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Explorer I Anniversary #254920

CBS Evening News for Tuesday, Jan 31, 1978
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(Cape Canaveral, Florida) Background of American's entry into space exploration with Jupiter rocket launch of Explorer I on January 31, 1958, given. USSR 's earlier launch of Sputnik satellites and United States failure with joint civilian-Navy Vangauard project noted. Films, newspaper clippings and photos shown. Attitude of Eisenhower administration toward development of Explorer I by Army and West German technicians described. Among those involved were General Bruce Medaris, Wernher Von Braun and Kurt Debus. Rocket used was Army Redstone war rocket. NASA's takeover of space program, Medaris' resignation, and interview with retired general Medaris, now Episcopal priest, at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama by reporter Ed Rabel, noted. [MEDARIS - cites much opposition to development of heavier launching craft and attitude of failure surrounding Explorer satellite from scientific community.] Background of Explorer launch director Kurt Debus, since that launch, given; interview noted. [DEBUS - considers that United States passed USSR in space exploration in making circumnavigation of moon before Christmas, 1968, in flight with Frank Borman as commander] Film of moon flight, Christmas Eve, 1968, shown. [DEBUS - says USSR not really technologically superior at time of Sputnik and Explorer; cites reasons it's fortunate it appeared so at time.] Respective numbers of US, USSR and other satellites now in space listed. [DEBUS - thinks in 20 more years, there will be manned explorations of planets, for example Mars, and perhaps small colony on moon, and will have started collection of solar energy from orbital stations.] [MEDARIS - says there's been failure to persuade people of practical importance of space development] Other films and animation shown. Explorer's discovery of Van Allen belts around earth noted.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite

Cronkite, Walter

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