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Vanguard 3 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 full-scale replica of the Vanguard Magnetometer satellite, designated SLV-5 or Vanguard 3a. It was designed to study the Earth's magnetic field. The magnetometer sensor was at the end of the cylindrical boom to avoid interference from the other instruments. The satellite was launched on April 13, 1959 but failed to go into orbit due to loss of control during first stage separation. This replica was manufactured at the Naval Research Laboratory from original components. It was refurbished at the Goddard Space Flight Center prior to its transfer to NASM from NASA in March 1975. It was displayed in the Satellites Gallery (1976-1984).

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


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

Credit Line

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Metallic shell, phenolic mast


  • Overall: 2 ft. 6 in. tall x 1 ft. 1 in. wide, 25 lb. (76.2 x 33.02cm, 11.3kg)
  • Other (antennae): 2 ft. long (60.96cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number