Sputnik 1 satellite, composite image

Sputnik 1 satellite, composite image

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Credit: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sputnik 1. Composite image of Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite against a backdrop of the Moon above Earth's horizon. The Sun and the Earth are reflected on the satellite's surface. Sputnik 1 was launched on 4th October 1957 by the former Soviet Union. The name Sputnik is Russian for 'travel companion' or satellite. The body was a highly polished aluminium alloy sphere which measured 58 centimetres in diameter and weighed 83.5 kilograms. It also had four long antennas attached. Sputnik 1 transmitted radio signals back to earth for a period of 21 days. The success of Sputnik 1 prompted the US government to enter the Space Race with the launch of Explorer-1 four months later.

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