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Sputnik 1, Earth's First Artificial Satellite in Photos

A Light Streak from Sputnik's Rocket

Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

The Sputnik 8K71PS rocket streaks across the sky over Montreal on its way to deliver Sputnik 1 into orbit.

Tracking Sputnik

Bill Bridges/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Scientists from the California Institute of Technology track Sputnik 1 from a mobile van.

Monitoring Sputnik

Sovfoto/UIG via Getty

Radio signals from Sputnik 1 are measured at a radio control post near Moscow as radio operators listen for the characteristic "beep-beep-beep" coming from the satellite.

Students Track Sputnik

Sovfoto/UIG via Getty

Students of the Moscow Electrotechnical Institute communicate with their American colleagues via ham radio to discuss signals received from Sputnik 1.

Looking for Sputnik

Sovfoto/UIG via Getty

Staff at the Central Astronomical Observatory of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev prepare to conduct optical observations of the Sputnik 1 satellite.

Listening to Sputnik

Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Amateur radio operator Dick Oberholtzer and his wife Ruth listen to radio signals from Sputnik 1 via ham radio in Elm Grove, Wisconsin.

Engineers Erect Sputnik-Tracking Antennas

Al Fenn/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Electronics engineers at the 1957 National Electronics Conference in Chicago set up equipment to listen for signals from Sputnik 1.

Signals from Sputnik 1

Paul Schutzer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

An oscilloscope reading shows a signal received from Sputnik 1.

Sputnik Sigthing Makes Headlines

NY Daily News via Getty

The front page of the New York Daily News on Oct. 5, 1957 — one day after Sputnik 1 launched — details the first sighting of the satellite over the United States. It reads, "The Russian satellite was seen for the first time in the U.S. tonight at Columbus, Ohio where Larry Ochs, manning a Moonwatch observation station, reported sighting a steady light that crossed his telescope. It was definitely not a meteor, he said."

Albanian Stamps Commemorate Sputnik

Blank Archives/Getty

An Albanian postage stamp commemorates the a Soviet Sputnik satellite. ("Shqipëria" is another name for Albania.)

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Space.com Staff
Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.