The Sputnik and Its Impact on World History

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The Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite, was launched by the Soviet Union and sparked a change in history that would greatly alter two already feuding places - the USA and the USSR. The “Space Age” or “Space Race” was a race between Russia and the United States for the supremacy of outer space. The Sputnik satellite led to additional funding for the space program in the United States, and the formation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The creation of the Sputnik I affected both the USA, the Soviet Union, and the rest of the world by leading to sending the first humans into space and onto the moon, the creation of NASA, other space exploration devices such as the Mars rover, and new technologies such as space-based telescopes, satellite navigation, and even non-stick cook pans. “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.” states NASA. On October 4, 1957, a 184-pound, beach-ball shaped satellite was launched from Baikonur cosmodome in Kazakhstan. While this is far from the complexities of today's spacecraft, this satellite, named the Sputnik I, transmitted a series of blips back to the earth that changed the face of space travel forever. The Sputnik I was the first artificial satellite in outer space. It orbited the Earth approximately every 96 minutes, and burned up in the atmosphere after 21 days. In the five decades since the launch of this iconic satellite, we have sent about 6,000 other spacecraft past the earth's atmosphere.

After the Sputnik I, there was new competition between the Soviet Union and the United States for the supremacy of outer space. With this sudden leap forward into the unknown by a region other than the United States; our country started pouring more funding into the Untied States Space Program. In this way, the Sputnik I led directly to the formation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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