Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Soviet news agency presenter

The first artificial earth satellite in the world has now been created. Early in the morning on October 5, 1957, word first came from the official Soviet news agency Tass that the U.S.S.R. had launched the world's first artificial earth satellite into space. The spacecraft, named Sputnik after the Russian word for ‘satellite,’ was launched on October 4 at 10:29 p.m. Moscow time from the Tyuratam launch base in the Kazakh Republic. Tass reported that the ‘artificial moon,’ which had a diameter of twenty-two inches and weighed 184 pounds, was circling the earth once every hour and thirty-five minutes. From its altitude of 560 miles, Sputnik transmitted signals back to earth strong enough to be picked up by amateur radio operators. Those in the United States with access to such equipment immediately tuned in, and listened in awe as the beeping Sputnik passed over America seven times a day for three months. According to Soviet authorities, the spacecraft was launched to correspond with the International Geophysical Year, a solar period that the International Council of Scientific Unions declared would be ideal for the launching of artificial satellites to study the earth. However, many Americans feared more sinister uses of the Soviet's new rocket and satellite technology, which was apparently strides ahead of the U.S. space effort. Sputnik was fifty-two times the size of the first planned American satellite, and the latter was not even scheduled to be launched into the next year. The U.S. government, military, and scientific community were caught off-guard by the Soviet technological achievement, and their unanimous efforts to catch up with the Soviets marked the inauguration of the ‘space race.’


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