Multiwavelength Astronomy Multimedia


Project Vanguard


Between 1955 and 1959, NRL conducted the first American satellite program, named Project Vanguard. On March 17, 1958, the Vanguard I satellite was successfully launched into Earth orbit. Just 6 inches (152 mm) in diameter and weighing 3 pounds (1.4 kg), Vanguard 1 was described by then-Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev as, "The grapefruit satellite." Here NRL scientists from the Vanguard I team mount the satellite in the rocket. Vanguard 1 is the oldest artificial satellite still in space, as its predecessors, Sputnik 1, Sputnik 2, and Explorer 1, have fallen out of orbit.


  • Vanguard 1
  • Observatory (space-based)


Naval Research Laboratory



Associated Lesson

X-Ray History

This material is based upon work supported by NASA under Grant Nos. NNX09AD33G and NNX10AE80G issued through the SMD ROSES 2009 Program.

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