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Sputnik I

The Soviet Union launched Sputnik I into orbit 60 years ago Wednesday


Wednesday marks the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Union launching Sputnik I into the Earth's orbit on October 4, 1957, according to Newsweek, the first time an artificial satellite successfully performed such a feat.

Newsweek on Wednesday reported that Sputnik ultimately spent 92 days circling the planet 1,440 times before losing speed, dropping into its atmosphere and incinerating.

Sputnik was 22 inches in diameter and 141 lbs. in weight, and launching it without any errors marked a major triumph for the then-Soviet Union.

"The Russians have won the race," the Communist Party publication Pravda said at the time. "The entire world is following the satellite's flight around the Earth. Honor and glory to the Soviet workers in science and technology."

Sputnik's launch presented a setback to the U.S. in its space race with Russia, and its launch remains a significant date in the latter nation today even after communism's fall there.

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