Feeds

Fifty years since Sputnik

Everything changes, everything stays the same

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.