Sputnik Documentary

This TED segment was posted in the last few days (it was originally presented last year), in which documentarian David Hoffman presents clips from his movie Sputnik Mania. His hindsight isn’t quite 20/20, I don’t think — he seems to ascribe nefarious motives only to the U.S. — but some of the historical footage is quite good.

Note the comment on the page, pointing out a technical error in the animation. Mr. Cordes, the commenter, is quite right: the animation shows the satellite traversing from northeast to southwest, but in a prograde orbit its ground trace would traverse either southwest to northeast (ascending) or northwest to southeast (descending).

I wish I could say I’d caught that, but I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Which is why I wouldn’t make a good movie critic.

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