Talk:Project Vanguard

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Project Vanguard:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Copyedit : characterization of explorer as frenzied
  • Other : improve readability

Something wrong[edit]

Payload capacity jumped from 22.7 lb to 22.7 kg (50 lb) from Vanguard SLV 6 to Vanguard 3. That is an 220% diff. Is there any account of why or how Vanguard 3 became so much more powerfull in relation to his antecessor ? (talk) 11:36, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

The later Vanguards had the more powerful 3rd stage with the ABL/Hercules X-248 instead of the original Grand Central rocket motor.

Crash program[edit]

"and led to the start of a parallel crash program"

is a strange statement, especially since the actual thing crashed [exploded].

Agreed! The lead paragraph needs work! Sdsds 07:40, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

2012... —Preceding unsigned comment added by D029 (talkcontribs) 09:37, 2 March 2008 (UTC)


"The Vanguard Satellite Launch Vehicle (the term was invented for the operation SLV models, as opposed to the Test Vehicle TV versions) of the first generation."

This is not a complete English sentence. I'm not sure what idea that sentence was attempting to communicate, or I'd suggest a correction.

Troymc (talk) 00:05, 18 July 2008 (UTC)


It's my understanding that the Test Vehicle [TV-x] and Satellite Launch Vehicle [SLV-x] designations referred to the launch vehicles, not the respective satellite payloads. So statements like these are inaccurate:

  • "The initial 1.4 kg spherical Vanguard satellites (designated "Test Vehicles" prior to launch)"
  • "the Vanguard satellite TV-4."
  • "TV-4 achieved a stable orbit"

As far as I am aware, the satellites themselves had no designations prior to achieving orbit. So if the payload of TV-3 had reached orbit, it would have been named Vanguard 1.

Troymc (talk) 00:05, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I need to correct myself. Per page 169 of the above referenced pdf, The Vanguard Satellite Launching Vehicle, the satellites did have individual designations. The satellite known as Vanguard I was designated "1958 Beta Two". The satellite known as Vanguard II was designated "1959 Alpha One". And the satellite known as Vanguard III was designated "1959 Eta". Troymc (talk) 04:58, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, you make a good point. I would prefer removing the parenthetic comment in the first example you give, and for the other two edit them to read, "the Vanguard satellite launched by TV-4" and "the TV-4 payload achieved a stable orbit." (sdsds - talk) 05:38, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Do not confuse the name of the satellite and it's International Designation. NASA SP-4402 explains the latter. "1958 Beta Two" means the second satellite launched in 1958 (Beta) and the two indicates that the 3rd stage also went into orbit with it. SP-4402 states: Beginning on January 1, the international system for designating satellites and space probes for scientific purposes will be changed; as of the new year, Arabic numerals will supplant Greek letters in the satellite designation system.

Prior to January 1, satellites were named in the order of the letters of the Greek alphabet, beginning anew each year: the first satellite launched (Sputnik I) was 1957 Alpha, the first 1958 satellite (Explorer I) was 1958 Alpha, the second (Vanguard I) was 1958 Beta, and so on. The first satellite or space probe in 1963 will be 1963-1, the second will be 1963-2, etc. The numbering will also begin anew each year; for example, the fifth space vehicle in 1964 will be 1964-5.

Usually the launching of a satellite places more than one object in orbit. Sometimes two or more satellites are carried into space where they are separated and ejected into separate orbits. Moreover, the burned-out rocket casing also goes into orbit. The new system provides that the suffix A will identify the main satellite or space probe (i.e., the one carrying the principal scientific payload), and that B, C, etc., as needed, will be used first for any subsidiary scientific payloads in separate orbits, and then for inert components. Thus, under the old system the navigation satellite, Transit II-A, its piggyback companion, Greb, and the spent rocket which injected them into orbit, were called 1960 Eta 1, 1960 Eta 2, and 1960 Eta 3, respectively. If the new scheme had been in effect, they would have been called 1960-7A, 1960-7B, 1960-7C, respectively.

