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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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(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.

References in periodicals archive ?
I shall not easily forget the relief I felt when we first saw Sputnik 1 shooing across the sky in good agreement with my prediction.
I found then that the easier and most successful way of observing a Sputnik was to mount a pair of binoculars on a tripod with three axes, one of which permitted tracking along the plane of the orbit.
uk MYSTERY MAN J David Whalley investigated reports of the crash of a Sputnik satellite, inset
Within a month, the Soviets launched a second Sputnik and this one with a dog onboard.
Sputnik also prompted radical improvements in our education system and enormous advances in science and technology including the dawn of GPS, photography from space, weather satellites, cell phones, and the Internet, for starters.
For them, the story of Sputnik has surprising relevance to current events-President Bush, the war in Iraq, the threat of global terrorism, the threats from global warming, etc.
Hoffman also brought in Paul Dickson, bestselling author of Sputnik, the Shock of the Century, as chief consultant, plus the respected television journalist, Mark Shields as storyteller/narrator and influential rock musician, Thomas Dolby, who will provide the musical soundtrack and the film's title song.
Reconsidering Sputnik contains something of value for anyone interested in space history.