A Letter From The Publisher: Dec. 6, 1968

THE first satellite launching I ever covered," says TIME'S Houston Bureau Chief Don Neff, "seemed to me the most thrilling thing I had ever seen." That was in 1959, and Neff has been searching for more expansive superlatives ever since. He has watched other space shots, and as each one traveled farther or stayed in orbit longer, Neff was more and more impressed by the skill and dedication of the engineers and scientists whose work he reported. He was on hand at California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory when word was passed that Mariner 4 had...

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