The scientific tourist #12 — Vanguard gets going

This week’s “sciencey” tourism picture is of a model of a later Vanguard satellite, on display at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamagordo:

Vanguard Cutaway

After getting off to a very late start, the first Vanguard satellite was launched 50 years ago, on the 17th of March, 1958. The first Vanguard was just 6 inches (15.2 cm) in diameter, and weighed all of 3 lbs (1.4 kg) — but at least it was the U.S.’ second artificial Earth satellite, and it’s still in orbit! Still, a number of follow-up satellites in the series were launched, culminating in the launch of Vanguard 3 about a year and a half later. Vanguard 3 was quite a bit bigger than the first in the line — it was about 50 cm in diameter, and weighed 22.7 kg. Pretty impressive progress in 18 months…

Oh, and of course, there’s a press release on the anniversary.

As usual, click on the above picture to get to the Flickr version of this image — it’ll give you lots of options for resizing and otherwise manipulating the source photo.

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