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A new chapter in aeronautical history began in July 1950, when the first rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida: the Bumper 2.
As shown in the photograph, Bumper 2 was an ambitious 2-compartment rocket carrying a V-2 missile with a WAC Corporal rocket. The upper part was then able to reach a record altitude of 400 kilometers, even higher than what Space Shuttle flies today.
Launched under the direction of the General Electricity Company, Bumper 2 was first used to test rocket systems and to investigate the high layers of the atmosphere. It carried small loads to measure air temperature and the impacts of cosmic rays.
Seven years later, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I and Sputnik II, the first artificial satellites around Earth. In response to this, in 1958, the United States created NASA.
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