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 Definition Series of robotic spacecraft missions launched by the Soviet Union, the first of these, Sputnik 1, launched the first human-made object to orbit the Earth, which took place on 4 October 1957. [d] [e]
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This weeks edition of Newsweek Magazin has a very interesting article on Sputnik, "The Real Sputnik Story: Forget the hype. The '57 launch wasn't such a big shock".  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 01:15, 4 October 2007 (CDT)

Hi, and thanks for the interesting link. I've heard that the USA could have been first to achieve earth orbit with the Jupiter C RS-27, on September 20 1956 or earlier, but that the U.S. government didn't want the Army Ballistic Missile Agency to be involved in launching a satellite for peaceful purposes, particularly because an offer by Eisenhower of a treaty on overflights (mutual aerial observation) had been turned down by the USSR in 1955. And perhaps there is also a question over the guidance accuracy needed to achieve a stable orbit. But in view of the history of the Space Race, how much was known to American intelligence about the capability of Soviet rocketry? Does anyone know, has anything been published on the info available to the USA at the time. I guess it was rocketry and nukes combined which led to the concept of M.A.D :( Thanks again. Luke Brandt 00:27, 6 October 2007 (CDT) //p.s. just found _this link_. See the info for December 1957 (pdf file 34pp 1MB) in particular. And Wikipedia has an informative article on MAD. Could expand on these points.