Vanguard 1 Anniversary

Posted by BC on February 22nd, 2008

Vanguard 1 - NASA It may be old, but it’s not forgotten.

Vanguard I is the oldest surviving artificial satellite orbiting Earth. It turns 50 on St. Paddy’s Day this year. It was launched in 1958 and was called Vanguard because it was to be the first of what was hoped to be the beginning of human activity in space, but Sputnik and Explorer beat Vanguard into orbit.

The softball-sized satellite was designed to orbit for at least 2000 years, but with conditions that were not known at the time, the orbit has deteriorated enough to give scientists thoughts for recovery. Some thoughts consist of a two-stage “catch and drop.” One robotic device will catch it, wrap it and drop it. A second will later catch it again, cover it with a thermal shield and send it on to Earth to be recovered. If Vanguard I is recovered, it will most likely be on display in a museum.

Do you think that artifacts like Vanguard I should be recovered and used as museum displays?

More Vanguard I information.

One person has commented

Marc said,

It would be great to see it in someplace like the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. (I visited that museum a few years ago when I was in DC and it was pretty amazing!)

But a key question would have to be: how much would it cost? Would it be better spent on launching new satellites / missions rather than recovering old ones? Maybe …

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