Launching the first artificial satellites began the space age and started the Soviet-American space race.
This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.
Collection Item Summary:
On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union sent Sputnik 1 into orbit. Sputnik contained a radio transmitter that sent back the “beep-beep-beep” heard around the world. The satellite was the first to orbit the Earth and began a "space race" between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A.
Collection Item Long Description:
Swept Back Look
Even though Sputnik tumbled while in orbit, its antennae were designed to look swept back, streamlined.
Explore Object Connections
A metal arming key is all that remains of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.