BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — The place where modern cosmonautics was born is known for sure: it is the legendary “Gagarin Launch”, site No. 1 of the Baikonur cosmodrome. It was here that the launch of the first satellite opened the Space Age of mankind. It was from here that Yuri Gagarin ascended into orbit on April 12, 1961.
The first successful launch of Germany’s A-4 ballistic missile and the orbiting of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik-1, took place 15 years and one day apart. The two achievements are related in more ways than their proximity on the calendar.
On Oct. 3, 1942, an A-4 developed by Wernher von Braun and his German Army team reached an altitude of 85 to 90 km (52.8 to 55.9 miles) after launch from Peenemunde on the Baltic Coast.