Vanguard (20in Cloud cover #1)


Spacecraft n: 24

USA satellite n: 19

Launch data:

Designation F00041 / 58F16
Launch date 26 Sep 1958 - 15:38 UT
Launch site CC, LC18A
Launch vehicle  Vanguard SLV-3
Mission Cloud cover satellite
Perigee / Apogee  km
Inclination °
Period  min

Launch Failure.
The second stage produced low thrust only, and not enough to provide the required velocity. The third stage fired, and the satellite made slightly less than one orbit of the Earth.

Spacecraft data:

Prime contractor  
Mass at launch   kg
Dry Mass  kg
Basic shape  Magnesium sphere
Dimension  50,8 cm dia
Solar array  
Stabilization  spin stabilized at 50 rpm
DC power  
Decay  26 Sep 1958

Mission details:

Vanguard SLV-3 and Vanguard 2 were earth-orbiting satellites designed to measure cloud-cover distribution over the daylight portion of its orbit. The spacecraft was a magnesium sphere 50.8 cm in diameter. It contained two optical telescopes with two photocells. The sphere was internally gold-plated and externally covered with an aluminum deposit coated with silicon oxide of sufficient thickness to provide thermal control for the instrumentation. Radio communication was provided by a 1 W, 108.03 MHz telemetry transmitter and a 10 mW, 108 MHz beacon transmitter that sent a continuous signal for tracking purposes. A command receiver was used to activate a tape recorder that relayed telescope experiment data to the telemetry transmitter. Both transmitters functioned normally for 19 days. The satellite was spin stabilized at 50 rpm, but telemetry data were poor because of an unsatisfactory orientation of the spin axis. The power supply for the instrumentation was provided by mercury batteries. 

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