Space Programs

The Sputnik Era

What happened in the Sputnik era of spaceflight?

After Sputnik and Explorer 1, the Soviet and American space programs continued to launch satellites. The United States’ Vanguard program was only somewhat successful, with only three successful launches of spacecraft in eleven attempts. The Explorer program was more successful; a total of sixty-five Explorer spacecraft were launched between 1958 and 1984, which provided detailed pictures of Earth as viewed from space, as well as a great deal of data on a range of space phenomena, including solar wind, magnetic fields, and ultraviolet radiation. Meanwhile, the Sputnik program continued with four more launches between 1957 and 1960.


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