“At the time, we didn’t know a great deal, but we felt comfortable that we could put something up. And we liked the difference between our satellite and Sputnik. Ours flew science, the Van Allen experiment.”
– Carl Raggio, a mechanical engineer on the Explorer team
50 years ago, at this minute January 31, 1958 at 10:48 PM, the launch of Explorer I became America’s official entry into the Space Race.
Although Sputnik I and II were first into space, American’s deserve to have pride in Explorer I for going one step beyond just reaching space by performing some science while it was up there.