DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite. Sputnik 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 had four long antennas attached to it. Sputnik 1 was located in Earth orbit and transmitted radio signals back to Earth for a period of 23 days. Although the mission ended on 27th October 1957, it was not until 4th January 1958 that Sputnik returned to Earth. The success of Sputnik 1 prompted the US government to enter the Space Race with the launch of Explorer-1 four months later. This photograph is from the German Space Exhibition in Morgenroethe-Rautenkranz, Germany.
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