by: Aaron George Bailey - Sherwood, Arkansas
|Above, the dog star that was Sputnik-2, is shown gliding across the ancient star field on the morning of
November 7,1957. Sputnik 2 circled earth every 103.7 minutes. Its orbit was inclined 65.33 degrees from
the equator making Sputnik 2 pass over most of the populated earth in a given twenty four hour period.
Paul Donaldson captured this time lapse photo of Sputnik 2 as it was ascending SW to NE up the East
Coast of the US. At this point Sputnik 2 was near the closest approach to earth (Perigee 212 kilometers /
131.73 miles) where it was most visible to the naked eye. On November 8th ground observers noted that
Sputnik-2 was as bright as the Dog Star Sirius.(11) I bought this photo on ebay. The Seller said it came
from an estate sale and it was found in a basement among a stack of other pictures. This historical photo
is lucky to have survived the passage of time. To his credit, Mr Paul Donaldson noted the date and time
(Nov. 7,1957 - 5:08AM) on his photograph which gives it special Historical significance.
|Above the Echo-2 backup, weighing 457 lbs, is shown folded down in a cannister and
ready for launch. The real Echo-2 was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on
January 25, 1964. After orbital insertion, it inflated into a huge reflective balloon at 135
feet in diameter. Over great distances, ground stations bounced radio signals to each
other by using Echo-2 as a passive reflector. At the time, the largest object in surface
area (not mass) ever placed in orbit, it was also used to conduct atmospheric drag and
air density experiments. I made this photo at the New Mexico Museum of Space History
in March 2006 when I traveled there to see the Pupniks Space Dog Exhibit.
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