Launch of Sputnik 1: How soon to the moon?


By Sir Harold Spencer Jones FRS This is a classic article from New Scientist’s archive, republished as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations THE successful launching by the Russians, at the first attempt, of an Earth satellite is undoubtedly a major technical triumph. In order to orbit the Earth in a circular orbit, a satellite must be projected with a speed of about 18,000 mph or 5 miles per second. Each orbital revolution is then completed in about 90 minutes. If the satellite is launched in a horizontal direction with a higher speed,
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