Southern Connecticut State University
The last living member of the trio credited with being the first individuals in the
United States to sight the Soviet satellite Sputnik 50 years ago will be the keynote
speaker Oct. 10 during a forum to mark the anniversary.
Richard Brown was 15 years old when he and two others spotted Sputnik while on
the roof of Engleman Hall at SCSU, which was then known as the New Haven
State Teachers College. Brown, along with his father, Robert Brown, who was a
faculty member at the school, and James Plato, an amateur astronomer, saw Sputnik
at 6:23 a.m. on Oct. 10, 1957.
The forum, “Sputnik: A Part of Southern and World History,” is scheduled for
12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. inside Engleman Hall (Room A120). In addition to Brown, it
will include an SCSU faculty panel to discuss the impact that the satellite had upon
the United States and the Soviet Union. The unveiling of a new plaque to mark the
historical event will be conducted immediately following the panel. Both events are
free and open to the public.
Sputnik I was launched into orbit on Oct. 4, 1957. Sputnik II was sent about a
month later. The first U.S. artificial satellite (Explorer I) was rocketed into orbit on
Jan. 31, 1958.
Article from the Southern News, October 10, 2007, Volume XLIII- Issue 6