Pioneer 1 satellite

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

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.