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How far is the very first satellite launched into space?
Question Date: 2014-01-08
Answer 1:

The farthest away I believe to be Voyager 1, which is about 18 light hours from the Sun (for comparison, Neptune is less than one light hour away).

I don't recall the first satellite launched, but I believe it to have been a Soviet project that re-entered the atmosphere and fell back to Earth.

Answer 2:

The first satellite was called “Sputnik 1” and was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. It was launched into low orbit about 360 miles from the surface of the earth and orbited the earth for three months.

Answer 3:

The first manmade satellite launched into space was the Sputnik 1 in 1957 by the Soviet Union. It entered low Earth orbit for 3 months, travelling a total distance of about 70 million km (43.5 million miles). In January of 1958, Sputnik 1 burned up upon reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. At the maximum distance in Sputnik 1’s elliptical orbit (apogee), it was 939.0 km (583.5 mi) from Earth. The average distance from Earth from its orbit was 577 km (359 miles). The farthest satellite from Earth is the Voyager 1, launched by the United States in 1977. It has operated for over 36 years now! Though the exact date is debated, NASA announced on August 25, 2012 that it had left the solar system as defined by the boundary enclosing the solar wind’s extent (heliopause). It is currently about 19 billion km (12 billion mi) from Earth, hurtling through interstellar space at an estimated 61,000 kilometers per hour (38,000 mph).

Answer 4:

The very first satellite was called Sputnik1 and was launched by Russia (then the Soviet Union) in 1957. It's no longer in orbit now, although many more satellites have been launched since 1957 and on a clear night, you can see them crawl across the sky.

To answer your question about the distance that Sputnik was launched, we use the Earth as the reference point for distance.

Satellites as well as the moon orbit the Earth, but not in a circular path. The path that the satellite takes is elliptical, so depending on where it is in its orbit, it may be different distances from the Earth.

There are two terms that are used in astronomy to describe an elliptical orbit: apogee and perigee. Apogee is the point when the satellite is farthest from the earth and perigee is the point when the satellite is closest to the Earth. The best way to describe these terms is with a picture, so I've attached a sketch. Click here to see

The satellite will appear the largest when it's at the perigee. The apogee of orbiting Sputnik was about 939 kilometers an the perigee was 215 kilometers.

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