Timeline: Sputnik and Three Decades of DARPA Hegemony


Editor's note: This timeline accompanies our story Happy Birthday, Sputnik! (Thanks for the Internet). Please click through to that story for more about DARPA's past and present role in developing key technologies.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency laid the foundations for an astonishing number of today's technologies. Click through the years in the timeline below to see what was developed when, and by whom.


President Eisenhower announces a plan for the U.S. to launch a 3.6-pound satellite.


Oct. 4, 1957

A Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile launches the world's first artificial satellite, the 183-pound Sputnik I.


December 1957

A Vanguard test rocket, intended to launch the first U.S. satellite, explodes on the launch pad.


Feb. 7, 1958

In response to Sputnik, President Eisenhower establishes the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense.

March 1960

J.C.R. Licklider publishes the landmark paper, "Man-Computer Symbiosis," which anticipates by many years the development of time sharing, the Internet and other information technologies.

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