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Sputnik 50th Anniversary

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  • AP/RIA-Novosti
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  • Eric Long/National Air and Space Museum
  • NASA
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  • Sputnik in a photo taken in September 1957, the month before it was launched into orbit.
  • Laika, the world's first space traveler, aboard the Sputnik II space capsule before her November 1957 launch into death and immortality.
  • Sept. 15, 1961: Yuri Gagarin, left, the first human in space, and Sputnik designer Sergei Korolyov in Moscow.
  • Sept. 28: A satellite, which Jay Walker of Ridgefield, Conn., says is one of the original Sputniks made in 1957, at his home.
  • Sept. 25: Cosmonaut Georgy Grechko in front of a painting showing Yuri Gagarin at the Russian cosmonauts' living quarters in northern Moscow.
  • April 11, 1961: Sputnik designer Sergei Korolyov at the Baikonur cosmodrome the day before Yuri Gagarin's maiden spaceflight.
  • The Lovell Telescope at the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England, the only telescope in the Western world able to track the carrier rocket of Sputnik 1 on Oct. 4, 1957.
  • A Sputnik replica on display in the Milestones of Flight exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
  • Yuri Gagarin, already suited up, on a bus taking him to the launch pad just before he became the first human to orbit Earth aboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft on April 12, 1961. Behind him sits his backup, Gherman Titov, who went into space aboard Vostok 2.
  • Oct. 4: Russian soldiers at attention in front of the newly unveiled monument to Sputnik at Star City, the cosmonaut training center outside Moscow.
  • Another shot of the Russian soldiers at attention in front of the Sputnik monument at Star City, north of Moscow.
  • Oct. 2: Former spaceflight engineers toast the 50th anniversary of Sputnik at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, Ala. Left to right: Von Braun team engineer Konrad Dannenburg, author and former NASA engineer Homer Hickam, former Marshall Space Flight Center director Bill Lucas, Von Braun team engineer Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger and Davidson Technologies founder Dr. Julian Davidson.

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