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It seems incredible that the technology that went into building the first successful satellite 50 years ago can now be found lying around the average house. You could even build one yourself, as Paul Rubens explains below.
In 1957 the Sputnik 1 satellite was seen as a technological marvel, the result of many years work by some of the Soviet Union's most talented engineers and scientists. But by today's standards, was it really such a big deal? In 2007, how hard would it be to build a fully working Sputnik in the comfort of your own living room?
In simple terms, the Sputnik satellite was a metal sphere almost 2ft (61cm) in diameter, containing a radio transmitter.