The Explorer 1 satellite launches in 1958
Artist’s illustration of the Space Launch System rocket at launch
On Jan. 31, 1958, the Explorer 1 satellite launched successfully into space on a Jupiter C rocket, marking the beginning of U.S. space exploration. Set for a test launch in 2018, the SLS is an advanced, heavy-lift rocket that will provide an entirely new capability for science and human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit. Credits: NASA

The Explorer 1 satellite was launched on a Jupiter-C rocket. With the Explorer 1 satellite, the rocket and payload were just over 71 feet tall.

Today, NASA is working to build the world’s most powerful rocket! The Space Launch System will be over 360 feet tall!

Learn more about Explorer 1 and Jupiter-C.

Explore the history of rocketry through the ages.

Bring the excitement of rockets to the classroom with this educator guide.

Use lesson plans and resources to learn about the Space Launch System.