OPINION

February 2, 1958

FIRST US SATELLITE: The first American satellite, officially called «1958 A» and unofficially nicknamed the «Explorer,» was launched last Friday, January 31, from Cape Canaveral. The rocket took off amid huge flames and a deafening roar that could be heard many kilometers away. Despite the darkness, the white rocket was visible because of the flash from the explosions. Observers saw it leave the Earth with amazing speed and rapidly disappear into the sky. The satellite was also visible and its silver color was even brighter than the rocket, which was covered in a special paint to make it resistant to the changes in temperature in space. The announcement of the successful launch was made two hours afterward, once scientists had confirmed that the satellite was in orbit. The first to be informed was President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who made the following statement: «The head of the International Geophysical Year bureau J. Wallace Joyce has informed me that the United States has successfully placed a satellite in orbit… The launch was part of our country’s participation in International Geophysical Year. Information coming from the satellite will be immediately made available to the world scientific community.»