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Explorer 1: America’s First Satellite

31 Jan 2018, 12:59 UTC
Explorer 1: America’s First Satellite
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Except for the occasional headline of some important achievement, the general public today is largely unaware of how space technology affects them despite the pervasiveness of its influence. Space technology allows instant knowledge of one’s location, provides near-real time images of weather, is a key part of instant global communications, creates views for online maps along with a growing list of other applications which make up part of the background of every day life.
The launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957 made headlines across the globe and shocked many Americans.
But long before these applications of space technology ever existed, the situation was very different. Six decades ago at the dawn of the Space Age, the geopolitical and security implications of space were on the minds of almost everyone. With the successful launch of the first Sputnik in October 1957 (see “Sputnik: The Launch of the Space Age”), it became apparent that the Soviet Union and not the United States was taking the lead to explore (and conquer!) this new frontier. The very public failure of America’s first attempt to launch a satellite in December 1957 only heightened these anxieties (see “Vanguard TV-3: America’s First Satellite Launch Attempt”). It ...

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