50 years since the dawn of the space age

Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite to orbit the Earth.

June 18, 2007 Half a century ago, with the Cold War still in full effect, the Soviet space program struck a crucial first body blow in its space race against the USA - and in the process, ignited the imaginations of millions across the world and lifted our eyes towards the heavens. The year 1957 saw the successful launch of Sputnik, the first man-made satellite to orbit the Earth. A polished 58.5cm diameter aluminum alloy sphere with four long antennae drawn back from its sides, Sputnik covered around 60 million km between its launch on October 4th and when it burned up on re-entry on October 26.

ESA TV recently asked two pioneers of spaceflight to share their recollections of the Sputnik launch and the spaceflight of Gagarin, and to look back at 50 years of spaceflight: these pioneers are Vladimir Remek, the first non-Russian and non-American to make a spaceflight, and Sigmund Jähn, the first (East)-German cosmonaut. Today, Remek is a Member of European Parliament.

The program will be called "Sputnik 50 years ago - two pioneers remember: ESA TV Exchanges"

A preview clip of this documentary is available here (warning: ~30mb mpg), or you can read a PDF transcript here.

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