(sometimes initial capital letter) any of a series of Soviet earth-orbiting satellites:
Sputnik I was the world’s first space satellite.
any of a series of unmanned Soviet satellites, Sputnik 1 (launched in 1957) being the first man-made satellite to orbit the earth
Sputniks [(spoot-niks, sput-niks)]

A series of Soviet satellites launched in 1957 and in following years. These were the first artificial satellites.

Note: The appearance of Sputnik stimulated a great deal of effort in the education of scientists and engineers in the United States. This period is now referred to as the post-Sputnik boom.


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