deputy chief constructor of the first and second
Sergei Korolev – chief designer of Sputnik 1
Space Race – the competition between the
Soviet Union (USSR) and the
United States (USA) for supremacy in space exploration
Sputnik crisis – the American reaction to the success of the Sputnik
Timeline of artificial satellites and space probes
Timeline of Russian innovation
^ a b c d e f Anatoly Zak (2015). "Sputnik's mission".
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^ 45th Anniversary of the First Start of Native
ICBM R-7 at Ukrainian
Portal (in Russian)
^ Sputnik launch vehicle 8K71PS
^ Siddiqi, p. 39.
^ a b Siddiqi, p. 162.
^ Mission Control Center: Labour, Joys and Ordeals (in Russian)[not in
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^ (in Spanish)
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October 12, 1957", 30 June 2013.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sputnik-1.
Sputnik 1 at MentalLandscape.com; includes authentic
recordings of the satellite signal
Documents related to
Sputnik 1 and the
Space Race at the Dwight D.
Eisenhower Presidential Library
An interview with Sir Arthur C. Clarke on Sputnik 1
Satellite One: The story of the first man-made device in space Tass
NASA's 50th Anniversary of the
Space Age & Sputnik – Interactive
Sputnik Program Page by NASA's Solar System Exploration
NASA on Sputnik 1
A joint Russian project of Ground microprocessing information systems
SRC "PLANETA" and Space Monitoring Information Support laboratory (IKI
RAN) dedicated to the 40th anniversary of Sputnik 1
A film clip "New Moon. Reds Launch First Space Satellite, 1957/10/07
(1957)" is available at the Internet Archive
← 1956 · Orbital launches in 1957 ·
Sputnik 2 Vanguard TV3
Payloads are separated by bullets ( · ), launches by pipes (
). Manned flights are indicated in bold text. Uncatalogued launch
failures are listed in italics. Payloads deployed from other
spacecraft are denoted