Thursday, October 04, 2007

50 Years of Sputnik

On a day like today 50 years ago, a revolution took place. A revolution that changed the way people saw the world and ushered in a new era of technological development. It all started because a hunk of metal the size of a Basketball, weighing 183 pounds was hurled into space where it orbited our lovely little planet in an elliptical path.

October 4th 1957 was the day that the first ever artificial satellite was launched into space. It was named Sputnik and was launched by the Russians, the former USSR, from their Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. To make sure that every one back on Earth knew that it was up there, the equipped it with transmitters that broadcasted on 20 to 40 MHz frequencies.

Now these were the days of the good old cold war. A time when the US of A was the self-proclaimed capitalist good guys, and USSR the commie baddies, who were basically worthless. So when the so called bad guys were the first to launch a space satellite, the good guys blew their tops off and vowed never to let the baddies win again. This gave birth to the “Space Race” between USA and USSR, on top of the existing race of “Bigger and Better Nuclear Weapons”. (The term WMD hadn’t still caught on). They kept on building bigger and better stuff to keep ahead of the others. In a way it was good, in that it speeded up the technological development.

Years went by, USSR became capitalist Russia and became pals with USA. Now they work together, instead of against each other to further space exploration. A result of this cooperation is the “International Space Station (ISS)”.

Even though many countries have some sort of space program, only USA, Russia and China have successfully put a human into space.

"In 1957 while anxiously awaiting a successful launch of Vanguard I, I was listening to Radio Moscow on the evening of Oct. 4 and heard the original announcement to the world of Sputnik, the first successful space satellite. Listening on the 27MHz frequency announced on Radio Moscow, I heard the Beep, Beep, Beep that was heard around the world. It was not there at first and I had to listen for a while to get it, gradually building up then dying out. Thus I heard the actual Sputnik before it was even announced on American radio and TV news. Some thought it a hoax at the time but I knew better. Listening to the Beeps getting stronger then fading with a Doppler shift quite evident. 27 MHz was a strange choice of frequency, never figured out why the Russians chose it."

Rich Tweedie – An amateur radio operator who was one of the first people to hear Sputnik

(Pic source Wikipedia)

External Links

NASA History Page


Space Exploration

Space Agencies

International Space Station


Lady divine said...

once again, a very informative post!

Azrael said...

LD - Thank ye kindly

October 4th is also World Animal Day, so give those critters lots of love today and everyday. Was going to do a separate post about it but bit busy and no time :(

That's the link for the site, enjoy

Cheers y'all!!!

Outstander said...

Interesting post. I love the subject "Space". Hope new cold wars would start for things other than Space Technology and Nuclear Weapons, So that the world would be a better place.

pissu perera said...

i hope, i pray and i highly doubt space travel will become a household form of travel during our lifetimes..pity.. great post though :)

Azrael said...

Outstander - Th infinite magic of space...

PP - Sadly yes, we wont be space cowboys in our life time

DeadMansHonda said...

how freaking cool that an amateur radio listener was one of the first to hear sputnik...I love stuff like that....