The word sputnik which leaped into the headlines of just about every newspaper in the world is not, as may have been felt, a pet name coined by the Russians to describe their man-made moon, but is actually the Russian word for “satellite.”
In the nonastronomical sense, it means “a companion or associate.”
Sputnik is derived from the root sput-, implying entanglement or admixture, plus the suffix -nik, which is closely equivalent to the English suffix -er, that is, one who or that which is involved in the action of the verb root.
Sput- is probably a compound of the preposition s, “with,” plus put, “road.”
Thus a literal translation of sputnik would be “a traveling companion.”