Here's a photo of one of Sputnik's unlaunched siblings:
And here's the news story that launched NASA and ultimately the American race for the Moon:
Click the image to read the original NYT story.
Thank you, little Sputnik, for giving us the Space Age.
EDIT: Today is also the third anniversary of the second flight of SpaceShipOne, which garnered it the Ansari X Prize (thanks to shsilver for the reminder!). I love that they scheduled their winning lauch on Sputnik's anniversary!
SpaceShipOne is the white craft in the foreground; The Spirit of St. Louis is what used to make the first trans-Atlantic flight, and the orange craft is Chuck Yeager's "Glamorous Glennis" Bell X-1 rocket-plane, which he flew past the sound barrier for the first time in history on October 14, 1947 at an altitude of 45,000 feet.