Vanguard Lyman Alpha 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 an instrumented full-scale replica of the Vanguard Lyman Alpha satellite, also called SLV-1. It was designed to provide data on solar radiation in the 1100-1300 Angstrom region, known as the Lyman alpha band. The satellite was launched on May 27, 1958 but failed to go into orbit due to malfunction of the launch rocket. The replica was manufactured at the Naval Research Laboratory and may have been a flight spare. It was refurbished by technicians at the Goddard Space Flight Center prior to its transfer to NASM from NASA in March 1975. It was on display at the Science Museum in London, England until 1988.

Collection Item Long Description:

Inventory Number


Credit Line

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Country of Origin

United States of America




  • Overall: 1 ft. 8 in. wide, 10 lb. (50.8cm, 4.5kg)
  • Other (antennae): 2 ft. 6 in. long (76.2cm)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

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