Jan 12, 2011

Sputnik 1

The Sputnik 1, as most of you know, was the world's first man-made satellite, launched by Russia.(it was the USSR then) This created the so-called "Sputnik Shock", and began the space race between the US and the Soviets.
Wow, it's hard to imagine a time before Sputnik. No pics of the Earth itself, no knowledge about Earth's atmosphere, no space debris...
So, some basic facts about this milestone in space exploration. It launched in October 4th, 1957. It was launched by a 98 feet rocket called the "Sputnik rocket". It had a mission duration of 3 months, and it made 1440 orbits of the Earth until it burned up in the Earth's atmosphere on January 4th of 1958. It was 184.3 lbs heavy.
What else did this satellite do, apart from beginning the start of the space race? Well, it:

  • helped identify Earth's upper atmosphere's density.
  • provided data on radio-signal distribution in the ionosphere(a part of the atmosphere-here's the link to the Wiki page)
meteorite detection by measuring the temperature in the satellite when one of them punctured the pressurized nitrogen-filled body of the craft.
So, it turns out, it did pretty cool things apart from being the world's first satellite.

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