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  • Vanguard Rocket Model

    An original 1950's model Vanguard rocket.
    The model is from the pioneering early days of space travel and is made from painted metal and mounted on its original base. Circa 1958.

    After WWII The Martin Company moved forward into the aerospace manufacturing business and it produced the Vanguard rocket, which was used by the emerging American space program. Vanguard was the first American rocket designed from scratch to be an orbital launch vehicle for the specific purpose of launching satellites. It was a relatively small three-stage vehicle and the first test launch took place December 8, 1956. A second test launch was conducted on May 1, 1957, but before a third Vanguard test launch could occur, the Soviet Union shocked the world with their launch of the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, on October 4, 1957. The third Vanguard test launch was then conducted about three weeks later on October 23, 1957.
    Despite Vanguard launch attempt failures on December 6, 1957 and February 5, 1958 the Vanguard program continued and success followed. The next Vanguard rocket carried the Vanguard-1 satellite into orbit on March 17, 1958. Vanguard-1 was a 3.25-pound, 6.4-inch diameter aluminum tracking satellite and remains the oldest man-made object in space, expected to orbit Earth for about 1,000 years.
    The next four attempts to launch satellites aboard Vanguard rockets failed, but the Vanguard-2 satellite was successfully launched on February 17, 1959. After two more Vanguard failures, the very last launch of a Vanguard rocket scored a success. The Vanguard-3 satellite was successfully launched on September 18, 1959. Both Vanguard-2 and Vanguard-3 were instrumented satellites weighing just over 22 pounds.
    Although retired after 14 flights, Project Vanguard remains a vital element in the genesis of the U.S. space program and Vanguard technology was successfully applied to other programs. The rocket's upper stages formed the basis for upper stage configurations employed on Atlas-Able, Thor-Able and Scout rockets. Vanguard technology even found its way into the NASA Apollo program, with a modified Vanguard upper stage forming the basis of the Atlas-Antares second stage. Atlas-Antares was used in NASA Project Fire to test proposed Apollo re-entry vehicle designs.

    Dimensions: 63 cm/24¾ inches (height)
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