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Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 15:05 UK

Homer's odyssey - First Person

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In 1957 the launch of the first satellite, Sputnik, heralded the start of the space age.

Its political and scientific shockwaves were felt everywhere, including in West Virginia where 14-year-old Homer Hickam - who grew up to be a Nasa engineer and best-selling writer - was staring into the sky.

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