Flopnik: The Vanguard TV-3 Disaster

Ask an Expert Live

December 27, 2017 | 12:30pm
Presented Online

On December 6,1957, two months after the Soviet Sputnik, the United States made its first satellite launch attempt. Vanguard Test Vehicle-3 (TV-3) exploded spectacularly when its main rocket engine failed during liftoff. Join us on Facebook Live as space history curator Michael Neufeld talks about the malfunction that occurred immediately after ignition, and the TV-3 satellite, which fell on the scrubland next to the launch pad. The damaged satellite is now on display in our Space Race gallery.

Planning to attend in-person? Meet in the Space Race gallery.


Every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. we will go live on the National Air and Space Museum Facebook page with an Ask an Expert talk. We’ll select a different aviation or space topic each week, and a Museum staff member will discuss the history, stories, or personalities related to a specific artifact or exhibition in the Museum. Tune in on Facebook Live each week to join the talk and ask our experts questions.