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Wednesday, February 28, 2007 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

Is Sputnik still orbiting the Earth?

While it can be argued that the United States eventually won the race when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in 1969, Sputnik's effect on the world can't be overstated.

But what fate befell the iconic satellite? After 1,400 trips around the Earth, Sputnik burned up when it reentered the atmosphere in January of 1958 (just as it was supposed to). Over the years, the Soviet Union would go on to launch other satellites. Their very next one, Sputnik II, carried a live passenger -- a dog named "Laika."

Although neither satellite remains in orbit, plenty of elderly flying objects are floating far above our heads. For example, Vanguard 1 from the United States was launched in 1958, and it's expected to remain in orbit for about 240 years. And, no, this one didn't have a dog on board.

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