explorer1
 

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1957 US and the USSR Launch ICBM's
(1/31/58) On January 31, the US put its first satellite, "Explorer I," into orbit around the earth. The launch came after the Soviets had successfully launched a satellite called "Sputnik" one year earlier. For a brief period, it seemed that the Soviets had a major lead in space. This was soon translated into what became known as "the missile gap."
 
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