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.

Capturing, preserving, and sharing the history of the Smithsonian Institution

Explore the history of the Smithsonian Institution:

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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