Friday, October 05, 2012

How Sputnik Changed the World 55 Years Ago Today | VIDEO

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By Clara Moskowitz

      Fifty-five years ago today, the Space Race was kicked into gear by a silver basketball flying through the sky.

Sputnik 1, the Soviet probe that became the first manmade object to reach space, launched Oct. 4, 1957. The feat proved the Soviet Union's technological bonafidesand spurred the United States into stepping up its game in space.

The anniversary is being marked by the 13th annual World Space Week, which includes hundreds of space-themed events in dozens of countries from Oct. 4 through Oct. 10.

Traveling companion

Sputnik ("traveling companion" in Russian) was a small sphere about 22 inches (56 centimeters) in diameter, with four long antennas protruding from its head. The 183-pound (83 kilograms) probe used a radio beacon to send a beeping sound back to Earth as it orbited the planet every 98 minutes.

This beeping was played over the world's radio stations, and in combination with the sight of the probe orbiting Earth, sparked fear in Americans that our country was falling behind the Soviets in technological capability. . . .


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