Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tonight's Sky for September 18: Final Vanguard Launch (1959)

In this date in 1959, the United States launched the final rocket of its Vanguard program, which was the forerunner to NASA's project Mercury. NASA having yet to be created at the time Vanguard began, this first rocket program was actually run by the United States Navy with Department of Defense supervision. The funding came by way of the National Science Foundation and the majority of the work was done from the Naval Research Laboratory. Despite the spectacular failure of Vanguard TV3 in December, 1957, the program went on to success and eventually placed 3 satellites in orbit.

Q: What is the oldest man-made satellite still in orbit?
A: Vanguard 1, launched March 17, 1958 (America's first satellite, third overall)

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