Sputnik Launch

TASS, Announcement of Sputnik Launch. October 5, 1957


Original Source: Pravda, 5 October 1957, p. 1

For a number of years in the Soviet Union scientific research and experimental design work have been conducted toward the creation of an artificial earth satellite.

As has already been announced in the press, the first satellite launches in the USSR were planned for implementation in accordance with the program of scientific research of the International Geophysical Year.

As a result of this great intensive labor of scientific research institutes and design offices the first artificial satellite in the world was created. On 5 October 1957, in the USSR, a successful launch of the first satellite was carried out. According to preliminary data, the rocket imparted to the satellite the necessary orbital speed of nearly 8,000 meters per second. At the present time, the satellite is making an elliptical trajectory around the earth, and its flight can be observed in the rays of the rising and setting sun with the help of the simplest optical instruments (binoculars, telescopes, etc.).

The satellite has the form of a globe of 58 cm. diameter and weighs 83.6 kg. In it have been placed two radio transmitters, continually emitting radio signals at frequencies of 20.005 and 40.002 megahertz… Powerful transmitters insure good reception of radio signals to a wide circle of ham operators. The signals appear as telegraph messages with the length of almost 0..3 seconds, with a pause of the same length. The broadcast at one frequency occurs at the time of the pause of the signal at the other frequency.

Scientific stations, located in different parts of the Soviet Union, are conducting observations of the satellite and are plotting its trajectory. Inasmuch as the density of the rarefied upper layers of the atmosphere is sufficiently unknown, at the present time there are no data for the precise determination of the life of the satellite and the place of its entry into the dense layers of the atmosphere. Calculations have shown that as a result of the great speed of the satellite at the end of its existence it will burn up upon reaching the upper layers of the atmosphere at an altitude of several dozen kilometers.

In Russia at the end of the nineteenth century it was by the work of the prominent scientist K. E. Tsiolkovskii that the scientifically based possibility of achieving cosmic flight with the assistance of rockets was first established.

The successful launch of the first man-made earth satellite brings about a most important contribution to the storehouse of world science and culture. A scientific experiment accomplished at such a great altitude has enormous meaning for the understanding of properties of the cosmic expanses and the study of the earth as a planet of our solar system.

During the International Geophysical Year, the Soviet Union intends to accomplish the launch of several more artificial earth satellites. These subsequent satellites will have an increased size and weight and through them will be conducted a wide program of scientific research.

Artificial satellites of the earth pave the way to interplanetary travel, and apparently our contemporaries are fated to be witnesses to the fact that liberated and politically conscious labor of the people of the new socialist society makes reality of the most daring dreams of mankind.

Source: Vladimir Wozniuk, ed., Understanding Soviet Foreign Policy: readings and documents (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1990), p. 144.

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