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Russian cosmonauts congratulate Earth on 63rd anniversary of space era

The first artificial earth satellite was launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957

MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/. Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who are staying aboard the International Space Station (ISS), congratulated people of the Earth on the 63rd anniversary of Soviet Union's Sputnik-1 launch, which marked the beginning of the humanity’s space era.

"Dear colleagues, friends and all people of planet Earth. Today, on the 63rd anniversary of the first artificial satellite’s launch, Russian crew members of the ISS Expedition 63 send their greetings to you," Ivanishin said in a video address published on the official website of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos.

"Thanks to the hard work of our scientists and engineers, we made the first step in conquering space," he said.

Vagner, in turn, continued: "On this special day, we urge you to jointly explore the vastness of the Universe for our common benefit. Congratulations on the anniversary of space era to all of you."

He also thanked space industry employees and veterans and wished health, happiness and success to the people "whose life is devoted to a difficult and interesting tasks - producing spacecraft and launching them to the Earth’s orbit."

The first artificial earth satellite was launched on October 4, 1957, at 22:28 Moscow time from the Scientific Research Test Range No.5 (later named the Baikonur Cosmodrome) of the USSR Defense Ministry by the converted R-7 ballistic missile. The space vehicle was named "Sputnik-1." In order to keep the indexes of the ballistic missile undisclosed, it was also named "Sputnik."

The flight of the first satellite lasted 92 days, until January 4, 1958, when it left the orbit and burned up in the dense atmosphere. The flight’s course went along an elliptic orbit with an apogee (the farthest point from the Earth) of 954 km and a perigee (the nearest point to the Earth) of 288 km. The Sputnik-1 completed 1,440 orbits around the Earth and covered about 60 mln km.