Sputnik Launches ARPA
USSR launched Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite. In response, President
Dwight Eisenhower created the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) within the
Department of Defense to establish a US lead in science and technology applicable to
Sputnik 1, launched on Oct. 4, 1957, became the first artificial satellite to successfully orbit
the Earth. It was a metallic sphere about 2 feet across, weighing 184 lbs (84 kg), with long
"whiskers" pointing to one side, and stayed in orbit for 6 months before falling back to Earth.
Its rocket booster, weighing 4 tons, also reached orbit and was easily visible from the