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Sputnik

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alokmohan

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When Sputnik took off 50 years ago, the world gazed at the heavens in awe and apprehension, watching what seemed like the unveiling of a sustained Soviet effort to conquer space and score a stunning Cold War t<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />But 50 years later, it emerges that the momentous launch was far from being part of a well-planned strategy to demonstrate communist superiority over the West. Instead, the first artificial satellite in space was a spur-of-the-moment gamble driven by the dream of one scientist, whose team scrounged a rocket, slapped together a satellite and persuaded a dubious Kremlin to open the space age.<br /><br />And that winking light that crowds around the globe gathered to watch in the night sky? Not Sputnik at all, as it turns out, but just the second stage of its booster rocket, according to Boris Chertok, one of the founders of the Soviet space program.<br /><br />In a series of interviews in recent days with The Associated Press, Chertok and other veterans told the little-known story of how Sputnik was launched, and what an unlikely achievement it turned out to be.<br /><br />Chertok couldn't whisper a word about the project through much of his lifetime. His name, and that of Sergei Korolyov, the chief scientist, were a state secret. Today, at age 95 and talking to a small group of reporters in Moscow(yahoo news)<br />
 
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qso1

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I saw that article somewhere. They did have an R-7 rocket to launch Sputnik with. Any scrounging was probably more along the lines of convincing the Soviet military to allow Korolyov to utilize one of the R-7s to launch Sputnik rather than scrounging as in slapping a rocket together out of odds and ends. They then turned around and launched another R-7 with the dog Laika aboard. The R-7 rocket forms the basis of many of their rockets including the Soyuz, Vostok, Voskhod etc launchers. The R-7 (NATO codenamed Sapwood) was also their first ICBM.<br /><br />The reports of seeing the satellite do make more sense to me now. It seemed the satellite was too small despite reflectivity to be what people around the world saw. The upper stage explanation does make more sense. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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The major scientific satellite that should have been first was launched as Sputnik 3.<br /><br />It's worth noting that despite its simplicity, Sputnik 1 still yielded useful scientific data on the geoid, the upper atmosphere, the space thermal environment, and micrometeorites.<br /><br />We come a long way in 50 years...<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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3488

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Hi Jon, could not agree with you more.<br /><br />Hopefully the next 50 will be very interesting too. I think it will be.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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cbased

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Oh, I remember how sad I was (when I was a kid) when I first heard the story about Laika.<br />
 
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holmec

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I don't know why this is news now....History channel did a documentary on Korolyov and Von Braun's story in consecutive order to give a full picture of the space race.<br /><br />In it Korolyov seizes the right moment to talk to Kruschev personally to convince him of a satellite launch because the military would have non of it.<br /><br />And apparently Korolyov could get an idea of what Von Braun is doing based on the news papers, but of course no one published what Korolyov was doing.<br /><br />In that day there was no space comm systems, satellite's were just things theorized by scientists. Common people knew nothing about them, least of all politicians. <br /><br />Korolev was able to seize the moment because the polit bureau wanted larger and larger bombs to hit the US. So he designed a rocket that could reach orbit.<br /><br />So the 'beep' on Sputnik was naturally able to be picked up on regular radio. So radio aficionados around the world picked it up. Giving credence to Pravda's claims of the world's first satellite being launched.<br /><br />And IMHO that's where the real rubber met the road. This story of seeing sputnik in the sky (now we know it was not the satellite at all) was secondary to it. Why, because back in the day most people read the paper, not many tv's were around. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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Laikas fate was certainly unfortunate. The Russians would have come off looking even better had Laika survived and provided good PR images upon returning to earth. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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themanwithoutapast

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Laikas fate was certainly unfortunate. The Russians would have come off looking even better had Laika survived and provided good PR images upon returning to earth.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />They had dogs up in orbit and returned them savely in Aug 1960. The problem was that in Nov 1957 when Laika was launched the re-entry technology was simply not available. This was also just the second orbital launch of the R7.<br /><br />Even more interesting is that most people know about Laika, but so few know about the dogs Belka and Strelka (not to mention the rabbit, the rats and mice that were part of the mission too) which actually made it to orbit and made it back safely.
 
