Russia Blog congratulates all those who are fond of space exploration and science fiction by marking the 50th Anniversary of Sputnik (translates into English as "Satellite") being launched into orbit. Sputnik was the first man-made object in outer space.
"I am convinced that the Sputnik accomplishment by the Russian people was responsible for the creation of the American space program that I head today," NASA administrator Michael Griffin told space veterans at Russia's Academy of Science in Moscow. "Without Sputnik there would have been no Apollo," said Griffin, referring to the Apollo project, which put a man on the moon in 1969.
Even Hillary Clinton managed to tie Sputnik in to her election campaign by contrasting her position on stem cell research with her Republican opponents. "What America achieved after Sputnik is a symbol of what America can do now as we confront a new global economy, new environmental challenges, and the promise of new discoveries in medicine," Mrs. Clinton said. However, Hillary's reference to Sputnik isn't nearly as entertaining as her recent proposal to imitate President Putin's pro-natalist policies on American soil: "I like the idea of giving every baby born in America $5,000."
Although it would dictate the course of his life, top Russian space scientist Alexander Basilevsky recalled being too busy celebrating his 20th birthday at a science camp in Siberia to be impressed when Sputnik beeped a signal to earth. He saw no practical use for it. "Of course we were drinking some vodka and singing, but when I heard this on the radio, I wasn't interested at all," he said.
Putting the politics between Russia and America, and America's Democrats and Republicans aside, we want to say - happy 50th anniversary, Sputnik!
Sept. 15, 1961: Yuri Gagarin, left, the first human in space, and Sputnik designer Sergei Korolyov in Moscow
Oct. 4: Russian soldiers at attention in front of the newly unveiled monument to Sputnik at Star City, the cosmonaut training center outside Moscow.
Oct. 2: Former spaceflight engineers toast the 50th anniversary of Sputnik at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, Ala. Left to right: Von Braun team engineer Konrad Dannenburg, author and former NASA engineer Homer Hickam, former Marshall Space Flight Center director Bill Lucas, Von Braun team engineer Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger and Davidson Technologies founder Dr. Julian Davidson.