OPINION

October 5, 1957

SPUTNIK: London, 4 – Moscow radio announced this evening that Soviet scientists have succeeded in launching the first artificial satellite into space to orbit around the Earth. The satellite was described as a sphere that is 58 centimeters in diameter, weighs 83.6 kilograms and is equipped with a radiotransmitter. Moscow radio also said that according to initial reports, the satellite was traveling at a speed of about 8,000 meters a second and is orbiting the Earth at a height of 900 kilometers. Its course will be observed in the rays of the rising and setting sun with the help of simple optical instruments, such as small telescopes and binoculars. The transmitter is emitting continual signals to Earth and they are able to be detected by amateur radio buffs. Russia has maintained silence regarding the tests of its satellites and its announcement has come as a surprise to American scientists. Moscow radio said that Russia was planning to launch other satellites during the geophysical year, opening the way to interplanetary travel. It also said that very soon a much larger and heavier satellite would be launched.