This is the General Electric X-405 rocket engine for the first stage of the Vanguard launch vehicle. Vanguard was the first U.S. rocket specifically designed to launch a satellite. The X-405 produced 27,000 pounds of thrust. The thrust chamber was gimballed to provide thrust vector control.
Oon 17 March 1958, a Vanguard rocket successfully placed Vanguard 1 into orbit, America's second satellite after Explorer 1 that was successfully launched with a modified Restone rocket on 31 January 1958. Vanguard 2 was placed into orbit on 17 February 1959 and Vanguard 3 was launched 18 September 1959. This engine was donated to the Smithsonian in 1976 by the Wright-Malta Corp.
Transferred from Wright-Malta Corporation
- Country of Origin
- United States of America
- General Electric Company
- PROPULSION-Rocket Engines
- Overall, mainly 4130 stainless steel; thrust members (vertical pipes on top of nozzle leading to thrust structure), 6061-T6 aluminum; propellant rings, copper-brazed; injector filter, 100-mesh stainless steel; injectors, stainless steel; injector gaskets, copper; helical fins, copper; inner shell of motor, nickel phosphide coated; hydrogen peroxide decomposer, stainless steel chamber; motor coolant passage surfaces and exterior of motor body, cadmium plated but later development motors, possibly this motor included, replaced the cadmium coating with nickel phosphide.
- Overall: 2ft 7in. x 5ft 10 1/2in. x 11in., 600lb. (78.74 x 179.07 x 27.94cm)