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In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object which has been placed into orbit by human endeavour. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as the Moon. History's first artificial satellite, the Sputnik 1, was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. Since then, thousands of satellites have been launched into orbit around the Earth; including The Prospero satellite, also known as X-3. This satellite was launched by the United Kingdom in 1971. It was designed to undertake a series of experiments studying the effects of the space environment. It is the only British satellite to be successfully launched by a British rocket; it was launched in October 1971, remained operational until 1973, and was contacted annually for over a quarter century after that.
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