February 28, 1959

1959: The USAF successfully launched the Discoverer 1 satellite from Vandenberg AFB into a polar orbit. Discoverer 1 was the first of a series of satellites which were part of the CORONA reconnaissance satellite program. It was launched on a Thor-Agena A rocket on 28 February 1959 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It was a prototype of the KH-1 satellite, but did not contain either a camera or a film capsule. It was the first satellite launched toward the South Pole in an attempt to achieve a polar orbit, but was unsuccessful.