Time-lapse image of the Soviet satellite Sputnik 3 in Earth orbit (white dotted line). This small unmanned conical spacecraft carried scientific instruments to study the upper atmosphere, cosmic rays, and the Earth's magnetic field. It was 3.57 metres long and 1.73 metres wide at the base. It was launched by a modified R-7 Semyorka missile on 15th May 1958. Its orbit decayed and it re-entered the atmosphere and disintegrated on 6th April 1960.