ARMED FORCES: We Kind of Refused to Die

For months, recalls Major General John Medaris, the U.S. Army and its missilemen "were in the position of a patient that has been given a death sentence by the doctor —but we kind of refused to die." How the Army patient survived to launch the first successful U.S. satellite is a history of groans, gall—and grit.

In satellite terms, the history began on June 25, 1954 in Room 1803 of the T-3 Building in Washington's Office of Naval Research. Among the service and civilian scientists present to discuss the possibility of firing a...

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