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January 31, 1958 – US Explorer 1 Launched Beginning The Space Race January 31, 2008

Posted by showmescifi in scifi.
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It was fifty years ago today that the US got its act together and launched its first satellite. Yes the US was behind the USSR with Sputnik but Explorer is not just a matter of historical Trivia. It was also the true beginning of the US Space Program’s Golden Era that a decade later landed the first man on the moon.

The satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral (now Cape Kennedy) in Florida at 10:48 P.M. EST on 31 January 1958 by the Jupiter-C vehicle–a special modification of the Redstone ballistic missile–that was designed, built, and launched by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) under the direction of Dr. Wernher Von Braun. Jupiter-C, a direct descendant of the German A-4 (V-2) rocket, was originally developed in 1955-1956 as a high-performance rocket for testing purposes.

NASA has put together a really tight site all about Explorer 1 – so get your fix of space history!