concerned veterans for america

The Civil Service Rocket

Today in 1958, the year I graduated from high school, the US launched its first successful satellite, Explorer I. It was launched from Cape Canaveral. We’d been beaten into space by the Soviets who put their Sputnik satellite up ahead of us. Our space program initially planned to use the Navy’s Vanguard rocket as the vehicle to launch our satellite, but the rocket wasn’t up to the job. The space program moved to the Army’s Jupiter C which was successful. The poor folks on the Vanguard program caught a lot of flack from everyone. First their rocket was “renamed” the Rearguard. Finally, someone called it the “civil service rocket” because it won’t work and you can’t fire it. My apologies to my friends in civil service.

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Further reading

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