This is one of several replicas of the Vanguard 1 satellite in the NASM collection. Vanguard 1 was the second American satellite to orbit the earth on 17 March 1958. Coming six weeks after the successful launch of the Army's Explorer 1, and 5 months after the launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957, Vanguard symbolized America's failure to lead in the Cold War driven Space Race, after an initial attempt to orbit failed in December 1957. Project Vanguard, which included a series of satellites to be launched by a new multi-stage rocket, had been funded by the National Science Foundation. It was developed and managed by the Naval Research Laboratory, as part of an American contribution to the International Geophysical Year. Vanguard 1 remains in orbit, though it is now no longer operating. It is expected to stay in orbit for many more years.