Disposition of TV-3[edit]

An IP editor User: (talk), recently edited the this article, to claim that the NASM holds the original TV-3 satellite, which crashed in December 1957. The information I gave in the article recently, stating it is a replica of Vanguard 1, is based on Vanguard a History, by Constance Green and Milton Lomask, NASA SP-4202, Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1970, Chapter 11. Looking at this IP editor's contribution history, I see that there was a contribution providing more information a year or two ago, since lost, suggesting this editor may have personal information. Green & Lomask indicated that TV-3 was fairly badly banged up in the explosion, which is not apparent from the photograph. Nevertheless, if anyone can document facts to the contrary, I am sure we would be happy to know it. Please bring any information here, for discussion and evaluation by other editors. Note that a first-hand memory is not considered enough by Wikipedia reliable source standards; alas. So please do not change the article's information without providing a more reputable source refuting it. I have been in communication in the past with Milton W. Rosen, the Vanguard project manager, who is an old friend (although very old: I do not know if he is even still alive), and he could possibly provide confirming information one way or the other. (Rosen told me something of the history of the Viking 12 reconstruction that is also in the museum.) Thanks, Wwheaton (talk) 03:00, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Green & Lomask wrote their book a long time ago. They reported the TV-3 satellite was stored in a cabinet drawer. The last time I was at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum it was on display. What was once upon a time an embarrassment turns into a historic object. For confirmation that the satellite was intact enough to be transmitting after the launch failure see: Stehling, Kurt R. (1961). Project Vanguard. Boston: Doubleday & Company. pp. 17–25. Stehing worked on the project.

Stehling's book is a great look at the project from the inside. Its spoof of a group meeting is classic. — DAGwyn (talk) 08:45, 8 September 2017 (UTC)

Organization w/r "Vanguard rocket" article?[edit]

It seems to me that this article and the corresponding Vanguard rocket article need to be re-organized a bit to put the project history in this and the rocket technical information in the other, with brief sections in each summarizing and cross-referencing the other. Probably Green and Lomask, NASA SP 4202, needs to be the primary reference here, and the Vanguard technical history, "The Vanguard Satellite Launching Vehicle — An Engineering Summary". B. Klawans. April 1960, 212 pages. Martin Company Engineering Report No 11022, should be primary for the rocket article. There would still need to be some overlap, and each article needs to be able to stand alone, but I think it could stand some cleaning up. Wwheaton (talk) 03:13, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Contemporary source[edit]

While looking for sources for another notice The Dessert News April 29 1958 Front page article has some detials on the failed launch of April 28 if anyone is interested. Gnangarra 09:25, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

Construction of the satellite[edit]

Some of the parts are listed in the article. One item missing is:

The radio(s) were crystal controlled radios (freq unknown) where the crystals were ground, by hand, to frequency. The technition grinding said crystals was James R. Eager (my grandfather). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:35, 21 February 2012 (UTC)


Okay wise guys - which is correct? In the intro, the article states Explorer 1 was launched on Jan 31, 1958. In the Explorer 1 section below, the launch time was listed as Feb 1. Can this be reconciled? Is it as simple as a local-time vs. UTC issue, or are we just uncertain here? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:44, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Explorer 1 was launched on January 31, 1958 at 22:48 Eastern Time (equal to February 1, 03:48 UTC) - Mark Lincoln


Von Braun has stated (in March 1958) that the Vanguard SLV was one of the most efficient in
American history, perhaps the most efficient.

I'm confused what this statement is supposed to mean. Obviously, a word is missing after "efficient" -- but which? Rocket? Rocket program? Both alternatives would be odd in 1958 with spaceflight still being very much in its infancy... --Syzygy (talk) 13:25, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

The ratio of payload weight to booster weight of the Vanguard exceeded any SLV of it's generation. - Mark Lincoln