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There are several accepted "zones" of orbits around the Earth.One is called low-Earth-orbit, which extends from about 160 to 2,000 km (about 100 to 1,250 miles).Later in the decade, however, the aims of both countries began to split.
(Other stations followed, such as the United States' Skylab and the Soviet Union's Mir.)Other countries began to send their own satellites into space as the benefits rippled through society.
Weather satellites improved forecasts, even for remote areas.
However, a satellite needs to be going fast — at least 8 km (5 miles) a second — to stop from falling back down to Earth immediately.
If a satellite is traveling fast enough, it will perpetually "fall" toward Earth, but the Earth's curvature means that the satellite will fall around our planet instead of crashing back on the surface.
The Sputniks and Explorer 1 became the opening shots in a space race between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted until at least the late 1960s.
The focus on satellites as political tools began to give way to people as both countries sent humans into space in 1961.
A satellite is best understood as a projectile, or an object that has only one force acting on it — gravity.
Technically speaking, anything that crosses the Karman Line at an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 miles) is considered in space.
3, 1957 the Soviets launched an even more massive satellite — Sputnik 2 — which carried a dog, Laika.
The United States' first satellite was Explorer 1 on Jan. The satellite was only 2 percent the mass of Sputnik 2, however, at 30 pounds (13 kg).