This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Sputnik 1

Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1 -

Credit: © Mark Wade. 15,762 bytes. 334 x 234 pixels.

Other Designations: PS-1. Class: Technology. Nation: USSR. Manufacturer: OKB-1.

Tikhonravov's 1.4 tonne ISZ satellite was to have been launched by the new R-7 ICBM as the Soviet Union's first satellite, during the International Geophysical Year. But it was not ready in time, so Korolev hurriedly developed Sputnik 1 as a replacement. It became the first artificial satellite of the earth. Sputnik 1 had 1 watt of power, producing an 0.4 second duration signal on the 7 and 15 m bands. Four antennae were deployed at 35 degree angles. Power was provided by three silver-zinc batteries. Thermo-regulation was by a ventilator. The 580 mm sphere had a mass of 83 kg and was made of highly polished Aluminium AMG6T alloy 2 mm thick. It was built without drawings due to the quick time schedule. Korolev was everywhere, supervising all aspects of its construction. It functioned for 21 days.


Total Mass: 84 kg.

Sputnik 1 Chronology

15 February 1957 Decision to build Sputnik 1 due to delays in Sputnik 3 design. Launch Vehicle: R-7 8K71.

Council of Soviet Ministers (SM) Decree 171-83ss 'On Measures to Carry Out During the International Geophysical Year.--Launch of simple satellites in mid-1957' was issued.

04 October 1957 Sputnik 1 Launch Site: Baikonur . Launch Vehicle: R-7 8K71. Mass: 84 kg. Perigee: 227 km. Apogee: 945 km. Inclination: 65.0 deg.

First artificial satellite; transmitted signals for 21 days. Launching of first ever artificial satellite of the Earth; physical study of the atmosphere; remained in orbit until January 4, 1958. This event began the space race by galvanizing interest and action on the part of the American public to support an active role in space research, technology, and exploration.


Back to Index
Last update 12 March 2001.
Contact Mark Wade with any corrections or comments.
Conditions for use of drawings, pictures, or other materials from this site..
© Mark Wade, 2001 .