On October 4th 1957 The Russians beat the U.S. in the space race launching the first satellite "Sputnik" in orbit. Pasadena's JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) had been working on several rockets to take our own satellite in to space. Only 4 months later January 31st 1958 we put EXPLORER 1 up with a few science experiments one being the Van Allen Cosmic radiation instrument. My grandfather was on the Design team at JPL and I am proud of his accomplishments as he is recognized as one of the few left alive from the LAB. Its amazing to think what we have accomplished in 50 years with the satellite space program, yet how little man has traveled the same.
Explorer 1 6ft long just under 30 lbs.
"Sputnick" 23 inches in diameter. Many don't know that the russians launched a second satellite a month after sputnick this time carrying a very highly trained Dog!