Sputnik schmutnik - Explorer 1 discovered something: 50th anniversary of Americas first trip to space
Garrard says that, while Sputnik was more of a publicity launch with a few radio transmitters, Explorer 1, equipped with more instrumentation, led to the discovery of Van Allen Belts, intense bands of radiation. The belts, if unavoided, were found to damage satellites and other spacecraft. The find was considered one of the most outstanding of the International Geophysical Year.
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