Vanguard 1: The Oldest Satellite Still Orbiting Earth

TLDR Vanguard 1, the world's oldest satellite, launched in response to the Russian Sputnik launches, is still orbiting the Earth after 62 years. It remains in orbit, providing valuable data and could potentially be salvaged for further analysis in the future.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The world's oldest satellite, Vanguard 1, is still orbiting the Earth 62 years after it was launched.
01:12 The launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik in 1957 caused national embarrassment and concern in the United States.
02:12 The US quickly launched the Vanguard 1A satellite in response to the Russian Sputnik launches, but it exploded on the launch pad, while the Explorer 1 satellite was successfully launched a month later.
03:09 The US successfully launched their third attempt at a satellite, Vanguard 1, which was small and lightweight.
04:08 Vanguard 1, the first satellite powered by solar cells, provided evidence of the Earth's asymmetry and remains in orbit to this day.
05:04 Vanguard 1, the oldest man-made object in orbit, has completed almost a quarter million orbits of the Earth, traveled over 7 billion miles, and is expected to remain in orbit for another 200 years, but the cost of salvaging it would be high.
06:00 Vanguard 1 could potentially be salvaged to test the capabilities of a mission to medium Earth orbit and analyze the long-term effects of space on a satellite, but there is no rush as it has 200 years before it burns up in the atmosphere and can be placed in a museum.
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