By: Aidan J. Cole
On October 4, 1957, in the height of the Cold War the U.S. was stunned when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik 1, the very first artificial satellite. It was launched from Kazakhstan and it managed to remain in orbit for three months before it fell back into the Earth’s atmosphere. The Sputnik 1 was about the size of a beach ball and it took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth. Though it was in orbit for only a short time, it was responsible in ushering in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. It was a major win for the Soviet Union and though it was only a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S-U.S.S.R space race began.
Sputnik 1 was the start of the Space Race and it would be seen as a scary event for the Americans. The American Government realized the Soviet Union was becoming more technologically advanced, and many changes needed to take place to catch up. So in response, the U.S formulated NASA to jumpstart American space exploration and would not long after launch their own satellite in January of 1958, named the Explorer 1, not long after Sputnik 1. The government also began to spend more money on scientific research furthering along our advancement in technology and science. Sputnik 1 though it was only a small little beach ball that was launched into space would mark the start of our world changing. It would change the structure of all societies on Earth, it would greatly affect how the Cold War ensued between the Soviet Union and the United States, and it gave away to new technologies. The U.S may have won the Space Race when they landed the first man on the moon but the actual first step for humanity to being a Space varying civilization starts at Sputnik 1. I’m sure that this won’t be the last Space Race we’ll see in our life time. We have the technology to start a moon colony in about 12 years but we haven’t had the need to start it yet. I believe all we need is a little push to get started on our way into the cosmos. If you don’t care about going to space though than you can at least thank the Sputnik 1 for helping you have your cellphone or the internet!