Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



TECH SPACE
Sputnik, the tiny sphere that launched the space race
By Marina LAPENKOVA
Korolyov, Russia (AFP) Oct 3, 2017


When the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite 60 years ago, it marked both the beginning of space exploration and the start of a race between Moscow and Washington.

Sputnik, the tiny silver sphere with four spider leg-like antennae, showed off Soviet technological prowess.

But German scientists -- who had worked on Adolf Hitler's rocket projects and brought to the USSR after the war -- were the ones who stood at the forefront of space achievement.

The founder of the Soviet space programme, Sergei Korolyov, worked with German scientists and fragments of the German FAU rocket to develop a new military missile, said Nikolai Shiganov, one of the scientists behind Soviet rocket R-7 which put Sputnik into orbit.

"The Korolyov bureau had to create an intercontinental rocket capable of carrying a hydrogen bomb to any point on the planet," Shiganov, now aged 97, told AFP in an interview.

As he worked for the military, Korolyov -- who spent six years in the Gulag -- dreamt of space conquest. But time was running out: one of the principal German engineers, Wernher von Braun, was already working for the Americans.

After three years of work and three rocket accidents, the fourth R-7 with a dummy warhead successfully hit its target in Kamchatka, in the Far East, in August 1957. The test was hailed as successful although the rocket head disintegrated in flight.

Creating a new rocket head would take six months, much too long as the Soviets wanted to pre-empt the launch of a US satellite in 1958. So Korolyov suggested creating a simple satellite made of two hemispheres containing sensors, a radio and a battery pack.

In just two months, the apparatus measuring 58 centimetres (22 inches) in diameter and weighing 83.6 kilogrammes (184 pounds) was ready, remembered Shiganov, whose lab created the aluminium alloy and came up with a new welding technique used to make the Sputnik and the R-7.

- 'A tiny dot' -

Though the satellite captured imaginations, with radio amateurs tuning in around the world to hear its simple calls, Sputnik was secondary to its inventors, Shiganov said.

"The most important thing was that it proved the effectiveness of the R-7 rocket."

The secrecy around the project meant Shiganov didn't learn of the actual launch until he heard on the radio that the first Earth satellite was put in orbit on October 4, 1957 from a testing range in Kazakhstan, the future Baikonur cosmodrome.

On a sunny October Sunday, Shiganov was able to see the glint of Sputnik with his naked eye.

"It was a tiny dot which shone in the sun because of its glossy surface," he said.

Sputnik was in orbit for 92 days, making 1,440 circles around Earth, before losing speed and burning up in the atmosphere. Several replicas are now on show in museums.

Shiganov's colleague Eduard Bolotov, 84, actually saw Sputnik as a young rocket trajectory engineer of 24, even gaining access to the depot where the rocket stood during final preparations.

The miniscule satellite sat atop the rocket and Bolotov, with other young specialists, patted the rocket's side and signed his name on the inside of the nozzle.

"I watched the actual launch through a gap from my post," Bolotov said.

Although workers were summoned to the launchpad with secret letters, crowds of people also turned up, he said. "Their relatives had told them about the launch."

"Only at 3 am we found out that Sputnik was in orbit, and radios all over the world started to register its beeps."

"Then we went back to our dorms and drank pure alcohol for victory of our rocket," he said.

TECH SPACE
Infostellar closes new funding for satellite antenna sharing platform with Airbus Ventures
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Sep 15, 2017
Infostellar has announced a $7.3 million Series A investment, led by Airbus Ventures, with additional funds from WERU Investment, D4V, Sony Innovation Fund, and existing investors, FreakOut Holdings, and 500 Startups Japan. This financing will be used to fund the launch of Infostellar's flagship platform, StellarStation, expand its network of partner antennas, and hire additional talented team m ... read more

Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

TECH SPACE
Fast-moving space industries create new ethical challenges

OECD calls for tourism to be more sustainable

Space Cooperation Between China, Russia Needs Long-Term Mechanism

NASA's New Hubble E-Book Series Dives into the Solar System and Beyond

TECH SPACE
mu Space partners with Blue Origin to launch geostationary satellite

Arianespace to launch COSMO-SkyMed satellites manufactured by Thales

New Zealand opens first rocket launch site

Arianespace signs contract for 10 Vega and Vega C launchers

TECH SPACE
Lockheed Martin Reveals New Details to its Mars Base Camp Vision

Lockheed Martin unveils reusable water-powered Mars lander

Methane belches kept water flowing on ancient Mars

SpaceX's Musk unveils plan to reach Mars by 2022

TECH SPACE
UN official commends China's role in space cooperation

Mars probe to carry 13 types of payload on 2020 mission

China's cargo spacecraft separates from Tiangong-2 space lab

Work on China's mission to Mars 'well underway'

TECH SPACE
L-Band Satellite Operators Need To Reposition

GomSpace and Luxembourg to develop space activities in the Grand Duchy

Spacepath Communications Acquires Tango Wave

Brodeur Partners Launches Entrepreneurial Space Group

TECH SPACE
New laser sensor could detect explosives, dangerous gases more quickly

Germany-based Hensoldt acquires Kelvin Hughes

UV-irradiated amorphous ice behaves like liquid at low temperatures

The 3-D selfie has arrived

TECH SPACE
Glenn Tests Thruster Bound for Metal World

Searching for Distant Worlds With a Flying Telescope

MATISSE to Shed Light on the Formation of Earth and Planets

Meteors splashing into warm ponds sparked life on Earth

TECH SPACE
Helicopter test for Jupiter icy moons radar

Solving the Mystery of Pluto's Giant Blades of Ice

Global Aerospace Corporation to present Pluto lander concept to NASA

Pluto features given first official names




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement