back to article Sputnik-1 replica used to test the real thing goes under the hammer

A replica of Sputnik-1 used to test the real thing's performance goes to auction this week. Auction house Bonhams has listed the proto-satellite for sale at its Air and Space Sale this coming Wednesday. Expected to fetch between US$100,000 and $150,000, the replica is billed as a “test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, one of …

  1. AndyS

    > it demonstrated that the Soviet Union was more technologically advanced than the United States

    Oooh, controversial! Just wait, you'll be getting angry tweets from the Idiot in Chief.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Sputnik-1 was the first artificial satellite launched by humanity".

    Loved the way you qualified that statement. Not sure who else you had in mind other than humanity. Space aliens, possibly. Dolphins? We'll I wouldn't put it past them.

  3. phuzz Silver badge

    Possibly apocryphal story, (quote from A Challenge to Apollo by Asif Sidiqui)

    "Korolev, of course, kept close tabs on the development of the PS-1 and continuously made sure that the spherical satellite was kept spotlessly clean and shiny, not only for its reflective qualities, but also for its overall aesthetic beauty. On one occasion, he flew into a rage at a junior assembly shop worker for doing a poor job on the outer surface of a mock-up of the satellite. "This ball will be exhibited in museums!" he shouted."

    That mock up might be the one in this auction.

  4. Lee D

    "And while that history has its roots in conflict and space remains of enormous strategic significance, space programs from many nations now also conduct scientific endeavours that expand our knowledge of the universe while also showcasing human ingenuity."

    Shame that if we'd just focused on the science instead of the in-fighting, and allocated the budgets accordingly, we could probably be 100 years or more ahead of where we are by now.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Shame that if we'd just focused on the science instead of the in-fighting, and allocated the budgets accordingly, we could probably be 100 years or more ahead of where we are by now."

      I get your point and I'd like to agree with it, but the really big money goes to the military. Without that, we'd be many years behind where we are now. Of course, if there was no military, things would be very different, which I suspect is what you mean, but I wonder if there would be the same drive for technology without the regular international conflicts? Look at Victorian Britain. The richest, most widespread empire the world has known and industrially the most advanced but the majority lived in horrendous conditions with the country as a whole little more than a cesspit.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        "Look at Victorian Britain. The richest, most widespread empire the world has known and industrially the most advanced but the majority lived in horrendous conditions with the country as a whole little more than a cesspit."
        Compared to the standards of today. Compared to what prevailed previously, not so horrendous. Unless you count more abundant and affordable food, better housing, more affordable clothing etc. as "horrendous".

        1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

          What have the Victorians done for us?

          letters

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: What have the Victorians done for us?

            I thought that was the French?

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Compared to the standards of today. Compared to what prevailed previously, not so horrendous. Unless you count more abundant and affordable food, better housing, more affordable clothing etc. as "horrendous".

          I'm well aware of being cautious about comparing "then" and "now", rather than "then" and "more then" :-) and am aware that that was also the era when some of the best changes for the better began to happen. I was simply pointing out that despite the great wealth around, not that much trickled down other than from individual philanthropists such as Salt, Cadbury etc. until quite late in the era when city and town councils eventually got around to incorporating and doing stuff, often with philanthropists donated money, land donated as public parks etc. or even by public subscription.

    2. James Anderson

      So we are just a tribe of monkeys with bigger rocks to throw.

      The science we have has totally outstripped our emotional and social intelligence.

  5. Simon Rockman

    Not quite

    I understand from a book I read about Korolev that while the Russians had much greater launch capacity than the US - they could get a missile/rocket into space - they could not do re-entry. The one thing the Americans could do. The Americans just assumed that the Russians could do reentry.

    The reason Sputnik was launched was that by leaving it up there the Russians didn't have to solve the re-entry problem.

    1. cavac

      Re: Not quite

      That's because everyone look at various complicated, expensive technologies for heatshields. Thing is, one of the materials tested by the Chinese was wood. And it seemed to work quite well:

      https://vintagespace.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/can-a-wood-heat-shield-really-work/

      I know they probably used modern (for the era) fabrication techniques, but in my mind i can't shake the image of Tom Hanks sitting on the beach of a lonely island, knife in hand, proclaiming "I made a heatshield!!!!".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not quite

      @Simon Rockman: it seems rather odd, confusing and somewhat misleading to claim that Sputnik 1 was only left in orbit because the USSR didn't have the capability to return it to Earth when the US did exactly the same thing with their first orbital satellite, Explorer 1. Both satellites were intended to stay in orbit, where they could produce useful data, rather than return to Earth, where they could not.

      Whilst the US started testing re-entry vehicles suitable for sub-orbital IRBMs in 1956, the entry in to service of the R-7 Semyorka in 1959 shows that the USSR had, by then, ICBM re-entry vehicles capable of re-entry from orbit, which suggests that the USSR must have started research and development in this area to around the same time-frame as the US; it seems that if the US had any lead over the USSR in re-entry vehicle capability it wasn't very great or of any practical significance because the US didn't have orbital capable boosters, at least for non-trivial payloads, until the entry in to service of the SM-65 Atlas booster, also in 1959.

      If there was any clear lead during the early stages of the 'Space Race' it was by the USSR, largely because they focused all their efforts and resources upon developing the single R-7 project. The US, on the other hand, were somewhat hampered by the in-fighting and splitting of resources between the entirely separate and competing US Army and US Navy projects.

  6. Stevie

    Bah!

    "Whoever buys the Sputnik-1 replica will therefore acquire a remarkable piece of technology, but also a remarkable symbol that catalysed the last 60 years of human history."

    Not to mention scoring an international espionage coup of unparalleled proportions.

    Come on, Mr President, lets show those Soviet bastards what the US can do in the post-sanity world by buying their secret tech on the open market!

  7. Mike 16 Silver badge

    reentry

    The reentry problem can be mitigated by not re-entering, or by "doing your thing" before the heat builds up too much. I have seen speculation that the happy-talk about NK: "They may have rockets and warheads but they haven't solved reentry" is too optimistic, ignoring the altitudes where EMP can be effective. Why turn Silicon Valley into a glassy plain when you can just hobble all the electronics on the west coast? (I'm guessing that Rocketman has the same attitude about that area that POTUS does, so that's my assumed target)

    1. I3N
      Headmaster

      Re: reentry

      That's Little Rocket Man ...

  8. I3N
    Pint

    Laika Sí, Plutón No

    I'd rather have the plans for the Sputnik-2 ...

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022