The Space Race began in earnest on today’s date in 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first human-created device to enter space.
An artificial satellite, only about the size of a beach ball, Sputnik was the forerunner of the three thousand or so satellites that orbit the earth today - and the opening gambit in the race that would lead to men walking on the moon, and the International Space Station. West of the Iron Curtain, the launch caused more consternation than celebration, as many feared that the Soviet Union would use satellites as a platform to launch nuclear missiles. Happily they didn't, so we will be celebrating that, plus mankind's first venture into space, with a Sputnik.
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