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qso1

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I recall the dogs Belka and Strelka. My comment was mainly that it was unfortunate what happen to Laika not as a slam against the Russians. That mission, as you mentioned, was only the second flight of the R-7 and re-entry technology still largely unproven meant that they couldn't risk putting a Cosmonaut up that soon.<br /><br />The downside was when people heard about Laika, some thought the Russians uncaring. Had Laika survived, it simply would have been better PR. We did the same with Chimps and I recall that a few didn't make it but I cannot recall which ones now. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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themanwithoutapast

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p><br />I recall the dogs Belka and Strelka. My comment was mainly that it was unfortunate what happen to Laika not as a slam against the Russians. That mission, as you mentioned, was only the second flight of the R-7 and re-entry technology still largely unproven meant that they couldn't risk putting a Cosmonaut up that soon.<br /><br />The downside was when people heard about Laika, some thought the Russians uncaring. Had Laika survived, it simply would have been better PR. We did the same with Chimps and I recall that a few didn't make it but I cannot recall which ones now.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />In 1957 the technology was not available for re-entry of Sputnik-2, so it is not that it was "largely unproven", but that it just wasn't there. Laika was meant to die in orbit from the start of the mission - the alternative for the Russians would just have been not to launch an animal at all until the technology was available (in 1960).<br /><br /><br /><br />
 
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alokmohan

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Today is that historic day. But poor laika was sent to early.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Happy Birthday Space Age! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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PistolPete

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It's now to late, but I just got an idea of what Russia could have done to mark the occasion: reenact the launch. All they would have to do is take a Soyuz 0 and 1st stage and put a working replica of Sputnik on top. Because the current Soyuz rocket has 50 years worth of improvements, the orbit should be a bit higher and more stable. They could have made a big event out of it. Oh well, too late now.<br /><br />Anyway, last night I was standing outside waiting to do a night flight for my UAV training. There wasn't much light pollution so I inevitably spent my time looking at the stars. The big dipper was out and I could even make out the Milky Way and most of Ursa Minor. I happened to spot a satellite moving towards the northeast. I thought it was somewhat poetic to see a satellite in the 50th anniversary of Sputnik. I would wager it was about the same inclination as Sputnik as well. I pointed this out to the people standing around me. Most of them didn't even know you could see a satellite at night. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
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themanwithoutapast

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It's now to late, but I just got an idea of what Russia could have done to mark the occasion: reenact the launch. All they would have to do is take a Soyuz 0 and 1st stage and put a working replica of Sputnik on top. Because the current Soyuz rocket has 50 years worth of improvements, the orbit should be a bit higher and more stable. They could have made a big event out of it. Oh well, too late now.<br /><br />------------<br />That would have cost them at least 50 million for the Soyuz launch for putting a 83kg spacecraft into orbit which will not do anything else than send bips on short-wave radio... <br /><br />
 
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MeteorWayne

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Oct 4th APOD <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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PistolPete

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Propaganda can often have a value worth more than its monetary cost. <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />BTW if any of you haven't seen Stephen Colbert's interview with Jim Lovell last night, I highly recommend it.<br /><br />Link <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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That was actually a great interview by Colbert. Usually he's too involved in poking fun, but now that he believes we landed on the moon, both he and Lovell handled it very entertainingly.<br /><br />Thanx very much for the link. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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PistolPete

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It's not surprising that Colbert is fairly scientifically minded. He has done several segments based off of articles he read a LiveScience.com, which as everyone knows is a part of Imaginova, the parent company of SDC.<br /><br />SDC and LiveScience share the same message board, so he may lurk here. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><em>So, again we are defeated. This victory belongs to the farmers, not us.</em></p><p><strong>-Kambei Shimada from the movie Seven Samurai</strong></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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{shudder} <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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alokmohan

