50th anniversary of Sputnik
Sputnik 1 was a silver sphere (pictured) around the size of a baseball and weighed in at 83kg (or 13 stone). Attached to it were four whip antennas connected to battery powered transmitters that emitted a continous 'beeping' signal during its 98 minute orbit. The signal continued for 23 days and announced to the world that the Space Age had truly begun. Less than a month later, on November 3, the Soviet Union followed this success by launching a dog called Laika into orbit aboard Sputnik 2. Sputnik is the russian word for 'travelling companion'.