In a Russian town named after the man who designed Sputnik, they gathered to mark the 50th anniversary of the space launch which shaped so much of modern life.
In Korolyov, they inaugurated a monument to the 83 kilogramme metal ball, which sparked the space-race – a race which put a man on the moon, and a satnav in your car.
Sergei Korolyov became known as the father of the Soviet space industry.
His daughter, Natalia paid tribute at the ceremony, saying:
“We are marking the fiftieth anniversary of the world’s first artificial earth satellite, which opened a new space era in the life of mankind.”
In Moscow, there was another ceremony, where military officials laid flowers at the spot where Korolyov was buried with honours at the foot of the Kremlin walls.