Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Happy Birthday, Space Age!

My last post mentions that World Space Week begins today. Why today? Well, it's been 50 years since the start of the Space Age, launched with a little basket-ball sized satellite that beeped as it orbited the world on this day in 1957. Getting ready to launch, Sputnik looked like this:

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.

Tags: astronomy, the space age

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