Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sputnikfest- Celebrating 50 Years

Do you know much about the Russian Sputnik IV satellite that was launched on May 15, 1960? I didn't until this week. After it launched the Russians lost contact with it because a bug in the guidance system had pointed the capsule in the wrong direction, so instead of dropping into the atmosphere the satellite moved into a higher orbit. It re-entered the atmosphere on September 5, 1962 and a piece landed in the middle of North 8th Street in Manitowoc WI, a small town in east central Wisconsin. There were several reports from local people seeing a red line/bright light falling through the sky in the early morning hours. The police officers who first came across the object thought it fell off a truck from a local foundry, they described the debris as similar to a large, flattened hubcap. They kicked it to the side of the road and only realized what they had found after they returned to the precinct and heard NASA and the Smithsonian were looking for a spaceship.

Purchase the poster that was done by a (former) local artist.

Families that lived in the neighborhood wanted to check their backyards to see if they could find anything, but they were NOT allowed in their yards until the FBI and CIA were finished with their investigation and cleared it.

The location of the debris' landing is right in front of an art museum....what a coincidence! They have a replica of the piece on display and this is the 5th year they will host Sputnikfest.

life size replica on display at the Rahr West art museum

It's billed  as a 'wacky tacky' celebration. One of the contests this year will be an Aluminum Foil Costume Contest. Entrants will be given an aluminum coat hanger and some aluminum foil and have to make a costume with those items only. There is also an Alien Pet Costume contest and a Miss Space Debris contest. ....and much, much more..... Wacky, eh?
Reader's Digest named it one of the 'Five Funkiest Festivals' in the country.
The TV game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" had a question about the Sputnik landing.

Last year was the first time I attended with my grandsons............and I'm gonna be there today too! I'll post photos later in the week.....just a warning.

More festivals lie ahead and I plan to get to as many as I can! I like autumn, but will drag summer on as long as I can.

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