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The first 42 elements of the Allen Telescope Array (ATA-42) are beginning to deliver data at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory in northern California. Scientists and engineers are actively exploiting all of the flexibility designed into this innovative instrument for simultaneously conducting surveys of the astrophysical sky and conducting searches for distant technological civilizations. This paper summarizes the design elements of the ATA, the cost savings made possible by the use of commercial off-the-shelf components, and the cost/performance tradeoffs that eventually enabled this first snapshot radio camera. The fundamental scientific program of this new telescope is varied and exciting; some of the first astronomical results will be discussed.