Half a Century in Orbit

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (grd.holtkamp@t-online.de)
Date: Sun Mar 16 2008 - 21:43:50 UTC

  • Next message: Allen Thomson: "Re: Half a Century in Orbit"

    We have been celebrating some spaceflight anniversaries over the past few 
    months. Here's one more: On 17-MAR-1958 Vanguard I (1958-002B, #5) got 
    launched. As it was only the fourth satellite to reach orbit (and the second 
    American one) it normally ends up as a mere footnote in the history of 
    spaceflight (while its first failed launch attempt gets prominently mentioned 
    and its second failed launch attempt not mentioned at all). It nevertheless 
    was a remarkable satellite: With a mere 16 cm diameter and just 1.5 kg it did 
    have two radio transmitters one of which was powered by solar cells (a space 
    first) and kept going for a few years. And while its predecessors decayed 
    after just a few months in orbit Vanguard I and its booster (1958-002A, #16) 
    are still up there and can be observed - the first human objects to have 
    survived half a century in orbit.  
    
    Unfortunately my equipment isn't up to the job (and the weather doesn't seem 
    to be cooperating anyway) but if any of you do have powerful enough equipment 
    could you try a golden anniversary picture of Vanguard I or its booster in 
    orbit?
    
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
    
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