The Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik 1 satellite on October 4, 1957, surprising the world and starting the space race. The 183-pound (83-kilogram) spacecraft whipped around the Earth every 98 minutes, transmitting a series of beeps. Sputnik means "companion" in Russian.
A Soviet technician works on Sputnik 1 before the satellite's Oct. 4, 1957 launch.
Sputnik 1 launched on a Soviet R-7 rocket to Earth orbit on October 4, 1957, the first artificial satellite in space.
Sputnik 1, exploded view.
Korolev, Sergei Pavlovitch (1906-1966), Russian spacecraft designer and headed the Vostok and Voskhod projects, as well as the early Zond and Cosmos series. His R-7 ICBM launched Sputnik 1 on October 4,1957.
A crowd gazes upon one of seven Sputniks produced by the Soviet Union.
These young students on a guided tour of United Nations Headquarters are seen studying the model of the first Sputnik launched in the USSR in 1957. The Sputnik model was presented to the UN as a gift from the Soviet Union.
Sputnik replica on display in the Milestones of Flight at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
Sputnik was the world's first artificial satellite, launched Oct. 4, 1957.
The Soviet Union's Sputnik 1 became the first artificial satellite on October 4, 1957.
A replica of Sputnik 1 satellite hangs in the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.
Visitors to Chabot Space and Science Center can view space artifacts including a replica of Sputnik 1 (top).
A cosmonaut tosses a miniature Sputnik satellite into orbit during a spacewalk outside the Russian Mir Space Station in this time-lapse series of video images.