Pioneer 1 satellite


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Space Science exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a replica of a Pioneer satellite intended to orbit the moon. Pioneer 1 was launched on October 11, 1958, but the final velocity was insufficient to escape the earth's gravity. The resulting trajectory took the satellite to an altitude of 70,700 mi. During the flight, the spacecraft transmitted 43 hours of scientific data. It burned up upon reentry into the earth's atmosphere two days later. This replica was assembled in 1963 by the prime contractor, Space Technology Laboratories Inc (TRW) from original parts that failed to meet flight specifications. It was displayed at the Los Angeles Museum of Science until February 1964 and then donated to the Smithsonian Institution by TRW. It was displayed in the NASM Satellites gallery from 1976 to 1983, loaned to the Scottish Museum from May to December 1984, and then was part of a SI Traveling exhibition. It is now in display storage at the Hazy Center.

Collection Item Long Description:

Inventory Number


Credit Line

Gift of TRW Space Technology Laboratories

Country of Origin

United States of America


Satellite, Pioneer I, Reconstructed Replica


Shell - laminated plastic


Overall: 2 ft. 5 in. wide x 2 ft. 6 in. deep, 24 lb. (73.7 x 76.2cm, 10.9kg)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

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