The International Geophysical Year opened the door for American scientists to launch Earth-orbiting satellites with the goal of exploring solar and geophysical phenomenon. But deciding which branch of the American military would launch said satellite was a whole other issue, and the decision might have played a part on America being the second nation to launch a satellite.
There's a longer version of this fascinating story over on my blog.
And of course there's loads more spaceflight history on Vintage Space as well!
This history also features in my book, Breaking the Chains of Gravity, is available now in the UK and January 12 in the US, Canada, Australia, and India (I think!). You can (pre)order your copy on Amazon.
I'm also selling signed hardcover editions of my book on my website! Get your copy here.
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