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Vanguard Rocket

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Space Race exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a Vanguard TV-2BU rocket, the U.S.'s first rocket specifically designed to launch satellites. As part of the Vanguard program, the Vanguard TV-2BU test vehicle was prepared for launch by the Martin Company on September 3, 1957. But due to a technical problem the mission was cancelled. The next launch opportunity was on June 22, 1959. However, the TV-4BU test version of the Vanguard was launched instead and orbited Vanguard 3.

Meanwhile, on March 17, 1958, the first successful Vanguard satellite was launched as Vanguard 1 atop a Vanguard TV-3BU rocket. The TV-2BU rocket was thus never used in the program but was essentially a duplicate of the Vanguard 1 vehicle and had the same markings. This TV-2BU was donated to the Smithsonian in 1958 by the Naval Research Lab.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Manufacturer

Martin Co.

Credit Line

Naval Research Laboratory

Materials

  • Overall, aluminum with riveted magnesium sheet skin; the first and second stage integral tanks are of aluminum with riveted magnesium sheet skins; second stage tanks of stainless steel, aluminum frames and magnesium stringers and skin.
  • A19580114000A, Rigging: Steel, Paint, Cadmium Plating

Dimensions

  • Overall: 72 ft. tall × 45 in. diameter, 1800lb. (2194.6 × 114.3cm, 816.5kg)
  • 3-D (A19580114000A, Rigging): 118.4 × 19.7 × 18.4cm (46 5/8 × 7 3/4 × 7 1/4 in.)
  • Storage (A19580114000A, Rigging): 123.2 × 27.9 × 26.7cm (48 1/2 × 11 × 10 1/2 in.)

See more items in

National Air and Space Museum Collection

Country of Origin

United States of America

Date

1958

Type

CRAFT-Missiles & Rockets

Inventory Number

A19580114000