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Thursday, October 04, 2007


50th Anniversary of Sputnik Launch

I remember well the landing on the Moon, all the kids at school were taken to the assembly hall and we watch the astronauts jump around in jerky black and white, but where were you when Sputnik was launched? Today is the 50th anniversary of Sputniks ascent into orbit. This event was the start of the space race and the catalyst for the Moon landings I watched all those years later. Where was I? Probably asleep in my cot. I was one and a half at the time, Dad and Mum were finishing off the house they had built and just moved into. Their furniture was packing crates, and a photo of the time shows a chubby-legged me watching dad do some carpentry in the back yard.

Did mum or dad take notice of the tiny satellite? Dad was a news hound, and would have probably listened attentively to the radio, but probably said nothing. Mum, with a feisty toddler and expecting her second child, probably didn't take much notice. In my minds eye I can see them, dad sitting on a packing crate, listening to the news on the crackly radio, mum bathing me in the concrete wash trough, a momentous event in time observed in mundane circumstances.

Given the importance of Sputnik, there doesn't seem to be much going on the celebrate this event. Apparently 50 nanosatellites will be launched on the anniversary, but I haven't seen much else about. Tom has a good post on Sputnik, with some audio of the satellite transmissions.


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