On this day: Sputnik 1 began to orbit the Earth

On this day in 1957 Sputnik 1 began to orbit the Earth. It burned up three months later after re-entering the atmosphere. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1957 Sputnik 1 began to orbit the Earth. It burned up three months later after re-entering the atmosphere. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 4 October

National day of Lesotho

1853: Turkey declared war on Russia, starting the Crimean War.

1865: Napoleon III and Otto von Bismarck met at Biarritz, where Napoleon III agreed to Prussian supremacy in Germany and to a united Italy.

1883: The Boys’ Brigade was founded in Glasgow, by Sir William Alexander Smith.

1916: Six-hundred French soldiers died when the cruiser Callia was torpedoed in Mediterranean.

1930: Brazilian revolution, with Getulio Vargas becoming president.

1952: The first external pacemaker, developed by Dr Paul Zoll of Harvard Medical School, was fitted to David Schwartz to control his heartbeats. The first internal pacemaker was fitted six years later.

1957: Soviet Union put the first spacecraft, Sputnik I, into orbit around Earth.

1959: Soviet spacecraft Lunik III sent back first close-up pictures of the Moon.

1969: China announced two nuclear weapons tests, including a hydrogen bomb explosion in the atmosphere.

1973: Peace talks began in Northern Ireland in attempt to end five years of conflict that had taken almost 900 lives.

1983: Richard Noble made the fastest official land-speed mile over Black Rock Desert, Nevada, with his Rolls-Royce Avon 302 jet-powered Thrust 2, at 633.468mph.

1992: Two nine-storey flats were demolished in Amsterdam when an El Al Boeing 747 cargo crashed soon after leaving Schiphol Airport, killing 50 people.

1993: The hardline rebellion against Boris Yeltsin was crushed as Russian parliament leaders surrendered to troops loyal to the president.

1994: At the Labour Party conference in Blackpool, leader Tony Blair proposed ditching Clause 4, the party’s commitment to common ownership.

1996: The Ministry of Defence admitted some British troops who served in the Gulf campaign might have been poisoned by pesticides.

2008: OJ Simpson, the former American football star and actor, was found guilty of 12 charges of armed robbery, conspiracy to kidnap and assault with a deadly weapon after being accused of robbing two dealers of sports memorabilia in 2007.


Sarah Lancashire, actress, 50; Susan Sarandon, actress, 68; Jackie Collins OBE, novelist, 77; Sir Terence Conran, industrialist and designer, 83; Chris Lowe, musician (Pet Shop Boys), 55; Baron (John) McFall of Alcluith, Labour politician 1987-2010, 70; Tony Meo, snooker player, 55; Yvonne Murray MBE, athlete, 50; Anneka Rice, TV presenter, 56; John Rutherford, rugby player and coach, 59; James Sillars, management consultant, MP 1970-9 and 1988-92, 77; Stacey Solomon, singer and TV presenter; 25; Christoph Waltz, actor, 58; Alicia Silverstone, actress, 38; Alan Gyllenhaal, film director and poet, 65; Ann Widdecombe, politician, 67.


Births: 1289 Louis X, king of France; 1889 John B Kelly, triple Olympic gold medal rower and father of Grace Kelly; 1896 Buster Keaton, silent film actor; 1923 Charlton Heston, actor; 1931 Basil D’Oliveira CBE, cricketer.

Deaths:1669 Rembrandt, painter; 1890 Catherine Booth, “Mother of the Salvation Army”; 1904 Frédéric Auguste Barthold, designer of the Statue of Liberty; 2006 Tom Bell, actor; 2010 Sir Norman Wisdom OBE, actor.