Geophysics: Dragonflies in Space

While headlines glamorize the U.S.

Russian race to the moon, man's most useful achievements in space have come as the result of an unsung project started in 1964: the U.S. Orbiting Geophysical Observatory series. Last week the fourth OGO satellite, launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on July 28, was buzzing along in polar orbit without a hitch.

Resembling giant stub-winged dragonflies, OGOs circle in polar and equatorial orbits at altitudes of 170 to 90,000 miles. So far, they have logged 500,000 hours studying near-earth environment and the sun's effects on it. OGOs...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


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

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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