The Soviet Union was always up for a challenge and strived for new scientific exploration. They were the first state to set up drifting stations at the North Pole, and now they wanted to beat the United States by being the first ones to send something man-made into space.
During the race into space, the Soviet Union was originally trying to send Object D (Sputnik III) into space first in April 1958. However, the United States planned to launch the first American satellite on July 1, 1957. There’s no way the Soviet Union would let the US beat them into space, so they designed a much more simpler satellite. It was projected that this satellite would be launched in April-May 1957 with only essential equipment on-board.
On 4 October 1957, Sputnik was launched from the Tyuratam launch base in the Kazakh Republic. It weight 184 pounds and circled the Earth every hour and 36 minutes. It was visible with binoculars before sunrise and after sunset, and it transmitted a signal strong enough that amateur radio operators could listen to it. In January 1958, Sputnik’s orbit deteriorated and burned in the atmosphere.
The launch of Sputnik I was a major victory for the Soviet Union in the space, and everyone that worked on the project was praised by the country. The Soviet Union shocked the world, especially the US and the space race with them was ignited.