On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched their satellite, Sputnik 1, into an elliptical low Earth orbit. This took the United States completely by surprise. They had lost the “Space Race” and something needed to be done pronto!
Few months later, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was established under the aegis of United States Department of Defense.
The main directive of ARPA was to expand the frontiers of technology and science, beyond immediate military requirements. With a good amount of funding and a sleuth of brains, the agency took on the tasks assigned to it with gusto.
To facilitate communication between computers and amongst researchers, computer scientist J. C. R. Licklider, proposed creating a network.
The ARPANET was set up sometime in 1969. The first message was sent on 29th October of the same year by Charley Kline, a student at University of California, Los Angeles. The five character message, “login”, was transmitted from the UCLA SDS Signam 7 Host computer to Stanford Research Institute’s SDS 940 Host computer.
And so the Internet was born. Incidentally, the first email was also sent over the ARPANET. The modern email system was invented by Ray Tomlinson who used the network to send a message from one computer to another.
Competition is a always hotbed for innovation, right?