It was this seemingly odd looking sphere which would eventually lead the United States to accelerate their ballistic rocket program. Sputnik meant "fellow traveler." It was the first of many Soviet launched satellites. More importantly this beach ball sized object showed the world that the Soviet's reigned supreme in their missile technologies. It was not really the Sputnik satellite which worried the United States instead it was the R-7 launch vehicle which propelled it into space. How long would it would be until the R-7 brought a nuclear bomb to the American mainland? After Sputnik it seemed just a matter of time.
Questions for Photo 1
1. Describe the size, shape and other notable physical details of Sputnik? Does it look like a technological wonder?
2. How do you think this photo was taken? Does it look real? Why or why not?
3. Do think Americans had reason to be scared of Sputnik? Would its successful launch have scared you?
* The image on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Photo 1, but be aware that the file will take as much as 30 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.