A Short Story
Idiom Definitions for ‘Sputnik moment’:
A Sputnik moment is a point where people realise that they are threatened or challenged and have to redouble their efforts to catch up. It comes from the time when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, the Sputnik 1, and beat the USA into space.
The Russian word sputnik literally means “co-traveler”, “traveling companion” or “satellite”.
The Sputnik program (Russian: Спутник, which is translated as ‘companion’) was a 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. That launch took place on October 4, 1957 as part of the International Geophysical Year and demonstrated the viability of using artificial satellites to explore the upper atmosphere.
Sputnik 3 (Russian: Спутник-3, Satellite 3) was a Soviet satellite launched on May 15, 1958 from Baikonur cosmodrome by a modified R-7/SS-6 ICBM. It was a research satellite to explore the upper atmosphere and the near space. Sputnik 3 was an automatic scientific laboratory spacecraft. The scientific instrumentation (twelve instruments) provided data on pressure and composition of the upper atmosphere, concentration of charged particles, photons in cosmic rays, heavy nuclei in cosmic rays, magnetic and electrostatic fields, and meteoric particles.
The findings of SPUTNIK 3 were considered significant and a major scientific contribution to the global study of the earth’s atmosphere.