A Vancouver time travelogue brought to you by Past Tense.
When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite to orbit the earth, it signalled that the Commies were not only winning the space race, but had technologically surpassed the USA and were therefore closer to having war toys such as intercontinental missiles.
Eager to get a scoop on the story, Vancouver Sun publisher Don Cromie sent a team of reporters and photographers up in a plane above the clouds to scan the heavens and try to spot Sputnik. Two of them thought they saw a light streak across the sky, but it disappeared so quickly that no one had a chance to snap a photo. “I saw what I thought was a star moving rapidly from left to right,” reported Deni Eagland, one of the photographers aboard the “Satellite Special.” “It was sort of greenish—with the appearance of the brightest star I have ever seen—and with no discernible shape.”
No matter. The next day a photo appeared on the front page of the paper showing a white streak in the Vancouver sky that may or may not have been the Red Satellite. The Sun’s resident historian, John Mackie, let the proverbial cat out of the bag last year as to where the photo came from:
[Photographer George] Diack says [photographer Danny] Scott had done a shot on the ground “as a backup picture in case they didn’t see anything. He opened the shutter as he walked by the plane. I don’t know if it was the wing light or not, but there was some kind of light on the plane, and he opened the shutter for a time exposure, waved the camera in front of the light, and that was the streak. The powers that be at The Sun didn’t know what it was or how it was taken. So they said, ‘It might be Sputnik, it might not be.’ ”
Source: Vancouver Sun