Meet Sputnik 1
The Soviet Union successfully launched the Sputnik 1 satellite on Oct. 4, 1957, surprising the world and kicking off the space race. This was the first human-made satellite. Its name means "traveling companion" in Russian.
Earth's 1st Artifical Satellite
The 183-pound (83-kilogram) spacecraft whipped around the Earth every 98 minutes, transmitting a series of beeps.
Working on Sputnik 1
A Soviet technician works on Sputnik 1 before the satellite's Oct. 4, 1957 launch.
Sputnik was in the form of a sphere, 23 inches (58 centimeters) in diameter and pressurized with nitrogen.
This exploded view of the Sputnik 1 satellite reveals what its insides look like. [Sputnik: How the World's 1st Artificial Satellite Worked (Infographic)]
Sputnik's Four Antennas
Four radio antennas trailed behind the spacecraft's spherical body. These ensured that the satellite transmitted radio signals equally in all directions regardless of its rotation. Two of them were 7.9 feet (2.4 meters) long, and the other two were 9.5 feet (2.9 meters) long.
Sputnik Launch Cake
Soviet scientist Leonid Sedov, who created the Sputnik 1, helps to cut a rocket-shaped cake at the International Astronautical Conference in Barcelona a few days after the satellite launched in October of 1957.
Sputnik 1 on the Pad
The Sputnik 1 satellite launched on a rocket of a similar name: Sputnik-PS.
Sputnik 1 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct. 4, 1957.
Sputnik Heads to Space
The launch of Sputnik 1 didn't go entirely to plan. Because the booster didn't reach full power during liftoff, Sputnik ended up orbiting about 310 miles (500 km) lower than it was designed to go.
Sputnik 1's Orbit
Sputnik 1 orbited the Earth for 21 days, circling around the globe every 96.2 minutes. The orbit of Sputnik 1 is traced on globe designed by NASA engineer Robert Farquhar.