On This Day: Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1

On Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first man-made space satellite, Sputnik 1, igniting the Space Race.
By UPI Staff  |  Oct. 4, 2017 at 3:00 AM
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Oct. 4 (UPI) -- On this date in history:

In 1876, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, now Texas A&M, opened. It was the first public higher education institution in Texas.

In 1883, the Orient Express train made its first run, originating in Paris, at Gare de l'Est, and ending in Giurgiu, Romania, with stops in Munich and Vienna.

In 1895, the U.S. Open men's golf tournament was first contested. It was won by Horace Rawlins.

In 1927, artist Gutzon Borglum begins sculpting Mount Rushmore. It would take 14 years to complete, with work on the monument finishing in 1941. Despite the difficult nature of the project, there were no worker fatalities.

File Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first man-made space satellite, Sputnik 1. The Soviet's successful launch caught America by surprise and was the spark which ignited the Space Race.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI arrived at Kennedy International Airport in New York on the first visit by a pope to the United States.

In 1976, Earl Butz resigned as U.S. agriculture secretary, with an apology for what he called the "gross indiscretion" of uttering a racist remark.

In 1989, Art Shell was hired by the Oakland Raiders as the first black head coach in the modern National Football League.

In 1991, the United States and 23 other countries signed an agreement banning mineral and oil exploration in Antarctica for 50 years.

In 1992, as many as 250 people were killed when an El Al 747 cargo plane crashed into an apartment building on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

In 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton ordered several hundred more U.S. troops to Somalia one day after the deaths of three U.S. Marines in Mogadishu.

File Photo by L. Mark/UPI

In 2001, a Siberian Airlines jetliner exploded and plunged into the Black Sea, killing all 64 passengers and 12 crew members. The United States said evidence indicated the plane had been hit by a missile fired during a Ukrainian military training exercise.

In 2002, the so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his alleged effort to detonate explosives hidden in his sneakers during a 2001 Paris-to-Miami flight. Reid was sentenced to life in prison.

In 2004, SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded rocket to reach the edge of space, flew to an altitude above 62 miles over the California desert.

In 2006, WikiLeaks.org was created by Julian Assange as a depository for leaked documents and other classified materials.

In 2009, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement scored a landslide victory in the Greek elections. U.S.-born George Papandreou became prime minister, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He was sworn in two days later.

File Photo by Eco Clement/UPI

In 2010, a sludge reservoir burst in Hungary, sending 200 million gallons of toxic mud onto the roads of three villages, killing seven people, injuring 150 others and driving hundreds from their homes.

In 2013, Vietnamese Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, whose forces drove France (in 1954) and the United States (in 1975) out of Vietnam, dies in Hanoi at the age of 102.

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