Sixty years ago, a grapefruit-sized aluminium sphere with six antennas and some tiny solar cells was launched into Earth orbit. The Vanguard 1 satellite is still up there and is the oldest human-made object in space. It’s our first piece of space archaeology. Other early satellites – such as Sputnik 1, the first satellite to leave Earth in 1957, and Explorer 1, the first US satellite – have long since re-entered the atmosphere and burnt up. Vanguard 1’s legacy, as we enter the seventh decade of space travel, is a new generation of small satellites changing the way we interact with space.