|Vanguard - Vanguard - COSPAR 1958-Beta|
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Launch vehicle developed by Navy to launch America's first satellite as part of the International Geophysical Year. Von Braun's Jupiter-C launched first US satellite after Vanguard launch failure. Upper stages led to Able upper stage for Thor/Atlas.
Launches: 11. Failures: 8. Success Rate: 27.27% pct. First Launch Date: 06 December 1957. Last Launch Date: 18 September 1959. LEO Payload: 9 kg. to: 200 km Orbit. Liftoff Thrust: 12,630 kgf. Total Mass: 10,050 kg. Core Diameter: 1.1 m. Total Length: 23.0 m. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 5.66 million. in 1985 unit dollars.
Dr. Alan T. Waterman of the National Science Foundation presented President Dwight Eisenhower with a plan to implement the United States' portion of the International Geophysical Year satellite experiment.
President Eisenhower endorsed the IGY proposal for the launching of small earth-circling satellites.
Ad Hoc Committee on Special Capabilities rejects Army/Von Brauns's Project Orbiter (Redstone) and USAF Atlas proposals; selects Navy/Vanguard for first US satellite.
The Department of Defense's Stewart Committee reviewed the alternatives for an IGY satellite program: wait for the development of an Atlas launcher, use a modified Redstone, or develop a rocket derived from the Viking missile. The committee voted seven to two in favor of abandoning Project Orbiter (Redstone) and developing Vanguard (Viking derivative with and Aerobee-Hi upper stage). Secretary Donald Quarles ruled with the committee majority in the Department of Defense Policy Committee, which approved the decision. The Department of Defense wrote a letter to the Department of Navy authorizing the Navy Research Laboratory to proceed with the Vanguard proposal. The responsibility for carrying out the program was placed with the Office of Naval Research. Objectives of Project Vanguard were: to develop and procure a satellite-launching vehicle; to place at least one satellite in orbit around the earth during IGY; to accomplish one scientific experiment; and to track flight to demonstrate the satellite actually attained orbit.
Prime contract for Project Vanguard awarded the Martin Co.
U.S.-IGY scientific satellite equipment, including a radio transmitter and instruments for measuring temperature, pressure, cosmic rays, and meteoric dust encounters, was tested above earth for the first time, as a rocket containing this equipment was fired by the Navy to a 126-mile altitude.
Credit: NASA. 8,929 bytes. 114 x 340 pixels.
Project Vanguard world-wide tracking system (minitrack) became operational.
President Eisenhower in a White House press release congratulated the Soviet scientists on SPUTNIK I. He gave a brief history of the development of the U.S.-IGY satellite program and pointed to the separation of Project Vanguard from work on ballistic missiles.
IGY Vanguard prototype (TV-2) with simulated second and third stage successfully met test objectives, by reaching 109-mile altitude and 4,250 mph.
First US orbital attempt. IGY Vanguard (TV-3), the first with three live stages, failed to launch a test satellite.
Credit: © Mark Wade. 418 bytes. 20 x 248 pixels.
Transmitted pear-shaped earth data. Life expectancy of perhaps a 1,000 years.
|Vanguard explodes - The explosion of Vanguard in America's first launch attempt|
Credit: NASA. 20,734 bytes. 187 x 350 pixels.
Operated for 18 days; satellite wobble degraded data.
Radiation, micrometeoroid data. Third stage failed to separate from payload. Partial Failure.
VANGUARD I still in orbit and transmitting on its second anniversary after traveling 131,318,211 miles. NASA reported that VANGUARD I orbit was being altered by solar pressure.
Vanguard I completed third year in orbit and was still transmitting. Vanguard I provided much useful data on orbits, including the slight pear-shape of the Earth and the effect of solar pressure. Vanguard also provided the second stage for the Able, Delta, and Able-Star, as well as the third stage of Scout, pioneering solid-propellant stages used in Polaris and Minuteman.