Every Collection has a Story. The Archives holds records that document the Smithsonian’s people, events, buildings, and research. The history of the Smithsonian is a vital part of the history of American experience, scientific exploration, and international cultural understanding.

Baker-Nunn Camera

October 17, 1957

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is able to record the first United States photograph of the Soviet satellite Sputnik, using a Baker Nunn camera.  By mid-1958, the Observatory had its Satellite Tracking Program fully operational.

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