U.S. President Eisenhower was under pressure, from the American public, to get a satellite into orbit.
the disappointment of Vanguard
, he permitted Wernher von Braun (SEE BELOW), a former
rocket scientist, to get a satellite up by using a modified Redstone (U.S. Army) rocket called "Jupiter C".
On the first try,
von Braun team successfully orbited the first U.S. satellite, called "Explorer 1", on Jan.
Vanguard got off the ground on March 15, 1958 as the second American satellite,
was blasted into a long life orbit. Because of
its solar cells, Vanguard
sent out radio signals even after its
chemical battery went dead, continuing to transmit for years whenever its solar cells were in direct
sunlight. Over time cosmic rays slowly fried its electronics, with its radio voice long dead, it still circles
the earth with the distinction of being the oldest satellite still in orbit. Perhaps someday it will be collected
and returned to earth as a relic from the early Space Age.
In a move to counter Soviet space advances U.S.
President Eisenhower created NASA, and ARPA -
(The Advanced Research Projects Agency).
ARPA would later evolve into the WWW.