Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.

Sputnik was first artificial satellite launched by earth. The word ‘sputnik’ means ‘satellite’ in Russian. There were three Sputnik satellites launched by the Russians: Sputnik 1, which was launched on October 4th, 1957: Sputnik 2, which carried the first living animal, a dog named Laika, into space, launched on November 3rd, 1957: and Sputnik 3, which launched on May 15th, 1958.

The first Sputnik was launched into low earth orbit, and, as a result, could be seen all around the earth, and its radio pulses could be detected.

Sputnik orbited the earth in 98 minutes, traveling at 18,000 miles per hour. However, Sputnik’s satellite transmitters failed after three weeks, and it decayed 92 days after it’s launch, completing about 1400 orbits of the earth.

This is not to say that Sputnik was useless, far from it! Sputnik gathered data about the density of the upper layers of the atmosphere and the wave movement of radio signals in the ionosphere.

And now, because of Sputnik, we have put man the moon and we have the International Space Station where astronauts have lived for several months.

I wonder what it’s like up there. with only the heavens surrounding you, and Earth not looking so big after all.

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