Welcome, those of you arriving at Bartography via my What-nik?!? manuscript about Sputnik’s effect on one boy (or my posting about the manuscript). Now for a true-life recollection:

“[A]t the appointed moment, Sputnik flew over Coalwood. If it had been God in his chariot that had flown over, I could not have been more impressed. It was awe-inspiring. Sputnik looked like a bright star that moved with such utter purpose that nothing could stop it; and I, in that moment, realized I wanted to be part of the movement into space.”

That’s Rocket Boys author Homer Hickam, quoted today as part of The New York Timesmassive coverage of the 50th anniversary of Sputnik’s launch. (The movie that commenter Bruce mentioned the other day, October Sky, is based on Hickam’s book and a longtime favorite with my 8-year-old, S.)

The Times isn’t the only outlet with a big Sputnik package. Check out Computerworld‘s Happy Birthday, Sputnik! (Thanks for the Internet) and nifty timeline. But of the two publications, only The Times pointed me to this: