You may not have NASA’s Eyes installed. Please press Download to download Eyes and then choose Launch to launch your experience.

The three men responsible for the success of Explorer 1, America's first Earth satellite which was launched January 31, 1958. At left is Dr. William H. Pickering, former director of JPL, which built and operated the satellite. Dr. James A. van Allen, center, of the State University of Iowa, designed and built the instrument on Explorer that discovered the radiation belts which circle the Earth. At right is Dr. Wernher von Braun, leader of the Army's Redstone Arsenal team which built the first stage Redstone rocket that launched Explorer 1.

Explorer 1 became the first successfully launched satellite by the United States when it was sent to space on January 31, 1958. A quick response to the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik 1, Explorer 1's success marked the beginning of the U.S. Space Age.

Now you can watch the entire mission in real-time using Eyes on the Solar System, from 1958 until the spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere in 1970.

Click here, then click "Launch" to see Explorer 1 orbiting Earth in 1958!