Building the World

Sputnik: Traveling Companion to the Future


October 4, 1957 opened a new chapter in the human story; Sputnik began the space odyssey. Image: wikimedia commons.

On October 4, 1957, a new story began. It is the story of humankind venturing forth from our native planet: earth. The basketball-sized object launched from Tyuratam, Kazakhstan, led to future milestones in space exploration including the 1969 Apollo lunar landing and the success of COMSAT opening satellite communications. When the Soviet Union sent the first satellite into space, they called it Sputnik; in the wonderful richness of the language of Dostoevsky and Pushkin, the name foretold the future of human spaceflight. While the technical term for satellite, “sputnik” also means “traveling companion.”

For a gallery of Soviet space posters:

Laika, also called “Muttnik,” was the first earthling in space, and although her journey was tinged with sad tragedy, she was heralded by many honors including this postage stamp:

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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