History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world's first artificial satellite was about the size of a beach ball (58 cm.or 22.8 inches in diameter), weighed only 83.6 kg. or 183.9 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race.
These collections are not meant to be exhaustive; they are meant to get researchers started in the right direction. Normally, we only include NASA-created material, but because Sputnik predates NASA and was instrumental in the creation of NASA as an agency, the papers at the Eisenhower Library are a vital part of the story.