When the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik in October 1957, the United States needed to quickly join the Space Race. Werner von Braun, head of the U.S. Space Program at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, suggested using a modified Redstone Rocket to President Eisenhower.  The resulting rocket, Juno, launched Explorer 1, America’s first satellite, into orbit on January 31st, 1958.  The satellite remained in space until 1970.

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Encyclopedia of Alabama