Smithsonian Collections

Medal, Sputnik 1

Image for Medal, Sputnik 1
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National Air and Space Museum
Commemorative and medals are one way in which Russian and Soviet leaders have recognized accomplishments and individuals in the space program. Initially limited groups of people within the space program received medals. As the space programs grew in prestige and publicity, the medals increased in numbers and played an increasing role in celebrating the accomplishments of the space program. Ultimately, medals became the currency of diplomatic gifts from the Soviet Union. High government or industry officials would give these medals as gifts to their counterparts abroad, including the United States. The typical medals had the main, commemorative theme on the front and supporting statement on the reverse. This medal declares, "Glory to Soviet Science: October 4, 1957," in honor of the first launch of an artificial Earth satellite. An American collector donated this medal to the museum.
Leningrad Mint
Credit Line
Gift of Thomas W. Becker
Copper Alloy (Bronze)
3-D (Medal): 5.4 × 0.5cm (2 1/8 × 3/16 in.)
Storage: 12.7 × 12.7 × 7.6cm (5 × 5 × 3 in.)
AWARDS-Medals & Ribbons
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National Air and Space Museum Collection
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Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum