Illustration of a white shield with black text on it with white horizontal lines on either side and black text on a pink background
Sputnik 1 was a satellite launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957 and triggered the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Sputnik 1 broadcast radio signals for three weeks before its batteries died. It continued to orbit the earth for another two months before returning to Earth. The launching of Sputnik 1 would lead to the launch of Explorer 1, as well as the creation of NASA (formerly NACA) by the United States. The Sputnik 1 rocket booster was visible at night while the actual satellite was more difficult to see.