James A. Van Allen Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: August 7, 1914 in Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Died: August 9, 2006 in Iowa City, Iowa
Biography | show moreshow less
James Van Allen (1914-2006), is best known for his work in magnetospheric physics. He developed proposals for the launch of a scientific satellite as part of the research program conducted during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-1958. The idea for the IGY, in fact, emerged from a discussion in his living room in 1950. His Explorer spacecraft, launched in 1958, returned important scientific data about the radiation belts circling the Earth, named the Van Allen Belts in his honor. Van Allen chaired the group of space scientists who recommended in 1958 that the US commit itself to a manned landing on the moon within ten years. Later, however, he came to feel that unmanned spacecraft could acquire more scientific information at a lower cost.   
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