November 19, 2007
On October 4, 1957, the birth of the space race was ignited by a small, 184-pound sphere launched into orbit by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). This sphere, a satellite named Sputnik I, was equipped with a small radio transmitter that sent beeping signals from space. Sputnik took 96 minutes to circle Earth and stayed in orbit for 92 days. Its continuous beep-beep-beep was heard around the world and launched the Cold War's "space-race" between the USSR and the United States.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the flight of Sputnik, an event that literally changed the world. The Baker Institute hosts this panel discussion with a number of noted American and Russian scientists and space experts to honor this momentous event. The program includes the long-time head of the Soviet Union's Space Research Institute, a former White House science advisor, the Rice University provost and a veteran Russian cosmonaut. We are also screening "Sputnik: A Fifty Year Legacy", a Baker Institute production about the impact of Sputnik on the world featuring commentary by George Abbey, Baker Botts Senior Fellow in Space Policy and former director of the Johnson Space Center.