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Launches and Orbital Operations


Tyneside, UK
2021 Sep 17
Friday, Day 260

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Orbital elements based on amateur observations

Satellite observers' discussion group

1957 - Launches to Orbit and Beyond

Listed are launches, irrespective of outcome, that were irretrievably committed to flight towards orbit or intended to accelerate the payload to escape velocity.

Launch times are in UTC and are from the launching agency or estimated by 'walking back' along the ground track to the launch site. Most orbit data and decay information comes SpaceTrack but it occasionally contains inconsistencies (eg - incorrect re-entry dates or early sets of elements allocated to the wrong object) that need to be corrected from other sources.

To fill the gaps where elements are not formally published, usually because they have a classification of "Secret", some orbits are based on amateur observations using visual and radio techniques. Such data is published near-daily by Mike McCants, and the source observations along with observers' derived orbits can often be found in the web-based Seesat-L discussion group. Occasionally, early orbit data are published by satellite owners. In extreme cases, orbits are estimated from public data.

Apogee and perigee are measured against a spherical Earth situated at the focus of the orbital ellipse and with a radius of 6378.145 km. Care should be exercised when comparing with other published orbits because they may have been derived using a different model.

Users can go straight to specific launches by pointing to the page URL followed by the three digit launch number, eg - http://www.zarya.info/Diaries/Launches/Launches.php?year=1957#001


1957-001
Sputnik 8K71PS
Baikonur Cosmodrome
1957 Oct 4, 19:28
Sputnik (PS-1)
1957 α 2
2
Re-entered - 1958 Jan 3
Life 91 days
World's first artificial satellite, instrumented sphere with radio transmitter. Built in short period of time because of delays in Korolyov's 'Object-D' science satellite. The orbit shown is an estimate for the launching rocket. In reality Sputnik's apogee was several kilometres higher.

epoch (UTC)         
s-m axis
( km )
ecc    perigee
( km )
apogee
( km )
period
( min )
incl 
( ° )
ω  
( ° )
1957 Oct 04, 19:1869540.052021493896.1965.1058
Sputnik (R-7) core stage
1957 α 1
1
Re-entered - 1957 Dec 1
Life 58 days
Launched Sputnik

epoch (UTC)         
s-m axis
( km )
ecc    perigee
( km )
apogee
( km )
period
( min )
incl 
( ° )
ω  
( ° )
1957 Oct 04, 19:1869540.052021493896.1965.1058


1957-002
Sputnik 8K71PS
Baikonur Cosmodrome
1957 Nov 3, 02:30
Sputnik 2 (PS-2)
1957 β 1
3
Re-entered - 1958 Apr 14
Life 162 days
Satellite with a pressurised cabin carring the dog "Laika". By design, the dog cabin and instrument unit remain attached to the launching rocket. Some thermal insulation came loose and subjected Laika to severely high temperatures and she died. The satellite was not designed for re-entry or recovery.

epoch (UTC)         
s-m axis
( km )
ecc    perigee
( km )
apogee
( km )
period
( min )
incl 
( ° )
ω  
( ° )
1957 Nov 03, 02:2273130.09902111659103.7465.3359


1957-F01 - failed to reach orbit
Vanguard TV-3
Cape Canaveral
1957 Dec 6, 16:44
Vanguard
Orbital mission to evaluate the launch vehicle and and launch a minimum-sized satellite. Visual observations were to be used as data for measuring atmospheric denisty and the shape of the Earth. First stage lost thrust 1s after lift-off and the vehicle was destroyed by explosion when it settled back on the launch pad.


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