What was the point of the Explorer 1 launch in 1958?
The Explorer 1 was developed and launched in response to the Soviet Union’s Sputnik, which had been launched in 1957. Explorer 1 was launched to prove that the U. S. could successfully send a satellite into orbit. It also studied cosmic rays. The U. S. was involved in the cold war with the Soviet Union. We were afraid that the Soviet Union would develop space based weapons to use against the U. S. The Explorer 1 was one of our first attempts to develop a platform for possible future weapons to counter the Soviet threat.