Sputnik's Launching

Topics: Satellite, Space Race, Sputnik 1 Pages: 5 (1890 words) Published: March 18, 2013
Throughout all of American history there have been many events that occurred that mark an important turning point, they vary what they influence. One major turning point in space exploration was the first launching of a satellite in 1957. The satellites name was Sputnik. All that could be heard from the artificial satellite was just a series of rhythmic “beeps” on October 4, 1957. Those short beeps came from the first satellite to be launched into space as it passed overhead. Sputnik was a small round artificial moon that became a major turning point in technology and history in years to come. It was the first satellite to be successfully launched, named Sputnik after the Russian word for "satellite," was launched at 10:29 p.m., it was launched by the Soviet Union from the Tyuratam launch base in the Kazakh Republic now known as the country Kazakhstan in 1957 (Geldern par 3). A satellite is an object that orbits another object that is greater in mass due to gravity pulling it in and around. An example is the moon is a satellite orbiting the earth, though in the case of Sputnik, it is a man made satellite. Now there are about eight thousand satellites in space, approximately five hundred and sixty of those objects in space are actually operational satellites, and the rest are dead satellites, or pieces of space debris (Cain par 3). The Cold War was a time of tension between the Soviet Union and the United States, and Sputnik had added to it because some worried that it was more than a harmless beeping satellite. Though it ended up doing more good than bad because it was the main reason that the United States into rushing to get ahead in the “Space Race”. The Space Race was a competition existing between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both were racing to become the superior power in outer space, in terms of exploration, it is generally considered as beginning in 1957 with Sputnik and ending in the 1970s (. This in return furthered developments in other technologies. This event paved way for the modern gadgets we use so often today. Sputnik’s launching is a cause for the eventual landing on the moon in 1969 among other modern day items we use everyday. That small, circular satellite started a ripple that turned into a giant wave of new discoveries sciences and inventions that came to affect a wide array of things we see today. There is no denying the immense impact that the launching of Sputnik in 1957 by the Soviet Union had on the United States and the entire world. "Never before had so small and so harmless an object created such consternation."
(Boorstin par 1). Sputnik’s launching though wasn’t the beginning of interest in space in the United States. The fascination with space exploration and technology can be found as far back as 1939 at the “World of Tomorrow” fair (Dickson 14). Many futuristic gadgets and shows were displayed here. Many of these attractions involved space, the moon, and even other planets. Things like “rocket-ports” and even a simulated trip to Venus show (Dickson par. 15). Also the interest in building a satellite in the first place started in 1952. That was the year that the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) (NAS, par 1). When it was established that July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958 was the International Geophysical Year (IGY). Both the United States and the Soviet Union wanted to be the first to launch an artificial satellite during the IGY to be able to map the Earth’s surface. Of course the “winner”, the one to first launch the satellite was the Soviet Union with Sputnik in 1957.

Though at the time it was very advanced the first satellite, Sputnik had a simple design. Sputnik itself was only about twenty-two inches in size, shaped like a sphere and had four long antennae coming out behind it from the sides and had radio transmitters that transmitted the incessant beeps. Which is about the equivalent of a beach ball. Despite its size, it weighed one hundred and...
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