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Across the Universe: Stories of the Belt — 2 Comments

  1. Hah! It seems that you and I are almost the same age. I was also just 5 years old when Explorer 1 went into orbit. In fact, it is the very first “news” memory I have. (I have no memory of Sputnik 1.) I can still recall the headline and front page of The Arizona Republic with the story and a picture of the launch. A few days later, my whole family stepped out into the back yard to watch the satellite pass overhead (the newspaper had told us exactly when and where to look).

    In a way, space remained part of my life ever after. My father worked for Motorola, and helped to build the Saturn 5 rocket that took the Apollo 11 astronauts to the Moon. And later on, working for the Department of the Air Force, I supervised the operation of an entire constellation of communications satellites (something unimaginable when Explorer 1 went up). Now retired, as an amateur astronomer I see satellites all the time, sometimes as many as 10 in a single evening. And I sometimes think back to that night in 1958, watching that tiny dot silently orbiting above.

    • I know I was taken out to see Sputnik but to be honest the first satellite I actually remember was Echo I, in 1960, which was much brighter! (For those of you too young to remember… Echo was a giant inflated ball of aluminum foil that was designed to passively reflect radio signals (microwaves) over the horizon. Simple. And it worked. (Actually the way they inflated it was quite clever… check out the wikipedia article.)

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