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See also: Sputnik


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From Russian спу́тник (spútnik, satellite, literally fellow traveller), from с- (s-, with, together) + пу́тник (pútnik, traveller), from путь (putʹ, way, journey) + agent suffix -ник (-nik).



sputnik (plural sputniks)

  1. (historical) Any of a series of Soviet robotic space satellites, especially the first one in 1957.
    • 2011 January 5, Barack Obama; Jon Favreau, speechwriter, “Remarks by the President in State of Union Address”, in White House Office of the Press Secretary, WhiteHouse.gov[1], archived from the original on 6 May 2016:
      Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn't even there yet. NASA didn't exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs. This is our generation's Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal.
  2. (dated) Any artificial satellite.
    • 1958, Clinton P. Anderson, statement on the Senate floor, quoted in, Legislative history: Saline water conversion act, page 783
      With this program, we could bring water to the Middle East. We could rebuild some of our sagging esteem in that part of the world; we could insure that in this area at least we would have our sputniks abreast the Russians', and we could do our own economy a priceless good turn.
    • 1958 October 23, Gemnius, "It seems to me", New Scientist, page 1120
      This is but one of the facts which should demonstrate to those who would build British sputniks that such extravagances will be a disservice to the whole country until the supply of scientists has been multiplied many times.
    • 1965, The Contemporary
      Of course, long before this reliable systems of meteorological sputniks, world-wide television sputniks, navigation sputniks, etc., will be created.
    • 1971, Shenandoah, volumes 9-10, page 4
      In Britain, before we had the news of the launching of the Russian and just now the American sputniks, we learned the news that American planes carrying H-bombs, which they could deliver on Russia at very short notice, are continuously in the air.

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sputnik m (plural sputniks)

  1. sputnik (a Soviet robotic space satellite)