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Sioux Falls Free Thinkers endorse Sputnik Declassified for showing
America finally won the space race with Wernher von Braun as
project head. But don't tell anyone he was a NAZI who built
his rockets in Germany using slave laborers who were
regularly killed for not working hard enough.

Sputnik Declassified

Sputnik Declassified (2008) - 56 minutes
Sputnik Declassified at Amazon.com

On October 4, 1957, the Space Age dawned with the red hue of the Communist flag when the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite. Sputnik stunned the world and spurred the U.S. into massive spending on science education and innovation. But was Sputnik really a shock to America's leaders, and how close was the U.S. to getting into space first?

In fact, fierce political and personal rivalries collided over how and when the U.S. should enter space. President Eisenhower wanted a satellite to spy on the Russians but feared their response to an overly military program. That led him to sideline the plans of Wernher von Braun, charismatic leader of the U.S. Army's pioneering rocket team. Von Braun had tested all the technology required to launch a satellite over a year before Sputnik.

Then came the shocking news of Sputnik and, soon after, the catastrophic failure of the first U.S. satellite built by von Braun's rivals. This double disaster paved the way for von Braun's meteoric rise, the founding of NASA, and ultimately, Apollo's triumphant journey to the moon. Drawing on fresh interviews and newly discovered sources, Sputnik Declassified is a gripping, untold story of the rivalries and missteps in the first crucial chapter of the space race.

10-5-17 The team that tracked Sputnik - and the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile
The team that tracked Sputnik - and the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile
Sixty years ago, the rocket that sent Sputnik into space was the first intercontinental ballistic missile ever launched. The (barely finished) Lovell radio telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire was the only instrument with the scale and power to potentially track it. Dr Bryan Lovell explains the leading role British scientists played there in this chapter of the Cold War.

10-4-17 Sputnik: How the Soviet Union spun the satellite launch
Sputnik: How the Soviet Union spun the satellite launch
The launch of Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, 60 years ago kicked off the space race between the Soviet Union and America. The satellite was a success not just in terms of scientific advancement but in terms of providing a propaganda opportunity for the socialist state. Early reports detailed a wealth of technical information about the launch of the "Earth satellite", such was the general interest in it. One news correspondent described seeing the satellite appear "like a flashing spark over the horizon" and the Communist Party's main newspaper, Pravda, wrote that "all the world heard the announcement of the launching of the artificial moon". But reports by the state news agency Tass also mentioned its orbital velocity of about 8km a second, the fact that it was travelling at up to 900km above the surface of the earth, and that Sputnik was making one complete revolution in an hour and 35 minutes. Russian media also detailed the frequencies and wavelengths on which Sputnik was emitting regular beeps, saying its transmitters were powerful enough for amateur radio operators to be able to receive them. Later, radio broadcasts to America touted the fact that the Soviet magazine Radio was offering "special prizes" for radio hams who submitted reports of the signals. Special broadcasts listed the places and times the satellite was expected to pass over. The day after its launch, Tass and Russian radio reported world reaction to it, noting how major media outlets like AFP, the Daily Mail and the BBC had reported it and how "some US radio stations interrupted their programmes in order to broadcast the satellite's signals".


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Sputnik Declassified

Sioux Falls Free Thinkers endorse Sputnik Declassified for showing
America finally won the space race with Wernher von Braun as
project head. But don't tell anyone he was a NAZI who built
his rockets in Germany using slave laborers who were
regularly killed for not working hard enough.