October 4th, 1957, a new age in human history dawns.
From the Tyuratam launch base in Kazakhstan, the Soviet Union successfully launches a space craft into orbit, where it will circle the Earth every hour and thirty six minutes.
By today’s standards Sputnik is a small and primitive device, weighing a mere 184 pounds with a diameter of only 22 inches. It is however, a landmark moment in space exploration; Mankind’s first foray into the great unknown of space.
This achievement sends the United States into a frenzy. Soviet spacecraft orbiting above America, broadcasting radio signals strong enough to be picked up even by amateur radio enthusiasts on the ground.
Soviet success took the United States completely by surprise. Neither the military nor the scientific community imagined that the Soviets would achieve such a feat so soon, or that they even possessed the technology to achieve this.
In response to this, America began increasing its efforts in space exploration and in January of 1958 the United States launches its first satellite ‘Explorer‘. By then however it appears the Soviets were ahead in this new ‘space race‘, having sent a dog into orbit aboard Sputnik 2.
The years following this event would see the world’s two superpowers muscle and manoeuvre to become earths premier space faring nation. The Apollo program of the 1960s would propel America into the ascendency in the space race, finally culminating in the ultimate victory; US Astronauts on the Moon.