Sputnik

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Sputnik:

see satellite, artificialsatellite, artificial,
object constructed by humans and placed in orbit around the earth or other celestial body (see also space probe). The satellite is lifted from the earth's surface by a rocket and, once placed in orbit, maintains its motion without further rocket propulsion.
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; space explorationspace exploration,
the investigation of physical conditions in space and on stars, planets, and other celestial bodies through the use of artificial satellites (spacecraft that orbit the earth), space probes (spacecraft that pass through the solar system and that may or may not
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.

Sputnik

(spût -nik) Any of a series of Soviet artificial satellites, the first of which – Sputnik 1 – was the first spacecraft to be placed in orbit. This 58-cm diameter sphere, weighing 84 kg, was launched on Oct. 4 1957; it burnt up in the Earth's atmosphere 92 days later. The orbit had a period of 96 minutes, an apogee and perigee (highest and lowest altitudes) of about 950 km and 230 km, and was inclined at 65° to the equator. Its radio signals were transmitted every 0.6 seconds. It contained few instruments, being intended as a test vehicle. The launching of Sputnik 1 had a profound effect in accelerating America's space program.

Sputnik 2, launched on Nov. 3 1957, was very much bigger. It carried about 500 kg in payload, including a live dog, Laika, which survived the launch, as well as 10 experiments. Sputnik 3, launched on May 15 1958, weighed about 1330 kg and remained in orbit for 691 days.