Science: Satellite for Posterity

The 3.25-lb. Vanguard satellite that was launched on March 17 has become a semi-permanent member of the solar system. Dr. John P. Hagen, head of Project Vanguard, announced last week that Vanguard I is on a "very stable orbit," rising as high as 2,500 miles and never approaching closer to the earth than 404 miles.

The trace of air that exists at this altitude has almost no drag, so Dr. Hagen thinks that the little satellite "will probably circle the earth over the heads of your grandchildren, and even their grandchildren," for as many as 200 years. Its two radio transmitters are...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!