Sputnikfest 2014


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

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sputnikfest - Against the Odds ...

Kosmos-1220 was launched into orbit in November 1980 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, which was then part of the Soviet Union - and is the same launch site for Sputnik IV (of Sputnikfest fame.)  Its mission as part of the Soviet naval missile targeting system ended in 1982. 

The Russian Defense Ministry says the satellite burned up in the atmosphere at about 17:58 Moscow time (13:58 GMT) on February 16.  Prior to the fall of the satellite, British gambling giant Ladbrokes, gave odds on likely crash sites for the satellite, for instance: 2 to 1 odds that it to land in the Pacific Ocean and 10 to 1 that it would hit Europe.  

As of right now, I am a little unsure of exactly where it did end up.  While some sources are saying the satellite burned up on re-entry, other stories are saying it crashed to earth in northern Saudi Arabia.  All this more than 50 years after Sputnik IV made landfall in Manitowoc, Wisconsin - but after all that time, in some ways - not much has changed.  Then and now, pinpointing exact trajectories of space debris re-entering the atmosphere is extremely difficult. 

A story in the April-June 1963 Civil Service Journal titled "Death of Sputnik IV: Main Street U.S.A."  describes how unlikely it is for a fragment of a falling satellite to be recovered, as "four-fifths of the earth's surface is water" and "of the one-fifth that is land, a large proportion is behind the Iron Curtain.  Then too, a large part of the Free World land is uninhabited, forested, mountainous, etc."  

Successful recovery of a satellite fragment requires first that it survive the fiery plunge through the Earth's atmosphere and then be recognized for what it was after it does impact the earth.  This nearly didn't happen with Sputnik IV - as the two Manitowoc Policemen credited with the discovery in 1964 initially believed the item to be scrap metal from a local foundry and simply moved the 20-pound chunk of metal to the curb to keep it out of traffic. 

I wonder what odds Ladbrokes would give for a satellite fragment landing in Manitowoc Wisconsin - nearly on the center line of a street running right past a musuem? 

Sputnikfest.  Defy the odds.  Join us on on September 6, 2014.  Planet Terry

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Sputnikfest always features a unique assortment of vendors - and I'd like to introduce you to
someone we have lined up for this year - Spindrift Spray Paint Art by Steven Baughman.

Steven says he has been "into art since I could hold my first Crayola Crayon."   He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and has studied traditional oil/acrylic painting, drawing, art history and commercial art.  Steven has held many different positions in the commercial art arena, but says most of that stuff is done on computers these days and he enjoys “getting my hands dirty” with his current spray paint venture.
Steven still finds it "cool and amazing" that "people seem to like my
paintings" - and pay money for them!  He tries to keep his prices reasonable "none of those $700, $800, $900 paintings you might see at other art shows" - most of his stuff is in the $50-$60 range for finished matted and framed pieces.  (very cool!)

He sells unframed pieces for a little as $25, hand-painted greeting cards for $5, bookmarks for $3, and hand-painted paperweights he calls “Moon Rocks” for $5 - $8 each.  A pretty good deal considering that all his works are originals - he doesn't do any copies or prints. 

Steven enjoys painting a variety of different subjects, but admits to being "a bit of a sy-fy space geek" and being inspired by classic movies like Forbidden Planet, When Worlds Collide, Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers, The Time Machine, and War Of The Worlds.  Great stuff!  

Steven is looking forward to his first Sputnikfest.  I asked him the standard Sputnikfest interview question: "Where were you in ’62?"  He says he was a 7 year old kid living in Toledo, Ohio.   His parents tell him he was born there, but he secretly suspects he was born in California, abducted by space aliens, and transported to Toledo. 

Make plans now to check out Steven's artwork at this year's Sputnikfest - and keep checking back here for more details on this year's event!  Planet Terry

Sunday, February 9, 2014

YES - Plans are underway for the Seventh Annual Sputnikfest!  Check back here in the coming weeks for details on this year's event.  The Sputnikfest event organizers have had a couple meetings already and things are starting to shape up.  And there will be some changes this year!  I'll share with you here in coming weeks just what those changes will be.  We can promise you something that won't change - this year's Sputnikfest will once again be Wacky Tacky Fun!  More details to follow - Planet Terry