Elvis Presley was becoming famous, with his new brand of Rock
and Roll music and there was great rivalry between Russia and America over politics, European territory and technology.
The Russians launch 'Sputnik' on the 4th October, the first man made satellite to circle the earth.
It was a 58 cm (23 in) diameter polished metal sphere, with four external radio antennas to broadcast radio pulses. It was visible all around the Earth and its radio pulses were detectable. It travelled at 29,000 kilometres per hour, taking 96.2 minutes to complete each orbit.
Sputnik 2 was also launched, carrying Laika the Jack Russell dog, the first large animal, into space.
The year after:
Sputnik sent a radio pulse around the world each time it passed overhead. Many people throughout the world listened to this, including Neil Armstrong, the man who would later walk on the moon in 1969.