Secrets of Sputnik revealed

October 1, 2007

That famous blipping sound was apparently not the satellite but the booster rocket, which was an outgrowth of the nuclear arms race, not a Communist mission to claim space superiority.
clipped from www.physorg.com

Jay Walker poses with his Sputnik satellite in his Ridgefield Conn. home Friday Sept. 28 2007. The satellite which Walker says is neither a model nor a replica is one of the Sputnik satellites built by the Soviets in 1957. He says he acquired the sat ...
Jay Walker poses with his Sputnik satellite in his Ridgefield, Conn., home Friday, Sept. 28, 2007. The satellite, which Walker says is neither a model nor a replica, is one of the Sputnik satellites built by the Soviets in 1957. He says he acquired the satellite through a listing on eBay.
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 triumph.

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.
“The military missile was the main thing we were thinking of at the moment.”
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