Image credit: NASA; image source
The Top of the Atmosphere
In this NASA image (high-res version) captured from the International Space Station (ISS), the top of the blue band marks what is often called the edge of Earth's atmosphere, about 100 km up. Note the moon, faintly visible in the left-center. To learn more, visit The Top of the Atmosphere.
The altitude of the ISS ranges from about 350 km to 450 km. Even at this height, atmospheric drag slowly degrades the orbit, so periodic boosts are required (see NASA's S'Mores), especially when intense solar activity puffs out parts of the atmosphere.
The New York Times on AOL: Sputnik
Fifty years ago, the Soviet Union shocked the world by beating the US into space with Sputnik, a beach-ball-sized satellite whose radio beeps proclaimed the Soviet triumph. To learn about Sputnik, you can visit The New York Times on AOL: Sputnik and also the NASA Sputnik site.