January 31, 1958

1958: The first orbital American satellite, Explorer 1, is launched atop the first Juno booster from LC-26A at the Cape Canaveral Missile Test Center of the Atlantic Missile Range (AMR), in Florida. It carries an experiment devised by James A. Van Allen that, when completed, reveals the radiation belt around the earth. It transmitted data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970. (William Hayward Pickering, James Van Allen, and Wernher von Braun display a full-scale model of Explorer 1)