Re: Sputnik 1: T+ 50

From: JAY RESPLER (jrespler@superlink.net)
Date: Sun Oct 07 2007 - 03:55:28 EDT

  • Next message: David Brierley: "DMB Obs October 6 a.m."

    Ted Molczan wrote:
    > Congratulations to our Russian friends on the 50th anniversary of the launch of
    > Sputnik 1. 
    > I encourage one and all to share your thoughts on the significance of Sputnik 1,
    > or your stories about tracking the early satellites.
    
    I remember Friday, October 4 1957. About 7:30 pm. Listening to Rock N Roll 
    on radio station 1010 WINS, in my bedroom in The Bronx, NYC. My parents were 
    out shopping. The news came on and I heard that Russia had launched the 
    first satellite. I had been anticipating a satellite for years, but that was 
      to be called Vanguard, not Sputnik. This was a complete, but exciting 
    surprise!
    When my folks came home, I was jumping around yelling, the first earth 
    satellite has been launched. They asked something like, "what's an earth 
    satellite?"
    With me around, it didn't take them long to find out.
    Unfortunately, I never got to see it. My first satellite sighting was 
    Sputnik 3 rocket in summer 1958 while on vacation in Pennsylvania.
    There had been a prediction in the newspaper so I got up in the morning to 
    see a flashing light rising in the south, culminating 1/3 - 1/2 way up in 
    SE, setting in the east. That was first of a couple thousand different 
    satellites observed.  Obviously, still one my of my most memorable sightings.
    
    Some members of the astronomy club claimed the whole thing was a hoax. The 
    Russians couldn't possibly be good enough to put something into orbit.
    It was infuriating that supposedly smart people (astronomy club members) 
    could be so stupid. I pointed out that, following predictions, a light had 
    been tracked moving across the sky from several places in the world.  It 
    would be harder to have a phony light move around the planet at the right 
    apparent speed and direction, than to actually launch a real satellite. So 
    if it was a hoax, the Russians were smarter than if they had launched a 
    satellite.
    
    Another memory, a year or 2 earlier, was a seminar at the American Museum of 
    Natural History in NYC. The one topic I remember was discussion of where to 
    launch Vanguard from.  White Sands was mentioned as a possibility, but 
    reasons were presented favoring some place in Florida called Cape Canaveral.
    I managed to get autographs of 2 people in attendance. Willie Ley and Von 
    Braun.  I've often thought about, but don't know whatever became of those 
    autographs.
    
    -- 
    Jay Respler
    ADVANCED BUSINESS MACHINES CO.
    732-431-1464
    --
                 JRespler@superlink.net
    SKY VIEWS & TYPEWRITERS ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA
            http://uweb.superlink.net/jrespler
                  Freehold, New Jersey
    
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