The world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched at four minutes to midnight (local time) on 4 October 1957 from a recently completed rocket testing facility in the desert east of the Aral Sea, near the town of Tyuratam in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.1 In Moscow the time was 10.26 p.m., in London 7.26 p.m. In the eastern time zone of the United States it was the middle of the afternoon on the last but one day of an international scientific conference which had assembled to discuss the uses of rockets and artificial satellites within a programme for investigating physical properties and processes of the Earth as a complete planet, the International Geophysical Year or IGY, which had been running since 1 July 1957.


Artificial Satellite Space Policy Ballistic Missile International Geophysical Satellite Project 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    This is the time currently accepted by Western experts: D. G. King-Hele, J. A. Pilkington, D. M. C. Walker, H. Hiller and A. N. Winterbottom, The RAE Table of Earth Satellites 1957–82 2nd edn (London: Macmillan, 1983), p. 1. It also agrees with the best anecdotal evidence about the launch from Russian sources. Earlier estimates put the launch time slightly later: ibid. , p. ii; or earlier:Google Scholar
  2. K. W. Gatland, Astronautics in the Sixties ( London: Iliffe Books, 1962 ), p. 139.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    J. A. Van Allen, Origins of Magnetospheric Physics ( Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1983 ), p. 46.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    G. E. Reedy, The Twilight of the Presidency ( New York: World Publishing, 1970 ), p. 54.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    US Congress, Senate, Armed Services, Hearings: Study of Airpower (84th Congress, 2nd Session, 1956 ), p. 1141.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    C. C. Furnas, ‘Why Did U. S. Lose the Race?’ Life, 21 October 1957.Google Scholar
  7. 23.
    US Congress, House, Appropriations, Subcommittee on War Department Appropriations, Hearings: Military Establishment Appropriation Bill for 1947 (79th Congress, 2nd Session, 1946 ), p. 1117.Google Scholar
  8. 26.
    U. Albrecht, ‘The Nuclear-Propelled Bomber’ in H. G. Brauch (ed. ), Military Technology, Armaments Dynamics and Disarmament ( London: Macmillan, 1989 ).Google Scholar
  9. 29.
    Knowland and Martin, ‘Public Memorandum’ (n. 28). Comparative figures for missile expenditures under the Truman and Eisenhower administrations were first published by the Republican National Committee in November 1957: Washington Daily News, 11 December 1957. See also: D. W. Cox and M. Stoiko, Spacepower: What It Means To You ( Philadelphia: John C. Winston, 1958 ), p. 44.Google Scholar
  10. 32.
    The best recent account of the Soviet space programme from its origins to the present day is probably: B. Harvey, Race Into Space: the Soviet Space Programme ( Chichester: Ellis Horwood, 1988 ).Google Scholar
  11. 33.
    R. Witkin (ed. ), The Challenge of the Sputniks ( Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1958 ).Google Scholar
  12. 34.
    J. M. Gavin, War and Peace in the Space Age (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958; London: Hutchinson, 1959 ).Google Scholar
  13. 35.
    E. Bergaust and S. Hull, Rocket to the Moon ( Princeton: Van Nostrand, 1958 ).Google Scholar
  14. 36.
    Editorial Missiles and Rockets November 1957 (repr. as advertisement New York Times 7 November 1957).Google Scholar
  15. 38.
    C. C. Adams, Space Flight: Satellites, Space Ships, Space Stations, and Space Travel Explained (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958), p. 57 — emphasis added.Google Scholar
  16. 39.
    Cox and Stoiko, Spacepower (n. 29), pp. 30, 76; W. Lippmann, ‘The Portent of the Moon’, New York Herald Tribune 10 October 1957.Google Scholar
  17. 40.
    D. Pearson and J. Anderson, USA — Second-Class Power? ( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1958 ), p. 252.Google Scholar
  18. 41.
    D. Caute, The Great Fear: the Anti-Communist Purge under Truman and Eisenhower ( London: Secker & Warburg, 1978 ), p. 480.Google Scholar
  19. 42.
    Pearson and Anderson, USA (n. 40), pp. 57–8; c. f. DDEL — Harlow Papers, Box 2, Folder: Missiles, Misc. 1957–58 (2), unsigned memo. (probably P. Areeda for Harlow), December 1957: ‘Symington is complaining about the attacks on him by Meade Alcorn, Jerry Ford etc. He says if it doesn’t stop he will attack the President as being responsible in 1947 for the cancellation of the MX-774 ICBM. ’ The allegation that Eisenhower had personally ‘killed’ the American ICBM in 1947 was repeated in the space literature for several years. See for example: D. W. Cox, The Space Race: from Sputnik to Apollo… and Beyond! ( Philadelphia: Chilton Books, 1962 ), p. 20.Google Scholar
  20. 44.
    A. C. Ivy, ‘Space Physiology — Physiological Man Versus His Technological Twin’ in US Congress, Senate, Space Sciences, Committee Print: Compilation of Materials on Space and Astronautics No. 2 (85th Congress, 2nd Session 1958), pp. 169–70. The unnamed participant in the symposium referred to was probably Ivy himself.Google Scholar
  21. 45.
    W. von Braun and F. I. Ordway, History of Rocketry & Space Travel ( London: T. K. Nelson, 1967 ), p. 179.Google Scholar
  22. 46.
    W. von Braun, F. I. Ordway and D. Dooling, Space Travel: a History ( New York: Harper & Row, 1985 ), p. 170.Google Scholar
  23. 47.
    W. A. McDougall,… the Heavens and the Earth: a Political History of the Space Age ( New York: Basic Books, 1985 ), p. 97.Google Scholar
  24. 48.
    R. I. P. Bulkeley and G. Spinardi, Space Weapons: Deterrence or Delusion? ( Cambridge: Polity Press, 1986 ).Google Scholar

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© Rip Bulkeley 1991

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