n MNASSA : Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of South Africa - Moonwatch in South Africa : 1957-1958 : satellite tracking




This posthumous publication of an article by Jan Hers (see obituary in Vol. 69 nos 9 & 10) recounts South Africa's involvement in what can be called the beginning of the Space Age. The launch of Sputnik 1 on 4 October, 1957, during the International Geophysics Year (IGY) caught most of the world by surprise, primarily because the United States was planning to put about six satellites into orbit during IGY. Africa was the first land mass crossed after a rocket was launched from the US and this was the motivation for South Africa's involvement. Jan Hers' detailed memories of these times makes for interesting reading.


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