The scientific tourist #5 — our first Explorer

This week’s “sciencey” tourism picture is of a model of Explorer I, at the New Mexico Museum of Space History, in Alamagordo.

Explorer I model

Note that later this week (Thursday, to be exact) sees the 50th anniversary of the launch of Explorer I — the U.S.’ first successful satellite. As I discussed a bit back in the podcast episode on Sputnik, Explorer I was (at least on paper) a cobbled-together response to the Soviet satellite. But of course, in reality, Werner von Braun had been working on it quietly and at a low level for quite some time. So, once political approval was given for the effort, the actual hardware came together very quickly.

I’ll be discussing the satellite, its mission, and the scientific results it generated this Thursday (since that is, after all, the official anniversary). By the way, the actual scientific payload itself was in the striped portion of the satellite (the stripes helped provide thermal control), to the right. The white part of the satellite is the 4th stage of the launch vehicle. The 4 antennae you see were for communications with the ground, but played an inadvertent role in the satellite’s scientific discoveries.

But more on that Thursday…

As usual, click on the above picture to get to the Flickr version of this image — it’ll give you lots of options for resizing and otherwise manipulating the source photo.

This entry was posted in History, Sci / Tech Tourism, Space, Technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.