Space: To Shush a Satellite

U.S. spacemen were justifiably proud when their grapefruit-sized Vanguard I, the first U.S. satellite, continued to circle the earth long after later-launched rivals, both U.S. and Russian, bit the atmosphere. Now their pride has soured; Vanguard I has become a bore and a nuisance. Its radio voice, powered by solar cells, is still on the air after 4½ years. Its reports translate to nothing more important than "Here I am." And unstoppable broadcasts, which may well persist for 1,000 years, clutter up a precious radio channel.

Such channels are already scarce, and they will get scarcer still as more and...

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