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On October 4 at 10:28 p.m. Moscow time, a brilliant and deafening detonation of smoke and flame illuminated the Soviet Union's rocket test site near Tyuratam, Kazkhistan, as the 32 nozzles announced the rise of the Russian R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile. 295 seconds and 142 miles later, the last of the R-7's engines shut down for good. Soon after, pneumatic locks were activated, a nosecone fairing separated, and an antenna spike was released. Then, in one final act that signaled the dawn of the space age, a pushrod connected to a bulkhead of the R-7 was activated, shoving a 183-pound beach ball-sized aluminum sphere into the cold, harsh blackness of space. Sputnik had arrived. <br /><br />"I was in my office in Building 125 at JPL when Dr. Pickering called again," said Richter. "I do not recall exactly what was said but it was a short conversation about Sputnik. I then went to a radio receiver and tried to dial it in." <br /><br />The Russians were advertising that signals from their satellite could be received on a frequency 20 MHz (megacycles). But all Richter could dial in was static. He immediately suspected the high-tension wires located on a hill above JPL were blocking out the frequency. So the U.S. Navy veteran and Caltech graduate got on the phone, but not to his boss Pickering this time. Instead, he called a friend, and more importantly, a member of the San Gabriel Valley Radio Club. <br /><br />"Bob Legg had a lot of ingenuity and his own ham setup, and he lived in nearby Temple City," said Richter. "At the time there were no high tension wires near Bob's home, so he had a clear shot at receiving a signal." <br /><br />The one thing Legg did not have was an antenna that could pick up transmissions on 20 MHz. So the resourceful Legg looked around his house and found something he thought could do the job: a wire-mesh mosquito screen on one of his windows. He ran a wire from the screen to his radio, dialed in 20 MHz and listened. <br /><br />"When Bob called m
 
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alokmohan

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Fifty years ago, a 184lb ball called Sputnik became the first man-made object to be launched successfully into orbit. The world was changed for ever. Rupert Cornwell looks back on an achievement that set the tone of geopolitics for a generation <br />Published: 04 October 2007 <br />Log on to the internet, go to www.history.nasa.gov/sputnik/sputnik.wav and you can listen to the sound that chilled America to its bones. Half a century on, it is utterly unfrightening – a metallic, slightly hissing beep-beep-beep that might come from a boiling kettle.<br /><br />The object that emitted it, too, from this safe distance is nothing much to write home about. It was rather larger than a basketball, with four antennae, each about eight feet long, resembling nothing so much as the whiskers on a cat. Nor was its Russian name exactly threatening, meaning literally "travelling companion". But if you lived in the seemingly omnipotent United States of America of the late 1950s, and first glimpsed this tiny wayfarer slipping across the night sky, or heard that strange beeping on the radio, you might well have thought it was a sign heralding the end of the world – or rather the beginning of a world in which the Soviet Union and communism would be the masters.<br /><br />Exactly 50 years ago today, on 4 October 1957, the Russians launched Sputnik, the first ever artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. It circled our planet in roughly 96 minutes, at an altitude of about 150 miles, travelling at a speed of 18,000mph, crossing the US seven times a day. Inside the sphere of polished aluminium were two radio transmitters, and batteries.<br /><br />Compared to the devices that orbit the planet now, it was primitive in the extreme. Yet Sputnik was a watershed in history.<br /><br />Curiously, in the Soviet Union of the time, it didn't seem that big a deal, at least initially. The country's leader Nikita Khrushchev was tol
 
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gunsandrockets

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<It's now to late, but I just got an idea of what Russia could have done to mark the occasion: reenact the launch. All they would have to do is take a Soyuz 0 and 1st stage and put a working replica of Sputnik on top... They could have made a big event out of it. Oh well, too late now.><br /><br />Too expensive just for PR. But if possible it would have been a nice touch to schedule a launch that was going up anyway with it's normal payload on the anniversary date.<br /><br />I think an anniversary date launch would have made even better PR for a firm like SpaceX! (If it made it to orbit of course) <br />
 
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