On this day in Alabama history: First U.S. satellite orbited

On this day in Alabama history: First U.S. satellite orbited
Jupiter ‘hop’ stand (foreground center), Redstone test stand (foreground right), Saturn I C test stand (background left) at the Redstone Rocket (missile) test stand, Huntsville, 1995. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

January 31, 1958

On this day in 1958, the first United States satellite roared into orbit on the back of a rocket developed in Alabama. The Jupiter C was designed and built by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, housed in Huntsville. Led by Wernher von Braun, the team at Redstone Arsenal was funded by the military, as NASA had yet to be formed. The Jupiter rockets stayed in service for several years, and were the initial launch stage for the Mercury missions that carried the first Americans into space.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

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

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