] For sale: what might be one of the Soviet Sputnik
] satellites that ushered in the Space Age and sparked a
] frenzied competition that soon led to the launch of the
] first man into orbit.
] As with so many things Russian, the sale, offered online
] by Sovietski.com and eBay Inc. for a starting auction
] price of $25,000, presents a riddle wrapped in a mystery,
] for no one is able to say how many authentic Sputniks
] actually exist.
] The Soviet Union launched the original Sputnik, a shiny
] metallic orb with four antennas streaking from the side,
] in 1957, setting off a panic in the United States, which
] feared it was falling behind its Cold War rival.
] Amid the secrecy that prevailed at the time, Moscow made
] several back-up models, and since the fall of the Soviet
] Union, some of these have landed in the hands of their
] former adversary on very capitalist terms.
] Cathleen Lewis, curator of the Russian and Soviet Space
] collection at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., said
] experts believe Moscow originally made four back-up
] Sputniks. Yet far more than four Sputniks are now in
] The original 183-pound (83 kilo) Sputnik burned up when
] it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.
] "There is so little documentation and accountability. We
] just don't know what it is," she said of the latest sale.
Cool if its the genuine article
CNN.com - Missing Sputnik may be for sale on eBay - Jun. 4, 2003