Feeds

Fifty years since Sputnik

Everything changes, everything stays the same

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Fifty years ago today the space age was truly born, as Sputnik sent back its first signals from orbit. Half a century ago, the Soviets launched what would be our first artificial satellite, and set in motion a revolution of technology.

Without Sputnik, Earth orbit would be a much quieter place, and life on Earth would be unrecognisable. Satellite technology is now integral to our lives. It carries the TV news we watch when we wake up in the morning, provides data for weather forecasters, carries phone calls, and even gets us to work, thanks to GPS. Satellites also handle data for our banks, processing credit card transactions. We are utterly dependent on the orbiting bodies.

"The civilisation we live in today is as different from the one that we lived in the mid-1950s as the mid-1950s were from the American revolution," American University public policy professor Howard McCurdy told the Associated Press. "It's hard to imagine these things happening without space. I guess I could have a computer, but I wouldn't be able to get on the internet."

Sputnik also triggered the space race of the 1960s, culminating in the Moon landing. It seems appropriate, in a sort of poetic way, that as Sputnik's half century rolls around we're all heading to the Moon again. Either poetic, or hopelessly depressing that in 50 years, humanity hasn't managed to move on very much at all, for all the little gizmos we have. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.