The Millennium Sapphire NFT Series: The Sputnik Satellite

The Sputnik Satellite, a major achievement in human history, is represented as a carving on the Millennium Sapphire. We have chosen the Sputnik Satellite as the first non-fungible token (NFT) we will create for our upcoming NFT series. We are producing 7,700 animated sputnik NFTs.

To learn more about the Sputnik Satellite, please continue reading.

Creator: Detlev van Ravenswaay

What Is a Satellite?

A satellite is an object that orbits a larger body. For instance, Earth is a satellite because it orbits the sun. On the other hand, the Moon is a satellite since it moves around the Earth. That means that the Earth and the Moon are natural satellites.

However, satellites can also be artificial. These man-made satellites come in different types, each performing various functions. For example, scientists use astronomical survey satellites to learn about the planets, the Sun and the other objects in space. Weather satellites, on the contrary, monitor the weather, and communication satellites send TV signals and phone calls across the globe.

Artificial satellites known as space probes orbit other bodies rather than the Earth. They orbit the Moon, other planets like Mars and Venus, the Sun, some asteroids, and a comet.

Man-made satellites are launched into space using a rocket. Sir Isaac Newton was the first person to theorize that a projectile launched into space with a lot of speed can orbit the Earth. “Increasing the velocity (of a projectile) … it might never fall to the earth, but go forward into the celestial spaces, and proceed in its motion in infinitum,” he predicted. The force of gravity is responsible for keeping satellites in motion.

The Sputnik Satellite: What Is It?

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial Earth satellite into space, confirming that Newton’s theory was correct. In a monumental moment of scientific achievement, Sputnik 1 was successfully launched into an elliptical low Earth orbit.

Image source: russianspaceweb.com

3 silver-zinc batteries powered Sputnik 1, allowing it to send radio signals for 21 days. This was beyond the expected 2-week battery life. After the batteries died, the satellite continued orbiting in silence for 3 months as it got closer to Earth. On January 4, 1958, it burned in the Earth’s atmosphere. It had completed 1,440 orbits and traveled about 70 million km (43 million miles).

Sputnik 1, a polished metal sphere the size of a beach ball, was the first of a series of satellites that the Soviet Union launched into space. The satellite was 83.6 kilograms (184 pounds) and 58 cm in diameter, taking 96.2 minutes to make each orbit. Sputnik 1 traveled at a peak speed of 8,000 meters per second (18,000 mph). Also, the satellite had 2 double-barrelled antennas. The largest was 12.8 feet (3.9 meters) long.

Initially, the Soviet Union intended to launch a much bigger satellite code-named Object D in 1957. The mass of the spacecraft was limited to between 1,000 and 1,400 kilograms. However, the project was progressing slowly due to challenges with the development of the scientific equipment for the satellite. Also, the specific impulse for the R-7 rocket was lower than expected, which meant the country couldn’t meet the target launch date. As a result, the Soviet Union decided to precede Object D with a “simplest satellite” also called prosteishy sputnik (PS) in Russian. Time was running out, and the Soviet Union was keen to launch a satellite before the US.

In an astronomical context, Sputnik means satellite in Russian. It also translates to traveling companion or spouse.

The Soviet Union and the US launched satellites as participants of the International Geophysical Year (1 July 1957–31 December 1958).

The Making of History

Aboard its launch vehicle, an R-7 rocket, Sputnik 1 was lofted into the sky. It was 22:28:34 Moscow time, October 4, 1957. The PS-1 satellite (another name for Sputnik 1) lifted off into the night sky over Kazakhstan.

Some of the launch officials rushed to the assembly building at Site 2 with the hopes of hearing signals from the satellite. “After a short pause, Lieutenant Borisov manning a radio in a cottage at the IP-1 tracking station heard from the satellite. The Space Age had begun! The signal lasted for about two minutes until the satellite went out of range. Exhausted members of the test personnel, who crowded in the cottage, celebrated the success,” Anatoly Zak wrote in an article on Russian Space Web.

Before the Sputnik Satellite completed the first orbit, Russian News Agency (TASS) broadcasted the news to the rest of the world.

Although Sputnik 1 was small, it was reflective and could be seen from Earth with a pair of binoculars and the naked eye if you knew where to look. Many people reported seeing the satellite in late 1957. Experts, however, believe they saw the R-7 rocket, which had reflective panels for easy tracking.

The launch of Sputnik 1 was followed by Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957, and Sputnik 3 (Object D) on May 15, 1958. Sputnik 2 was the first satellite to carry a living passenger, a dog named Laika.

The Aftermath

The first Sputnik Satellite sparked the Space Age, an era of the space race, technological advancement, space exploration, and cultural development. The space race was part of the Cold War, a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and the United States. The latter went ahead to launch Explorer 1 on January 31, 1958.

Furthermore, the US took several steps to improve its technological capabilities. These entailed creating the Advanced Research Projects Agency (later renamed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA) in February 1958 and NASA in October the same year. Congress also approved the National Defense Education Act in September 1958 to boost the number and skill of US scientists and engineers.

Sputnik 1 increased the popularity of nik neologisms like peacenik and neatnik in the US. In 1958, San Francisco newspaper columnist Herb Caen invented beatnik.

The Sputnik NFT

The Sputnik NFT will be an animation that brings together the origin story of the Millennium Sapphire and the launch of Sputnik 1.

Sputnik 1 lapis prototype

The animation will take viewers back in time to October 4, 1957. Sputnik 1 will emerge from behind the Earth, and as it gets closer to the screen, Africa will come into view. The animation will display Sputnik 1 above Africa.

The camera will then zoom in on Madagascar, showing geographical details of the island country. Viewers will see a forest canopy as the camera nears the ground. Next, a blue flash will emerge from the ground filling the frame. As the camera pulls back, the animation will reveal that the blue flash is indeed a beam of blue light emanating from the ground and shooting beyond the clouds. The camera will follow this beam of blue light, revealing that it is shooting out into space and hitting Sputnik 1. The impact will cause a blue flash that rapidly grows and fills the frame, bringing the animation to a climax.

The music will stop, and the blue flash will fade, unveiling the Millennium Sapphire rotating against a backdrop of outer space with twinkling stars. This is a fitting scene as the Sapphire represents people who have reached for the stars over the centuries. Also, the Sputnik NFT animation draws inspiration from the historic symbolism that sapphires are celestial gemstones.

We are producing the limited edition exclusive 7,700 Sputnik NFTs for Greenpro Capital Corp. (listed GRNQ on Nasdaq). Click here to learn more about this deal.

Final Thoughts

Every year, World Space Week starts on October 4 to celebrate the contribution of science and technology “to the betterment of the human condition.” The UN General Assembly declared this annual celebration which is observed by over 95 countries on December 6, 1999.

The representation of the Sputnik Satellite on the Millennium Sapphire is a millennia-long commemoration of this significant accomplishment for the current generations and those to come. Moreover, the Sputnik NFTs will offer investors a chance to own something that marks one of the most important events in space history. As the NFT is passed down from generation to generation, the memory of this human achievement will stay alive.

For regular updates on this NFT series, join us on Telegram and Twitter.

A tokenized sapphire that is now open for purchase by anyone in the world.

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