The facts surrounding the launch of Explorer 1 are well-known: The Soviets had beaten the U.S. into space with not just one but two satellites, the latter of which carried a dog named Laika. Sputnik 1, launched on Oct. 4, 1957, weighed 184 lb. (84 kg); Sputnik 2, launched just 30 days later, weighed 1,121 lb.  On Dec. 6, 1957, the U.S. attempted its first satellite launch using the Vanguard Test Vehicle Three. The spacecraft weighed about 3 lb. The rocket flew for 2 sec., lost thrust, ...


Register now for free access to "Catching Up To Soviets: Explorer 1 Launched U.S. Into Space Age" and other premium content selected daily by our editors. 


Current magazine subscribers: digital access to articles associated with your subscription are now included at no added charge to you. Simply use your subscriber email to log in to your account (or contact us for assistance in updating your account).
Current Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN) enterprise and individual members: please go to for access.


Already registered? here.