Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tonight's Sky for October 4: Sputnik Launched (1957)

It was on this date in 1957 that the world changed forever when the Soviet Union launched its beeping, basketball-sized Sputnik satellite. The world's first artificial satellite and clearly no threat in and of itself to American national security, the launch of Sputnik created great fear in America because it (1) showed that Soviet rocket technology was superior to ours and (2) showed that it was theoretically possible for the Soviets to rain nuclear weapons on us from orbit. The last major impact: Sputnik was the green flag to the Space Race, which culminated 12 years later when America landed Apollo 11 on the Moon and returned its crew safely to the Earth.  

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