Sputnikfest 2014


Rahr-West Art Museum - click HERE for more info!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The space debris that fell to Earth in Manitowoc, Wisconsin fifty years ago this month was from Sputnik IV.  There were three Sputnik's before this one - and many after.  Over the next few weeks we will take a brief look at the first four Sputniks. 

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite in history from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.  The lauch took place on a Monday - the day being dubbed "Red Monday" in the popular press - and is generally accepted to mark the beginning of the Space Age.

Sputnik I was more than twice the size of a basketball, a silvery sphere, polished to a high sheen to aid in telescope tracking.  This is the shiny ball with four trailing antennas design that most of us will think of when we hear the word "Sputnik."  This iconic design is incorporated into the Sputnikfest logo and has been memorialized on one of Tina Kugler's popular annual Sputnikfest posters.

In a world in the grip of the cold war, during a time when the Soviet Union and the United States stared each other down with the implied threat of mutual mass destruction, Sputnik altered the nature and scope of the cold war.  Sputnik I contained two radio transmitters, which sent back the “beep-beep-beep” heard round the world.   Click here for a short podcast from NASA featuring audio of the "Beep Heard 'Round the World."

Sputnik I remained in orbit just three months.  Its orbit decayed and it burned up on re-entry into Earth's atmosphere on January 4, 1958.  Planet Terry

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