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The Soviet Union
launched the world's first artificial satellite-Sputnik 1-aboard an R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile on October
4, 1957. The satellite traveled at 18,000 miles per hour (28,980 km/hr),
according to Soviet calculations, and its radio signals were picked up by
scientists and ham radio operators throughout the world.
The signals continued
until the transmitter batteries ran down on October 26, 1957. Sputnik 1 orbited about 37 million miles
(60 million km), then burned up as it fell from orbit during reentry into
Earth's atmosphere on January 4, 1958.
The Museum of
Flight's Sputnik 1 was a contemporary
technological duplicate, most probably manufactured by the Academy of Sciences
of the USSR.