Sputnik/Explorer I: The Race to Conquer Space

Sputnik/Explorer I: The Race to Conquer Space

by Samuel Willard Crompton


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Sputnik/Explorer I: The Race to Conquer Space by Samuel Willard Crompton

The cold war served as the backdrop for the competition to find out which superpower-the United States or the Soviet Union-could reach outer space first. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I. Weighing 183 pounds (83 kg), Sputnik I was the size of a basketball, much larger than the United States' 3.5-pound (1.6-kg) Vanguard TV-3. The Soviets' success caught many Americans off guard, and the U.S. Department of Defense redoubled its efforts by approving funding for an alternative satellite project known as Explorer. However, before either U.S. satellite was ready, the Soviets launched Sputnik II, which carried the first living animal-a dog named Laika-into orbit on November 3. Despite the failure of Vanguard TV-3, which exploded on the launchpad on December 6, the United States persevered. On January 31, 1958, Explorer I became the first U.S. satellite to orbit Earth, and the space race had officially begun.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791093573
Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/28/2007
Series: Milestones in American History Series
Pages: 112
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

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