NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Explorer 1 satellite being attached to its launch vehicle. Explorer 1 was the first satellite launched by the USA. It was carried into orbit on a Jupiter 3 rocket on 31st January 1958. While in orbit, it discovered the intense bands of radiation around the Earth. These are now called Van Allen belts, after Professor James Van Allen, who designed the satellite's instruments.
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