Sputnik 1 Simulation

This is not really an accurate simulation of Sputnik 1; the four Sputnik-style antennas are just to help see the motion of a freely moving body in space. Click the "show mass distribution" checkbox to see an alternate rendering, which shows the , , axes of the body and the mass distribution in these dimensions, shown as arrows and spheres protruding from the surface. Move the "" slider to see more or less of the paths traced by the tips of the arrows. The color scheme is red, green, and blue for axes , , and , respectively. Put more or less mass in , , and to see how asymmetry affects the motion. Changing the initial rotation rates also changes the motion. These changes can be explored by clicking the start button or by changing the path time, or both.

SNAPSHOTS

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DETAILS

Although this is not specifically a simulation of Sputnik 1, it shows the proper mass distribution and initial rotation rates. Perhaps of more interest is the simulation of a hypothetical asteroid, bodies which typically have pronounced asymmetry.
The first snapshot shows the stable pattern for a symmetric body (all three masses set to maximum) and initial rotation about only one axis. The second shows the path that results for the same configuration when the initial rates are different for each axis. The third snapshot shows how the pattern develops over time for the default configuration.
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