Sputnik 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. It took just 96 minutes to circle the earth. You’re listening to Underneath The Russian Moon by Belle Baker.

Sputnik was, of course, the first man-made object launched into space. Some meaning may be lost on a generation that has seen NASA grounded. But Homer Hickam, who wrote Rocket Boys, (which became the 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.”

For more about Sputnik click here, and for more on Homer Hickam, visit his site.