Aurora & Airglow
Cosmic Rays
Earth Satellite
IGY Photo Gallery - Earth Sciences
Assembled Navy Vanguard rocket on launch pad. Vanguard was to have been the first US earth satellite, but early launch failures led to the Army's Explorer I gaining that distinction on 31 January, 1958. Ultimately the Vanguard program was successful, with the first of three Vanguard satellites being launched into orbit on 17 March 1958.
Assembled model of Vanguard I satellite accompanied by components. Advances in electronics miniaturization were crucial in making these components possible. The Vanguard package consisted of six solar cell assemblies, one battery pack, two transmitters, three antenna phasing boards, and six antennas mounted in and on the 6.44 inch aluminum sphere.
Main stage booster of the Jupiter C rocket being prepared for checkout in the assembly hangar of the US Army Ballistic Missile Agency's laboratory at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Jupiter C rocket, designed by Wernher von Braun and his team, was used to orbit Explorer I, the first successful US earth satellite.
Jupiter C rocket launching Explorer I into orbit on 31 January, 1958. The satellite was given the designation 1958 Alpha, signifying that it was the first satellite to go into orbit in 1958.
Shown here is the 85-foot-diameter tracking antenna of the Goldstone Tracking Station, built in the California desert by the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The station was established to track and receive telemetry from the NASA-IGY space probe Pioneer III, launched 6 December 1958 by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and the Jet Propulsion Lab.

Copyright The National Academies. All rights reserved.