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In 1957, America was astonished, as was the rest of the world, when it was discovered that a Russian satellite, Sputnik, had gone into outer space. People were absolutely amazed that such a device made it into outer space. Not only was the scientific community of America in awe, but so too was the American military, who were greatly concerned about Russia having the ability to put such a device in outer space.
By 1955 the US Air Force identified an urgent need for a secure launch site for long-range ballistic missile tests to targets in the Pacific Ocean and space launches into polar orbit. Camp Cooke's remote location, with a southern-facing shore, offered a unique location for such activities. In November 1956 the Secretary of Defense transferred North Camp Cooke to the Air Force. Two months later the first Air Force unit, the 6591st Support Squadron, was established at Cooke. Ground breaking for the missile base came in May 1957. The United States Air Force responded to Russian Sputnik launch in October 1957 by accelerating the development of its missile program. It transferred management responsibilities for Cooke AFB from Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) to the Strategic Air Command (SAC) on January 1, 1958. Site activation, and research and development testing of ballistic missiles remained with ARDC. Space launches were to be conducted jointly by both commands. Although the mission at Cooke was now divided between ARDC and SAC, the two commands cultivated a close relationship that was to flourish for the next 35 years.
publicly known world wide launch site (notice 4 U.S. Sites)
SATURN IB First Stage Chrysler Corp. Space Division New Orleans H-1 Engines Rocketdyne Division North American Aviation, Inc. Canoga Park, Cal. Second Stage Douglas Aircraft Co., Inc. Missile & Space Systems Div. Huntington Beach, Cal. J-2 Engine Rocketdyne Division North American Aviation, Inc. Canoga Park. Instrument Unit International Business Machines Corp. Federal Systems Division Huntsville, Ala. ST-124M Inertial Platform in the Instrument Unit Bendix Corp. Eclipse Pioneer Div. Teteboro, N.J
William R. Hicks has been named chief operating officer of the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) in Huntsville, Ala.