Explorer 1 became the first US satellite when it was successfully launched into orbit on February 1, 1958, by a US Army Jupiter-C rocket, modified for the flight to become the Juno-1.
A 1:6 scale model of Explorer 1 was produced by the Ideal Toy Company (ITC) in 1959, only a year after launch, and this was quite a detailed kit. It not only had an opening outer casing to show off the interior, but sat on a stand that had a handle (top picture). Turn the handle and, via what was in effect an all-plastic musical box, it ‘clicked’ out the telemetry signal the satellite sent back!
The kit became quite rare, but those who wanted to actually build the model (instead of using it as loft insulation) were saved when Glencoe Models came on the scene.
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