CPYTNK, spootnik, sputnik `fellow traveller'
A special meaning of the word developed in Soviet astronomical nomenclature where a heavenly body associated with a larger celestial object like a planet could be a fellow traveler or — a satellite.
The word sputnik is NOT a modern coinage. The word first appears, in the form supotiniku in an ancestor language of modern Russian, a language called in English: Old Church Slavonic. There it is used to translate a Greek word from the New Testament that means `companion on a journey.'
Later in Russian history, but before space exporation in the 1950s, the Russian word sputnik meaning "fellow traveller" came to be a term for one who sympathizes with or supports the tenets and program of the Communist Party, without being an actual card-carryiong member of the Communist party.
The translation of this sense of sputnik entered English too, and in the United States during the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, the phrase fellow traveller became the label for any American citizen suspected of Communist sympathies.
A "fellow traveler" was a pariah.
Hence, the title of this post.