Soviet Russia's Sputnik Celebration Video Translated


Sometimes you ask and you really do receive. At the end of my quick commemoration post about Sputnik's launch in 1957, I tossed in a Russian celebration video with a plea for a translation, so we could all follow along. Lo, and behold, not more than seven hours later, one of you dear readers, sent along the following translation. Here is A's preface:

Just for the fun of it (with gratitude for my country achievements' recognition. Wasn't expecting them to push "socialist" card so hard, though):

Here is a "quick and dirty" translation of the little movie you included in your column. I do apologize for the roughness of it, and numerous mistakes - mostly I was trying to give you an impression about what was being said, rather than polishing the grammar. Wherever possible, I kept Russian order-of-words intact. Sometimes it makes English sentence to sound awkward, but consider it "national flavor" :)

Reading and watching, I find it fairly easy to match general scenes with text. And even if you can't, it's a fascinating document all on its own. I particularly like the series of statements from socialist leaders -- and the Chinese poet's ode to Sputnik near the end.

Thank you, again, A. Enjoy everyone!


...antennas of the Soviet ships are tuned to receive space signals, too. The magical Sputnik is not just flying around - it is working, constantly sending radio reports; it tells about the mysteries of the Universe. It contains «a clot» of the most recent advances in science and technology. Its signals are proudly received by thousands of radio ham enthusiasts in our country. Radio stations are receiving the readings of the most accurate instruments installed on the artificial satellite. Decoded reports would help to clarify our knowledge of Earth gravity field, Earth structure, the Sun radiation, and the nature of the distant atmosphere layers.

Yesterday, little Moscovites admired Jules Verne's fantasy; today, Motherland moved them closer to distant planets. And soon, - who knows, - maybe they'll become the participants of the first flights to the Moon.

Millions of kilometers flew the artificial satellite around the Earth, and everywhere it is watched closedly. «Saw it, heard it» - reports are coming from North America. The open ground of Moscow Planetarium become the arena of constant observation, space talks, and sometimes even heated arguments. This old man is not completely understands the behavior of the artificial moon - speaking in plain language, how long can it fly? According to the calculations of some scientists, this flying laboratory would survive for more than a year. This amazes everyone. The outstanding achievement of Soviet science stirred up the world.

It is as if here, under the ceilings of the House of Unions, where celebration dedicated to the launch of the first artificial satellite was held, you can hear the voices of our friends from all parts of the world. Column Hall cannot accommodate a one hundredth of all willing to hear about the greatest event in the history of humankind.

Scientists present here were telling Moscovites about the the importance of the artificial satellite for the study of space rays, observation of the Universe and Earth' surface. Many problems would now be solved by astrophysicists, too. Newer and newer details about the birth of the second moon are being telegraphed to editorial offices of the foreign newspapers. The first penetration of the space means a great victory of the intellect, similar to the mastery of the energy of steam and electricity, or the invention of the first airplane. Academician < last name of the scientist, illegible> was telling how the country of the socialism was opening a new ways for scientific and technical revolution. The creation of the artificial satellite of the Earth requited the combined efforts of leading scientists - physicists, mathematicians, mechanics, metallurgists, constructors. It was a heroic deed of the whole Soviet Country.

Professor Kuharkin said: «We don't think that the the following task is very far-fetched - to create the missiles that are able to reach other planets. Such an interplanet missile, equipped by appropriate tools, would help to solve a burning mystery that the humankind cannot help to be excited about, and we all are highly intrigued by it: 'is there life on other planets?' Finally, we are hoping that soon the task of the returning such missiles back to Earth would be solved. Of course, this is a very difficult task - undoubtly, much more difficult than the Sputnik launch, - but we can see by ourselves that many things that seemed to be very difficult to do just yesterday, are put into practice today.

The wonderful French scientist Jouliet Curie (?) made a statement: «This great victory of the man is the turning point of the civilization history - the man is no longer chained to his planet.

The President of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guo Moruo, wrote: «We can see even clearer now the borderless avantages of the Socialist way». The Dean of the Canterbury Cathedral in England, Hewlett Johnson expressed his hope that the brilliant achievements of the Soviet scientists will serve to strengthen the cause of peace.

On behalf of the French communists, Moris Torez said: "Historical victory of the science was achieved under the direction of the soviet authority, liberator of people's creative energy».

Moscow... 7 minutes later Ashgabat... 5 more minutes - Bombay. It flies, our Ambassador of the Peace, with fantastic speed... And praises are sung to the small moon by Chinese poet Dzan Kedzara (?): "It flies, carrying the flame of the hearts; it gleams, it shines in crimson-red rays. Throughout the whole planet, from one end to another, you can hear its rhytmic signals. Risen above the Earth's expanse, it opened the mystic doors of the Universe. One moment - and tens of thousands leagues; it is a flight, a flight of inspired science... Flying amongst the stars, as the fruit of the Earth dream; sparkling amongst the dark abyss like a meteor, with nearly thousand verst height, it calls us to unknown space»...

Artificial Earth Satellite is a messenger of the New Socialistic World, where the most daring dreams of the man to penetrate interplanet space are coming true.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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