Vanguard TV3

Vanguard TV3
Vanguard tv3.gif
Vanguard TV3 satellite.
Mission typeEarth science
OperatorNaval Research Laboratory
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerNRL / Bell Laboratories
Launch mass1.36 kilograms (3.0 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch dateDecember 6, 1957, 16:44:34 (1957-12-06UTC16:44:34Z) UTC
RocketVanguard TV3
Launch siteCape Canaveral LC-18A
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeMedium Earth
Perigee654 kilometers (406 mi)
Apogee3,969 kilometers (2,466 mi)
Period134.2 minutes

Vanguard TV3, also called Vanguard Test Vehicle Three was the first attempt of the United States to launch a satellite into orbit around the Earth, after the successful Soviet launches of Sputnik 1 and 2. Vanguard TV3 was a small satellite designed to test the launch capabilities of the three-stage Vanguard and study the effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit. It was also to be used to obtain geodetic measurements through orbit analysis. Solar cells on Vanguard TV3 were manufactured by Bell Laboratories.

At its launch attempt on December 6, 1957, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the booster ignited and began to rise, but about two seconds after liftoff, after rising about four feet (1.2 m), the rocket lost thrust and fell back to the launch pad. As it settled the fuel tanks ruptured and exploded, destroying the rocket and severely damaging the launch pad. The Vanguard satellite was thrown clear and landed on the ground a short distance away with its transmitters still sending out a beacon signal. The satellite was damaged, however, and could not be reused. It is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.[1]

The exact cause of the accident was not determined with certainty, but it appeared that the fuel system malfunctioned. Other engines of the same model were modified and did not fail.

Satellite construction project

The Vanguard rocket explodes on launch.
A team of Vanguard I scientists mount a Vanguard I satellite in the rocket nosecone.

The history of the Vanguard TV3 project dates back to the International Geophysical Year (IGY). This was an enthusiastic international undertaking that united scientists globally to conduct planet-wide geophysical studies. The IGY guaranteed free exchange of information acquired through scientific observation which led to many important discoveries in the future.[2] Orbiting a satellite became one of the main goals of the IGY. As early as July 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced, through his press secretary, that the United States would launch "small, unmanned, earth-circling satellites as part of the U.S. participation in the I.G.Y." [3] On September 9, 1955, the United States Department of Defense wrote a letter to the secretary of the Navy authorizing the mission to proceed. The US Navy had been assigned the task of launching Vanguard satellites as part of the program. Project Vanguard had officially begun.[4]

Other Languages
català: Vanguard TV3
čeština: Vanguard TV3
Deutsch: Vanguard TV3
español: Vanguard TV3
français: Vanguard TV3
Bahasa Indonesia: Vanguard TV3
italiano: Vanguard TV3
latviešu: Vanguard TV3
Nederlands: Vanguard TV3
norsk nynorsk: Vanguard TV3
polski: Vanguard TV3
русский: Авангард TV3
slovenčina: Vanguard TV3
українська: Венгард TV3
Tiếng Việt: Vanguard TV3