The time will come when a spacecraft carrying 

human beings will leave the earth and set out on a voyage to distant planets–to remote worlds.

–Sergei Korolev

The Soviet Union inaugurated the ‘Space Age’ through its launch of Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite on October 4, 1957. The spacecraft was launched at 10:20 p.m. from the Tyuratam launch base in the Kazakh Republic. It has a diameter of 22 inches and weighed almost 184 pounds. IT circled the Earth once every hour and 36 minutes and transmitted radio signals that were strong enough to be picked up by amateur radio operators. Those who were in the US and had access to such equipment would tune in and listen in awe as the beeping spacecraft passed over America several times in a day. By 1958, Sputnik’s orbit deteriorated and the spacecraft burned up in the atmosphere.