For an earth satellite orbit of small eccentricity (e < 0.2) formulae are derived for the changes per revolution produced by the atmosphere in the argument of perigee, in the right ascension of the ascending node, and in the orbital inclination. These changes are then expressed in terms of the change in length of the semi-major axis, and numerical values are obtained for satellite 1957 $\beta$. It is found that the rotation of the major axis in the orbital plane due to the atmosphere is significant, being most important for inclinations between 60 and 70$^\circ$. The total rotation, due both to the gravitational potential and to the atmosphere, agrees reasonably well with the observed values. The oblateness of the atmosphere is found to have only a small effect on the changes in the orbital inclination and the right ascension of the ascending node.