The Space Age began 60 years ago with the launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union and the launch of Explorer I by the U.S. This talk will describe some of the political history of the early space programs and will focus especially on the findings of the Explorer space mission that was launched on 31 January 1958. How was the first great scientific discovery of the Space Age – namely that Earth is shrouded in intense radiation belts—made and what were some of the repercussions? This talk will describe a portion of this rather remarkable historical set of events on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Explorer launch.
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