Sputnik 1 was humanity's first artificial satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low-earth orbit (LEO) on October 4, 1957. The successful launch shocked the world and ignited the Cold War space race that eventually led to landings on the Moon. Sputnik 1 orbited for three weeks transmitting radio pulses before its batteries died, then silently for two more months before falling back into Earth's atmosphere where it burned up.
Sputnik 1 (replica)
Did you know?
Sputnik 1 transmissions could be easily picked up by amateur radio operators on Earth. This is the sound they heard.
About our Spacecraft
Sputnik 1 was a 23-inch diameter pressurized sphere of polished aluminum alloy, with four whip-like radio antenna attachments to broadcast radio pulses.
Creative Commons license: Video derives from the Universal International News archive which has been placed in the public domain.