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Vanguard II


US Navy

Launch Status


Vanguard II

  • Type: Earth Science
  • Orbit: Medium Earth Orbit

Vanguard II is an Earth orbiting satellite and the first weather satellite. It was designed to measure cloud-cover distribution over the daylight portion of its orbit for a period of 19 days and to provide information on the density of the atmosphere.


Launch Complex 18A

Cape Canaveral, FL, USA

Launch Complex 18A has witnessed the launch of 18 rockets, including 11 orbital launch attempts, while Cape Canaveral, FL, USA, has been the site for 931 rocket launches.

Launch Complex 18A


Lockheed Martin Vanguard

The Vanguard rocket was intended to be the first launch vehicle the United States would use to place a satellite into orbit. Instead, the Sputnik crisis caused by the surprise launch of Sputnik 1 led the U.S., after the failure of Vanguard TV3, to quickly orbit the Explorer 1 satellite using a Juno I rocket, making Vanguard I the second successful U.S. orbital launch.


US Navy

The Navy was competed with the Army to put the first American satellite into orbit. Their first two Vanguard missions failed, with the second being a highly publicized failure, as it exploded on the launchpad. They went on to put 3 satellites into orbit but did not beat the Army to be the first. Their work in space continues today largely on military satellites.

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