by: Aaron George Bailey - Sherwood, Arkansas
The above IGY stamp shows Sputnik-2 on-orbit.  The Sputnik 2 dog capsule remained attached to the center
rocket stage after orbital insertion, in part for simplicity of design and because optical tracking of only one big
object was easier.
 Whereas the Sputnik 1 sphere was ejected away from the center rocket stage after
being inserted into earth orbit.  It was beach ball in size and its aluminum surface was highly polished for
reflectivity and thermal control.  
However, in 1957 most satellite watchers mistook the big rocket stage for the
Sputnik-1 sphere since the huge rocket body  was more visible to the unaided eye.

Satellite watching is a pleasant backyard pastime on a summer evening or on a peaceful early morning
while having a cup of coffee.  Low earth orbiting satellites are visible for approximately one hour before
sunrise and one hour after sunset as they reflect sunlight back down to earth.  During these periods of
satellite visibility, the sun is below the horizon and it appears dark or twilight to earth bound observers.
But at the satellites altitude the sun is still shining, resulting in reflected sunlight from the satellite surface
being bounced back down to earthlings.  The reflected light from some satellites appears relatively
constant while
others appear to pulsate.  Most of the time, dead satellites and spent rocket stages account
for this
twinkling effect as they tumble along, causing the angle of their light reflecting surface to
constantly change with respect to the sun and earth observer.  Observers often see satellites go dark in a
matter of a few seconds as the sun sets relative to the satellites position in space.  And the opposite
effect is often seen, where satellites suddenly become visible as they pass through the night to day line.  
Sometimes the bright landing lights from aircraft are mistaken for satellites.  To exclude airplanes, use
binoculars to pickup their telltale red and/or green wing tip navigation lights, strobes or multiple landing
lights.  Newcomers to satellite watching should try viewing the International Space Station- (ISS) which is
currently the brightest man made object aloft.  Use the WWW to find when it will be visible over your
location.  On rare occasions the Space Shuttle and ISS can be seen orbiting in close formation.-
(see ISS+2)  
On one rare occasion in the 1990s I saw the Shuttle, Mir and a Soyuz all orbiting in a loose formation.  The
Hubble Space Telescope- (HST) is an easy target to see if you live in lower latitudes.  The HST doesn't
cover as much of the earths surface because of being in a low inclination orbit, whereas ISS is in a high
inclination and covers more of the populated parts of earth.  I've been satellite watching for years and I
used to routinely watch
Salyut 6, Salyut 7, Mir and on occasion I would also see a manned Soyuz orbiting
along with these.  As a youngster, I vividly remember seeing the giant balloon satellites Echo-1 and Echo-2.
Their balloon material was made of very thin mylar with a surface that was reflective to radio waves.  Long
range communication experiments were conducted by bouncing UHF radio signals off of them.  Below, see
the Echo-1 stamp and the Echo-2 backup balloon in its launch cannister.
As a seasoned observer, I must confess, after many hours of sky watching, I have yet to see what could be
called a strange UFO.  I maintain an open mind on the subject because Humankind's knowledge is limited.
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.