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50 Years Ago

Science Past from the issue of August 15, 1959

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Complex “Moon” Succeeds — Explorer VI, sent up on Aug. 7, is the most complex satellite launched by the United States. The 142-pound satellite orbits the earth from 150 miles at its lowest point to some 25,000 miles at its farthest... This highly elliptical flight path means that the satellite’s instruments will cover a larger volume of space near earth for a longer time than any previous satellite. Scientifically, probably the most interesting information to be radioed back from space ... will come from the three devices contained in the satellite to map the radiation belt ringing the earth.… From their telemetered readings scientists should be able to determine exactly how dangerous the earth’s natural radiation belts will be for future space travelers.

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