Fifty-seven years ago, the U.S. joined the Space Age with a little satellite ingeniously built into the fourth stage on Wernher von Braun's Jupiter-C booster (we purists don't use the later name "Juno.")
How to learn the full story?
From 1998 to 2004, I spent most of my spare time on telling the story of the Sputnik-Explorer-Vanguard competition to launch the first satellite. With help from coauthor Erika Maurer Vadnais (nee Lishock), and cooperation from space historians and living veterans of all three American programs, we wrote the first book to trace the Space Age from ancient times through the 1950s. The Foreword was the last thing the late James Van Allen ever wrote for publication. With NASA sponsoring publication through Texas A&M, we delivered a book we're still proud of - an original take on this pivotal era, with some corrections from previous histories and some new information from our interviews. It's also the first book ever to tell the story of the Navy's shoestring NOTSNIK, the world's first air-launched satellite. As we celebrate the 57th anniversary of Explorer 1, I hope you'll give it a look. Available from the publisher, Amazon, B&N, or the authors!