The First Artificial Satellite
There is no question about it! The Russians have sprung a very exciting surprise on the West. It had long been known that they were preparing to establish at least one earth satellite as part of their contribution to the Geophysical Year: and it had been reported that this satellite would be established on a polar orbit.
But because the Americans, believed to be at least as well advanced in rocket technology, did not plan to establish a satellite before next year, the announcement late last Friday from Moscow that a Russian satellite was already circling the earth took everyone by surprise.
Even more surprising are certain facts about the satellite. It is reported to weigh about 184lb, as compared with a mere 20lb for the projected American satellite, though some commentators seem suspicious that a decimal point has been misplaced!