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Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1.jpg
Organization: Soviet Union
Major contractors: OKB-1, Soviet Ministry of Radiotechnical Industry
Mission type: Atmospheric studies
Satellite of: Earth
Launch date: 19:28:34, October 4, 1957 (UTC) (1957-10-04T19:28:34Z) (22:28:34 MSK)
Decay: 4 January 1958
Mission duration: 3 months
NSSDC ID: 1957-001B
Webpage: NASA NSSDC Master Catalog
Mass: 83.6 kg (184.3 lb)
Semimajor axis: 6,955.2 km (4,321.8 mi)
Eccentricity: 0.05201
Inclination: 65.1°
Orbital period: 96.2 minutes
Apoapsis: 7,310 km (4,540 mi) from centre, 939 km (583 mi) from surface
Periapsis: 6,586 km (4,092 mi) from centre, 215 km (134 mi) from surface
Orbits: 1,440

Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite to go around the Earth. It was made by the Soviet Union. It was launched on 4 October 1957 at Baikonur Cosmodrome. It orbited (went around) the Earth for three months. It carried a radio transmitter. It did 1,440 orbits of the Earth during this time. It went down into Earth's atmosphere on 4 January 1958 and burned up.

The United States was very surprised when the Soviet Union sent Sputnik 1 into space. It did not want to fall behind. So, it began spending more money on science and education. This was when the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States began.


The word Sputnik comes from the Russian Спутник, literally travelling companion. It is pronounced IPA: ['sput.nik] or IPA: ['sput.nık], not 'spʌt.nık.

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