Sputnik Crash Site
798 Park St, Manitowoc, WI 54220
The Soviet Sputnik IV spacecraft was launched on May 15, 1960. Four days later, when it was suppose to return to Earth, something went wrong with the reentry procedure and Sputnik careened off course.
The craft ascended into a higher orbit from which it would not return for over two years. It finally reentered the atmosphere on September 5, 1962, breaking up and scattering chunks of smoldering metal for many miles over Wisconsin.
Residents of Manitowoc reported seeing as many as 24 pieces falling from the sky that morning, some plummeting toward the ground with a sound like thunder. A 20-pound piece of Sputnik debris embedded itself in the street at the intersection of North 8th St. and Park St.
Two police officers on patrol spotted the chunk of metal and, believing it fell off a truck, decided to leave it. It wasn’t until later, when they heard the news about Sputnik, that they realized what they had found.
A brass ring in the middle of the street marks the spot where the debris was found. The nearby Rahr-West Art Museum displays a replica of the debris cast from the original.
Sputnikfest is held here every year to commemorate the occasion with the catch phrase “Sputnik landed here…why don’t you?”
via Cult of Weird