After Sputnik: Satellites Today
Fifty years later, thousands of descendants have made a home in space
By Sophie Goldstein,  Newser User
Posted Oct 4, 2007 4:47 PM CDT
This first official picture of the Soviet satellite Sputnik I was issued in Moscow Oct. 9, 1957, showing the four-antennaed satellite resting on a three-legged pedestal. Working in obsessive secrecy,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Satellites have lost a bit of their star power since Sputnik blasted into orbit. But 50 years later, its grandkids continue to look down at the Earth and out into deep, deep space. Here are some of the coolest, according to Wired:

  • James Webb Space Telescope: Putting the Hubble to pasture, this planned telescope will monitor the infrared spectrum to detect new planets.
  • Envisat: Making Al Gore proud, this environmental lab monitors sea-ice coverage and changes to glaciers.

  • NAVSTAR GPS: Ensuring the military won't get lost, this 31-satellite global positioning system was developed by the Department of Defense.
  • Commercial Satellite Photography: Catching nude sunbathers from space, this technology gives us Google Earth.
  • Space Stations: Slated to finish in 2010, the International Space Station makes space travel a little easier.

For the full list follow the link below.