Rare vintage model of an exact scale Vanguard 1 solar-powered model, used by NASA as part of an outreach program during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The aluminum sphere measures 6.25″ in diameter and features five solar cells and includes six attachable 12″ antennas. The model measures approximately 21″ tall and extends to nearly 33″ in height with inserted antenna. The pole at the base of the sphere can be inserted into a fully functional 12 x 3 x 7 mechanical presentation box, which when plugged in will spin the satellite in impressive fashion. Also included is a circular presentation light with working 75-watt bulb and a small support base. The Vanguard comes with its original wooden 22 x 9 x 12.5 storage box. In very good to fine condition, with expected wear from use and storage. The fourth artificial Earth orbital satellite launched—following Sputnik 1 and 2 and Explorer 1—the miniature Vanguard was the first solar-powered satellite and was described by then-Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev as 'the grapefruit satellite.' As part of Project Vanguard, the satellite was designed to test the launch capabilities of a three-stage launch vehicle, the effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit, and to obtain geodetic measurements through orbit analysis. Although communication with it was lost in 1964, the Vanguard remains the oldest manmade satellite still in orbit. An immensely appealing educational model relating to the exciting early days of space travel.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.