Major Engineering Events in History: First Artificial Satellite Sputnik 1957

About the major engineering events in history, the first artificial satellite Sputnik is launched into orbit in 1957.

Great Engineering Feats from Early Times to the Present

1957 A.D. (Man's 1st Artificial Satellite Orbited). Sir Isaac Newton, in his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica), published in 1687, explained the dynamics of artificial satellites, but it was 270 years before man could put Newton's theories into practice. On October 4, 1957, the U.S.S.R. successfully launched a spherical satellite weighing 183.4 lbs. that they called Sputnik (Russian for "fellow traveler"). Designed by Dr. Sergei Pavlovich Korolyov, the satellite elliptically orbited earth from an apogee of 588 mi. to a perigee of 142 mi. It remained in orbit approximately 92 days, and is thought to have reentered earth's atmosphere and disintegrated on January 4, 1958. (See also: Other Highlights in World History, Chap. 8.)

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