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Why we are still living in the Sputnik Era

The first artificial satellite, launched 60 years ago, set us on the path to an interconnected world

By Paul Wallace  

Artist's impression of Sputnik 1 in orbit. ©Gregory R Todd

For Philip Larkin, sex began in 1963. Another poet might have singled out 1957 though for a different reason. For that was when Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, was launched, changing forever the way we see ourselves and setting the path towards our high-tech, interconnected world, whose bright promise so often has a dark underside. That moment, 60 years ago on October 4th, still remains startlingly relevant.

At the time, the launch was seen through the all-defining lens of…

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