Early Satellites and Space Exploration

December 31, 2008

I found these amazing photographs of my favorite early satellites in the LIFE photography archive and on the N.S.A.’s official website.  I love the design and shapes of the early satellites.

Scientists at Igy conference viewing Sputnik models - August 1958

Scientists at Igy conference viewing Sputnik models - August 1958

Smithsonian Observatory scientists Fred Whipple and J. Allen Hynek plotting orbit of Sputnik I on globe at MIT - 1957

Smithsonian Observatory scientists Fred Whipple and J. Allen Hynek plotting orbit of Sputnik I on globe at MIT - 1957

Dr. William H. Pickering, Dr. James A. van Allen, & Dr. Wernher von Braun hold a model of the Explorer I satellite which launched 4 months after Sputnik - 1958

Dr. William H. Pickering, Dr. James A. van Allen, & Dr. Wernher von Braun hold a model of the Explorer I satellite which launched 4 months after Sputnik - 1958

Oscilloscope tracking position and speed of Explorer satellite through a pattern made by interaction of signals from the satellite and standard radio signals.

Oscilloscope tracking position and speed of Explorer satellite through a pattern made by interaction of signals from the satellite and standard radio signals.

Dr. A.L. Jones, scientist at Ohio Satellite Tracking Station with analog computer which gives appropriate orbit position of space satellites - 1962

Dr. A.L. Jones, scientist at Ohio Satellite Tracking Station with analog computer which gives appropriate orbit position of space satellites - 1962

Dr. Milton W. Rosen w. John T. Mengel, Project Director J. P. Walsh, Lieut Commander J. W. Salter and Project Director John P. Hagen Scientists working on US man-made satellite.  John P. Hagen is the best with his bowtie and pipe.

Dr. Milton W. Rosen with John T. Mengel, Project Director J. P. Walsh, Lieut Commander J. W. Salter and Project Director John P. Hagen - Scientists working on US man-made satellite. John P. Hagen is the best with his bowtie and pipe.

Scientist Alexander Simkovich working on a US artificial satellite - April 1957

Scientist Alexander Simkovich working on a US artificial satellite - April 1957

Scientist Alexander Simkovich working on a US artificial satellite - April 1957

Scientist Alexander Simkovich working on a US artificial satellite - April 1957

sunlight hitting clouds over central Pacific Ocean - 1959

First image of earth from satellite, from Explorer 6: sunlight hitting clouds over central Pacific Ocean - 1959

Colonel Harold Brown (C) w. Dr. Hans Ziegler (L), John Licht (2R) and Dr. Harold Zahl (R) with US weather satellite ready for launching - 1959

Colonel Harold Brown (C) w. Dr. Hans Ziegler (L), John Licht (2R) and Dr. Harold Zahl (R) with US weather satellite ready for launching - 1959

Iowa State University professor George H. Ludwig placing a tape recorder in a model of an American satellite - May 1957

Iowa State University professor George H. Ludwig placing a tape recorder in a model of an American satellite - May 1957

Scientists with the Transit I-B navigational satellite - April 1960

Scientists with the Transit I-B navigational satellite - April 1960

Dr. William H. Pickering of the Jet Propulsion Lab standing with mock-up of Army satellite - 1957

Dr. William H. Pickering of the Jet Propulsion Lab standing with mock-up of Army satellite - 1957

Dr. Richard W. Porter, of the Natonal Academy of Sciences, at press conference talking about satellite model, Explorer II - March 1958

Dr. Richard W. Porter, of the Natonal Academy of Sciences, at press conference talking about satellite model, Explorer II - March 1958

e

Earth'S Satellite

Earth'S Satellite 1957

Scientist with Earth'S Satellite - 1957

Scientist with Earth'S Satellite - 1957

The GRAB II (Galactic Radiation And Background) satellite and the Poppy satellite models - Launched in 1960

The GRAB II (Galactic Radiation And Background) satellite and the Poppy satellite models - Launched in 1960

Poppy I

Poppy I

Poppy II

Poppy II

AT&T stockholder Mrs. Louise Bucker looking at full-size model of the Telstar experimental communications satellite - AT&T's Bell Laboratories 1960

AT&T stockholder Mrs. Louise Bucker looking at full-size model of the Telstar experimental communications satellite - AT&T's Bell Laboratories 1960

The satellites were so popular in the early 1960’s, that pop group “The Tornados” wrote a song called “Telstar”.  The rumor at the time was that the song included “space-like” sounds because a signal was sent to up the Telstar Satellite and re-recorded on earth.

"The Tornados" with "Telstar" on the cover.  "Telstar" was also the name of their hit song from this album in 1962

"The Tornados" with "Telstar" on the cover of "Ridin" the Wind". "Telstar" was also the name of their hit song from this album in 1962

You can hear the song below along with some great early space exploration images.

2 Responses to “Early Satellites and Space Exploration”

  1. Sean Thurlow said

    Really fascinating stuff…then again those were fascinating times. I can’t get over those satellite designs. Out of this world stuff!

  2. Brent said

    A fantastic collection of images. Thank you for the Telstar link. My father worked for Nasa in the early 60’s, and when I was a small boy the song Telstar was almost like a hymn to me.

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