Sputnik I, the First Satellite to Orbit Earth, Turns 50

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
A technician prepares Sputnik.

A technician prepares Sputnik. NASA hide caption

toggle caption NASA

In 1957, a little beeping ball stunned the world. Sputnik I, launched 50 years ago on October 4, set the stage for many more satellites to follow and marked the dawn of the space age. Guests and callers discuss Sputnik and its effects on science, education, and the way we view the world.


Jay Barbree, space correspondent, NBC News; author, Live from Cape Canaveral: Covering the Space Race, from Sputnik to Today

Michael D'Antonio, journalist and author of A Ball, A Dog, And A Monkey: 1957 - The Space Race Begins

Leon Lederman, Nobel Laureate in physics, 1988; director emeritus, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; professor of physics at Illinois Institute of Technology

Konrad Dannenberg, former deputy manager, Saturn Program; former deputy director, Program Development Mission and Payload Planning, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center; consultant, Alabama Space and Rocket Center



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from