A bugler sounded off at a remote launch site in Russia.
A slightly modified ICBM, the R-7, was readied for launch.
An 84kg satellite was powered up, its arming key removed, its batteries activated, its transmitter coming to life.
And with a road and flash that rippled for miles through the cold fall night, the Space Age began.
Sergei Korolev, Chief Designer, the man whose very name was a state secret, watched with tears in his eyes. For this he had ensured purges, imprisonment, the gulag, and come out of all that more determined than ever to put the Motherland into space.
Sputnik display in the Boeing museum in Seattle (my photo)
Engineers cried, "It's off! Our baby is off."
Erika and I were proud to make our own contribution to bringing this age to life for modern readers.