Recalling “Kaputnik” and the early days of the space race

Rose Lichter-Marck writing in The Daily:

On Dec. 6, 1957, Cape Canaveral was swarming with journalists. In the distance stood the 70-foot-tall Vanguard Test Vehicle 3, or TV-3, with its nib-like black nose. The cameras rolled as the countdown began. The slender rocket trembled against the blue sky as the boosters kicked in. Orange flames and gray smoke gathered at its base. It rose for two seconds — 4 feet off the ground — before white puffs emerged from its midsection, and the projectile appeared to retract back into itself. The fire billowed around the collapsing rocket as it fell away from the candy-striped support tower. Soon all was engulfed in flames, though somehow the spherical radio transmitter rolled out of the inferno undamaged.

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