Letter | Published:

The Sudden Discontinuity in the Orbital Period of Sputnik 4 Satellite

Naturevolume 187pages866867 (1960) | Download Citation



THE orbit of the fourth Russian Earth satellite soon after its late launching on May 14, 1960, was similar to the orbits of the previous Sputniks, as may be seen from the orbital elements shown in Table 1. A Tass News Agency report of May 17 indicated that there were two objects close together in orbit—the composite satellite itself, consisting of a ‘space capsule’ attached to an instrumental section, and the last stage of the launching rocket. The instrumental section included a transmitter or transmitters radiating on frequencies of 19.996 and 39.992 Mc./s., as measured at the Radio Research Station, Slough. The first radio directional observations from the United Kingdom were made at the Radio Research Station on transits occurring at about 1054 hr. and 1225 hr. U.T. on May 15. The first reported visual observation from Western Europe of the composite satellite and rocket was made from Meudon at about 0325 hr. U.T. on May 16.

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  1. Radio Research Station (Department of Scientific and Industrial Research), Slough, Bucks

    • B. R. MAY
    •  & D. E. SMITH


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