Sputnik Satellite

Everyone has seen the image: Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite. When the Soviets sent this elegant piece of machinery into orbit in 1957, they did more than launch the space race...they inspired a wave of Sputnik chandeliers in its wake.  

Named after the satellite that inspired them, Sputnik lights are a general style marked by a distinctive starburst pattern. Legend has it that the first ones were actually created three years before Sputnik 1 ever saw the stratosphere by Gino Sarfatti for Lightolier under the names Astral, Skyrocket, Sparker and Mobile (a later Sarfatti design is pictured above).

Fast forward more than half a century and you're seeing Sputnik chandeliers today more than ever. Jonathan Adler, one of today's hottest designers, has created a series of designs dedicated to the iconic form:

Adler Sputnik Chandelier

Sputnik Modern Brass Crystal Jonathan Adler Chandelier

And there are a handful of other satellite-inspired styles. You can find both ceiling lights and floor lamps today:

Sputnik Style Lighting

Possini Chrome Flushmount, Possini Chrome Floor Lamp

What you won't find anymore, however, are real Sputniks orbiting overhead. Unless, of course, you decide to bring this unforgettable Sputnik light style into your home. 

Images: Answers.com, Best Design Books