1957 CE


On the 4th of October 1957ce Humans took their first major step towards space exploration. The artificial satellite was known most commonly as 'Sputnik 1' but was also referred to as 'Satellite-1', 'PS-1', 'Proteyshiy Sputnik-1' and 'Elementary Satellite 1'.

The Soviet Union managed to launch the satellite into an elliptical low Earth orbit where it stayed for 3 months. It orbited for 3 weeks before its batteries ran out on the 26th October 1957, after which it drifted silently for 2 more months before falling back into Earth atmosphere on the 4th of January 1958.

The satellite consisted of a 58cm (23") diameter polished metal sphere with 4 protruding radio antennas that broadcast radio signals. Sputnik 1 weighed 83.6kg (184lb) and completed 1440 earth orbits travelling at a speed of 18,000mph (29,000kph) at an inclination of 65.1° which allowed it to pass over almost all inhabited areas of Earth.

At the time the Soviet Union were involved in the 'Cold War' with the United States and the unprecedented success of the mission caused the 'Sputnik Crisis' which led to the infamous 'Space Race' between the two nations. The mission thrust space exploration into the forefront of peoples consciousness and arguably accelerated the rate of scientific development more than any other mission had to date.