Forty-seven years ago, the world changed, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I on October 4, 1957.

The world’s first artificial satellite was about the size of a basketball, weighed only 183 pounds. It took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of space exploration.

On the 47th year anniversary of Sputnik, members of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) and NASA met at the 55th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Vancouver, British Columbia. NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe and Roskosmos Head Anatolii Perminov participated in multilateral IAC plenary sessions. They also held a bilateral meeting to discuss the range of cooperative space activities between NASA and Roskosmos.

O’Keefe took the opportunity to offer his congratulations to Roskosmos on the 47th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik. He also offered his personal congratulations to Perminov on the recent announcement by Russian President Putin he had been granted the award “For Services to the Fatherland.”

During the meeting both leaders recognized the outstanding support of all of the International Space Station partners in operating the Station during the temporary hiatus in Space Shuttle flights. Administrator O’Keefe once again made particular note of the critical support provided by Roskosmos since the Space Shuttle Columbia accident. The two leaders discussed potential cooperation within the framework of the Vision for Space Exploration.