After world war II, the USA and the soviet Union were in a race to unravel the mysterious space. The very first satellite Sputnik I, was launched by the Soviet Union on 4th October 1957- and this was followed by the launch of Explorer I by the USA. The next step was a series of lunar probes, and in 1959, the first photographs of the far side of the moon by the Luna 3.
The sense of excitement created by these discoveries was reflected in India's own space research programme. The department of Atomic Energy had provided funding for space research throughout India, and established the Uttar Pradesh State Observatory in 1954, and the Rangpur observatory in 1957. These institutions were supported technically by the US, and by the passion for science that was the hallmark of our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Sputnik I traveled a max speed of : 29,000 Km/hr
Launched on 4th October 1957 , 7:28. PM