The USSR takes the first major step forward in the Space Race.

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Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, was launched into orbit on October 4th, 1957. Once up there, or…more correctly, out there, the satellite hurtled along at 18,000 miles per hour, taking just under 100 minutes to circle the earth. But by the time it came back around, everything had changed: humanity had entered the Space Age, and the US/USSR Space Race had begun in earnest.  You’re listening to Underneath The Russian Moon by Belle Baker, a Brunswick 78.

Homer Hickam, (who wrote Rocket Boys, basis for the 1999 film October Sky) watched Sputnik fly over his small town of Coalwood, West Virginia. In his words, “If it had been God in his chariot that had flown over, I could not have been more impressed.”

Click through for more about Sputnik, the Space Race and Homer Hickam,