On October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made object ever sent into space...
October 4, 2001 10:00 AM   Subscribe

On October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made object ever sent into space... Sputnik: The Shock of the Century, a book by Paul Dickson released today, is a fascinating look into the historical, political, social and technological ramifications of the Russian sattellite that launched the Space Race, and changed the course of how information traveled. (Today is my birthday, as well—which should explain my interest in the subject.)
posted by Down10 (7 comments total)
Whoops. That should be "satellite."

...Shows what I know.
posted by Down10 at 10:03 AM on October 4, 2001

This should be of interest to those of us who needed to know this a few days ago...
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 10:29 AM on October 4, 2001

Interesting. Today's my mum's birthday as well, she was born in 1956 in Khabarovsk, Russia. Only a year before the launch.

You know, the cold war is over, why do the Americans still hate the Russians so much? Why can't they even acknowledge that the Russian went to space?

"Yeah, so there was the cold war and then we landed on the MOON! Did you hear that? We landed on the MOON!!!!"
"What about Gagarin?"
"Yes, he was an evil guy, I saw on tv that he killed 50 million people! That's more than HITLER! And then we landed on the MOON!!"
posted by tiaka at 10:34 AM on October 4, 2001

I was thinking the exact same thing, hotdoughnutsnow.

tiaka -- maybe you should ask lileks
posted by briank at 11:04 AM on October 4, 2001

What you really wanna do is track down a copy of "Red Star in Orbit", by James Oberg (which unfortunately seems to be currently out of print, though it might be available through Oberg's website or maybe ebay). It's an absolutely fascinating and riveting story of the Soviet space program and the great (largely unsung) scientist Sergei Korolyov(1906-1966). It was a phenomenal book, detailing the insane conditions early cosmonauts were forced to work under, the intense drive that led to the creation of Star City, the horrendous disasters that plagued the program (and were mostly covered up), and the first woman in space (among many other things).
posted by RavinDave at 11:47 AM on October 4, 2001

hehehe well waddaya know. my birthday is today as well. Never knew October 4th was such an important day in history... my world will never be the same. :)

Btw i'm a big one seven today... getting old too quickly.

Was it really 10 years ago... I migrated from Belarus...
posted by spidre at 12:07 PM on October 4, 2001

NASA has a good site on the fortieth anniversary of the launch. including history and photos.
posted by jazon at 12:27 PM on October 4, 2001

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