Sputnik was a milestone in the world technological development after it became the first artificial satellite of the earth. The Soviet Union was the country associated with the milestone having launched Sputnik 1 on the fourth day of October 1957. The first artificial satellite was spherical covering a diameter of 58 centimeters and weighing 83.6 kilograms. It was made from a shiny metal so that it could be easily visible, with radio antennae attached to its surface for transmission of radio signals. It went round the earth on an elliptical path within a time period of 98 minutes. On the 26th of October the power source for Sputnik 1 was exhausted and hence a month after the first satellite launch, Sputnik II was sent to the earth’s orbit. The Soviet Union milestone launches of the artificial satellite lead to new advancements in science, technology, political as well as the military and consequently intensifying the US-USSR cold war.
The first sputnik arrival on the earth’s orbit was received by surprise in the US knowing it would give the Soviet Union superiority over the space mighty. The space superiority battle rooted in 1952 after the International Council of Scientific Unions came up with an International Geophysical Year, fueled by the cold war. During the one year period ending 1958 the scientific unions challenged nations to launch artificial satellites in an effort to determine and map the surface of planet earth. Afterwards the US attempted to launch the artificial satellite and was backed up by the Unions. The satellite launch pursued a new direction with the USSR launching sputnik I and II in 1957 ahead of the US. This put the US into fear leading to the Defense department directive to financially support a satellite project. On the 31st day of January 1958 the Americans established their first artificial satellite, Explorer I, on the earth’s orbit.
The sputnik launch was fundamental to further space exploration and research for worldwide scientists. The United States as well as other nations was alarmed about the USSR’s satellite. The US denied the claims of the surprise by the USSR milestone in technology and any military action on the same. The Soviet Union was objective and determined to take over the superiority of the space race. It kept its achievement a secret to the US viewing its reveal as the road to failure. The technology was understood by many as a win over the west and particularly the United States of America.
This continued to increase tension for other nations who invested and emphasized on the need for scientific as well as technological research. The USSR prepared itself for any military action developing advanced and more superior weapons such as the missiles and also satellites to watch over the US. The US secretly developed a satellite to watch over the any missiles from the USSR. The secret satellite was called Corona and was only known to very few people for many years. The US tried severally tried to send satellites to the orbit of the earth until finally the successful explorer one. The US got a major boost and win over the space race; the US citizens made the first landing on the surface of the moon in 1969.
The launch of the sputnik greatly impacted the military causing it to spend large funds for the fear of foreign power taking over the US. The US citizens were on alert while the international community from countries such as China as well as Egypt praised the Soviet technology advancement. The period 1957-1961 saw the US experience moments of self doubt as a result of the USSR satellite launch developing nuclear bombs. It restructured the organization of the military while the US economy experienced great recession that started in 1957. This economic slowdown threatened the US relations with other Europe countries that agreed on the Treaty of Rome. Sputnik launch from USSR real affected the US economy, provoked self doubt and threatened its relation with other countries. It positively challenged further scientific and technological advancement into space explorations.
Divine, Robert A. The Sputnik Challenge. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.