Today in History: October 4, Soviets launch Sputnik

October 4, 2022 GMT

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, Oct. 4, the 277th day of 2022. There are 88 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 4, 1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.

On this date:

In 1777, Gen. George Washington’s troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pennsylvania, resulting in heavy American casualties.

In 1887, the International Herald Tribune had its beginnings as the Paris Herald, a European edition of the New York Herald.

In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI became the first pope to visit the Western Hemisphere as he addressed the U.N. General Assembly.

In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.

In 1990, for the first time in nearly six decades, German lawmakers met in the Reichstag for the first meeting of reunified Germany’s parliament.

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In 1991, 26 nations, including the United States, signed the Madrid Protocol, which imposed a 50-year ban on oil exploration and mining in Antarctica.

In 2001, a Russian airliner flying from Israel to Siberia was accidentally downed by a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile over the Black Sea, killing all 78 people aboard. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 70th home run to tie Mark McGwire’s 1998 record in a 10-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

In 2002, “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh received a 20-year sentence after a sobbing plea for forgiveness before a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia. (He was released from prison in May, 2019.) In a federal court in Boston, a laughing Richard Reid pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives in his shoes (the British citizen was later sentenced to life in prison).

In 2004, the SpaceShipOne rocket plane broke through Earth’s atmosphere to the edge of space for the second time in five days, capturing the $10 million Ansari X prize aimed at opening the final frontier to tourists. Pioneering astronaut Gordon Cooper died in Ventura, California, at age 77.

In 2010, the Supreme Court began a new era with three women serving together for the first time as Elena Kagan took her place at the end of the bench.

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In 2020, infected and contagious, President Donald Trump briefly ventured out in an SUV from the hospital where he was being treated for COVID-19 to salute cheering supporters. Trump’s medical team reported that his blood oxygen level had dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick; doctors said he had also been given oxygen before being hospitalized.

Ten years ago: A day after his first debate with Mitt Romney, which had been widely seen as a victory for Romney, President Barack Obama suggested that his Republican rival hadn’t been candid about his policy positions during the faceoff. The Nielsen Co. said an estimated 67.2 million people had watched the debate; it was the biggest TV audience for a presidential debate since 1992.

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Five years ago: Four U.S. soldiers were killed in the African country of Niger (nee-ZHEHR’) when a joint patrol of U.S. and Niger forces was ambushed by militants who were believed linked to the Islamic State group. President Donald Trump visited hospital bedsides and a police base in Las Vegas in the aftermath of the shooting rampage three nights earlier that left 58 people dead.

One year ago: A massive global outage knocked Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp platforms offline for hours due to what Facebook called a “faulty configuration change”; there were no signs that malicious activity was involved. The Biden administration reversed a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals by federally-funded family planning clinics. Supreme Court justices returned to the courtroom for the start of a new term after a nearly 19-month absence because of the coronavirus pandemic. China flew 56 fighter planes toward Taiwan, continuing three days of military harassment against the self-ruled island. A federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Michael Garbo, was shot and killed while questioning a passenger on an Amtrak train in Tucson, Arizona; the passenger who opened fire was then killed in a gunfight with other officers.

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Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Leroy Van Dyke is 93. Actor Felicia Farr is 90. Author Roy Blount Jr. is 81. Actor Lori Saunders (TV: “Petticoat Junction”) is 81. Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa is 78. Actor Clifton Davis is 77. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, is 76. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is 76. Actor Susan Sarandon is 76. Blues musician Duke Robillard is 74. Playwright Lee Blessing is 73. Actor Armand Assante is 73. Actor Alan Rosenberg is 72. Actor Christoph Waltz is 66. Actor Bill Fagerbakke is 65. Music producer Russell Simmons is 65. Actor-singer Wendy Makkena is 64. Musician Chris Lowe (The Pet Shop Boys) is 63. Country musician Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard (Sawyer Brown) is 62. Actor David W. Harper is 61. Singer Jon Secada is 61. TV personality John Melendez is 57. Actor-comedian Jerry Minor is 55. Actor Liev Schreiber is 55. Actor Abraham Benrubi is 53. Country singer-musician Heidi Newfield is 52. Singer-guitarist M. Ward (She & Him) is 49. Actor Alicia Silverstone is 46. Actor Dana Davis is 44. Rock musician Robbie Bennett (The War on Drugs) is 44. Actor Phillip Glasser is 44. Rock singer-musician Marc Roberge (O.A.R.) is 44. Actor Brandon Barash is 43. Actor Rachael Leigh Cook is 43. Actor Tim Peper is 42. Actor Jimmy Workman is 42. Actor Michael Charles Roman is 35. Actor Melissa Benoist is 34. NBA All-Star Derrick Rose is 34. Actor Dakota Johnson is 33. Figure skater Kimmie Meisner is 33. Actor Leigh-Anne Pinnock (Little Mix) is 31. Actor Ryan Scott Lee is 26.