A half-century ago, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Explorer 1 spacecraft became America’s first Earth-orbiting satellite when it sailed into space on Jan. 31, 1958.
To say the least, it was incredible. The news relayed by the voice on the other end of the phone line hit the president of the San Gabriel Valley Radio Club like a blow to the head. Too incredible, Henry Richter hoped, to be true.
A history of the Explorer mission.
Explorer and the history of early space exploration by unmanned spacecraft.
The first United States satellite and space launch vehicle.
Discover space-related activities and anniversaries for the coming year.