Today is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Earth’s first artificial satellite — Sputnik 1. Lots of news sites are covering various aspects of this anniversary — mostly dealing with what’s happened in space in the intervening 5 decades, and what we may see in the future. What seems to be getting far less coverage, though, is the twisted path that led to the launch.
Sputnik’s launch didn’t take place in a vacuum (no pun intended), after all — a number of social, political, and technical forces were at play. Tune in this week, and I’ll fill you in on all of the good “deep background” information that’s often lost in the shuffle.
If you’re not subscribed to the podcast, you can listen to the episode via an inline player (Flash required) here:[audio:SOS012_Sputnik.mp3]