SPACE: Voyage of the Explorer

Hear the sum of the whole matter—every art possessed by man comes from Prometheus.

—Aeschylus

A bright, waxing moon rode through the racing cumulus clouds above Florida's Cape Canaveral. At the floodlit launching pad, a gangling service structure, standing like a jeweled skyscraper, nestled against the U.S. Army's Jupiter-C rocket. A homely creature it was, its streamlined shell topped with a bucketlike piece and a long, thin, cylindrical nose. This was the Explorer, the Promethean gift that the U.S. aimed to fling against the invisible doors of space.

Only the week before, the...

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