Fifty years ago tonight the United States “officially” entered the Space Age with the successful launch of Explorer 1. In honor of the occasion, the House Science and Technology Committee announced yesterday that Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO), chair of the committee’s space subcommittee, introduced a resolution honoring the anniversary. The resolution, H.Con.Res. 287, cosponsored by several other members of the committee, including chairman Bart Gordon and ranking Republican Ralph Hall, “celebrates the achievement” of Explorer 1 and “looks forward to the next 50 years of United States achievements in the robotic and human exploration of space.”
As it turns out, it’s not the first time in recent months that Congress has recognized Explorer 1. In October the House approved H.Con.Res. 225, a resolution marking the 50th anniversary of “the dawn of the Space Age”, as heralded by both Sputnik and Explorer 1. And, last spring, both the House and the Senate approved H.Con.Res. 76, a resolution marking the 50th anniversary of the International Geophysical Year, mentioning that the IGY “initiated the Space Age with the successful launch of the first artificial satellites, Sputnik by the former Soviet Union, and Explorer I by the United States”.