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Using documents from the collections at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, this compilation presents the course of action taken by the U.S. government in the race to launch the first satellite. Explorer I, officially known as Satellite 1958 Alpha, was America's first satellite and was launched after the Soviet Union launched the first artificial earth orbiting satellite, Sputnik I. Pre-NASA space exploration and the development of Explorer I are analyzed and this book places these processes in context of the sense of fear and anxiety that characterized the early years of the Cold War.