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On 7/25/2012 5:50 AM, Leo Razoumov wrote:
On Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 11:50 PM, Yuri Takhteyev wrote:
When Korolev's team finally got around
to building one, they called it "Prosteishii sputnik 1" - "Basic
satellite 1".

It is summer time (in the Northern hemisphere) and some people might
have spare time while on vacation.
A good book on the history of the Russian Space Program was translated
in English and is available at Amazon for $1.99/volume

Boris Chertok "Rockets and People - Volume I [Kindle Edition]" for $1.99
There are also volumes 2,3 and 4.

[Totally off topic] NASA's History Program Office helped with the English translation of Chertok's memoirs and a quick googling will get you the PDFs at NASA. I eyed it at NASA publications last year but have not got around to reading them.

The whole Sputnik 1 launch was very ad-hoc and to a some degree an act
of desperation. The previous tests revealed that the military payload
that R-7 ICBMs were supposed to carry was disintegrating on reentry
into dense atmosphere. To buy time to redesign the payload shield and
to deflect the criticism Sergey Korolev decided to try payload that
only goes up and does not need to get down. The rest is the History...

IMHO Korolev knew exactly what he was doing. The higher-ups, not so much. Remember, it was the International Geophysical Year and both sides had public plans for artificial satellites. The intended satellite, Sputnik 2, was almost complete, but Vanguard was a (non-military) competitor and von Braun at Huntsville was straining at the leash, threatening to do it as soon as he got any kind of go-ahead. Build a stop-gap, get it orbited quickly. Full marks to Korolev. :-)

Kein-Hong Man (esq.)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia