Thursday, October 04, 2007

Spaced Out

On this date in 1957 the Soviet Union scored the first big points in the space race by succesfully placing into orbit Sputnik, the first of several satellites to carry that name. The Russian name "Спутник" means literally "co-traveler","traveling companion" or "satellite", and its R-7 launch vehicle was designed initially to carry nuclear warheads.

The cold war was marching into it's second decade and this Soviet coup was a startling blow to the collective American ego. Nestled snuggly between the Korean conflict and the Cuban missle crisis, a succesfull satellite launch galvenized the United States and NASA into actions that eventually culminated in the 1969 moonlanding.



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