Beep… Beep… Beep… Beep…

Sputnik in Orbit October 4, 1957

Drawing of Sputnik in Orbit
October 4, 1957

Toronto. Just over 60 years ago on October 4th, 1957, I was sitting in my “ham shack” tuning in overseas radio stations. At the time, the USA was busy testing men, rockets, and satellites in anticipation of a future launch into space. The big challenge of the day was to get enough launch speed to break the gravity barrier and be able to orbit the earth (hard to image today when there are so many satellites circling the globe for communications and military endeavours).

Suddenly, I heard a beeping sound and then a voice saying Russia had just placed a satellite in orbit. The Sputnik was a oversized two foot diameter metal basket ball shaped sphere with a quartet of radio antennae on its circumference sending signals back to earth.

The news electrified the USA and massive funds were poured into math and science programs. The space race began in earnest. Decades later that American funding boost helped usher in the digital era we now enjoy.

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