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NGA in History - Defining Moments

Explorer Program

Just before midnight on Jan. 31, 1958, the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency successfully launched Explorer I – the U.S.’s first spacecraft. Since the first mission, more than 70 U.S. and cooperative international scientific space missions have been part of the Explorer program – including 1959’s Explorer VI, which snapped the first photo of Earth from a satellite and paved the way for spaceborne imagery intelligence. Today, NGA leverages both classified and commercial satellite imagery to provide GEOINT products  to warfighters, policymakers and first responders.

Associated Document(s)