Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Space Age 50th anniversary

Tomorrow will be the 50th anniversary of the launching of Sputnik.

Here's Sputnik's beep.
On October 4 at 10:28 p.m. Moscow time, a brilliant and deafening detonation of smoke and flame illuminated the Soviet Union's rocket test site near Tyuratam, Kazkhistan, as the 32 nozzles announced the rise of the Russian R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile. 295 seconds and 142 miles later, the last of the R-7's engines shut down for good. Soon after, pneumatic locks were activated, a nosecone fairing separated, and an antenna spike was released. Then, in one final act that signaled the dawn of the space age, a pushrod connected to a bulkhead of the R-7 was activated, shoving a 183-pound beach ball-sized aluminum sphere into the cold, harsh blackness of space. Sputnik had arrived.

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