On this day in Alabama history: Huntsville-made rocket put first U.S. satellite in space

On this day in Alabama history: Huntsville-made rocket put first U.S. satellite in space
The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville was activated on July 1, 1960, as 4,670 Army civil servants became NASA personnel, and the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency transferred 1,840 acres of arsenal land along with buildings, space projects and equipment. President Dwight David Eisenhower came to Huntsville to dedicate the center on September 8, 1960. This photo shows Dr. Wernher von Braun, Marshall’s first center director, viewing a model of the Saturn IB as he and Eisenhower toured the Marshall Center. Eisenhower named the center in honor of General George C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff during World War II, Secretary of State, and Nobel Prize Winner for his world-renowned "Marshall Plan. (NASA)

 

January 31, 1958

A modified version of the Huntsville-made Jupiter C rocket named Juno I propelled the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, into orbit. A member of the Redstone family of rockets, the Jupiter C was developed by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) at Redstone Arsenal under the direction of Maj. Gen. John B. Medaris and Wernher von Braun. The ABMA later reconfigured the Jupiter C into the Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle, which launched the first two American-manned spaceflights, and the Saturn V rocket that propelled Apollo 11 and its astronauts to the moon.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

 

 

 

 

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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