Science: The Satellite's Week

The art of satellite watching improved last week—with two satellites to watch and more time to practice. The Smithsonian's observatory at Cambridge reported that it has pinpointed both Soviet satellites accurately enough to backtrack by computer and find the hour when they were launched. Sputnik 1, the observatory said, took to space on Oct. 4 at 8 a.m. E.S.T. Sputnik 111 was launched in the middle of the afternoon on Nov. 1. Its orbit is more elliptical, rising higher and sinking lower, than the orbit of Sputnik 1.

Since a perfectly circular orbit is...

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