On 4 Oct 1957, the space race began — Russia successfully placed the first artificial satellite, Спутник-1 (Sputnik-1), into orbit around Earth. Sputnik was placed directly into orbit by a single stage rocket. It's payload was a simple radio transmitter that alternated between two frequencies. There were no sensors, or cameras, or solar panels. Some of the smartest people in the world were working on the rocket and satellite designs, at a time when the first commercially-made transistor was only 3 years old. Integrated circuits, ICs or 'computer chips' hadn't even been invented yet!