In the early 1950s, the American Rocket Society set up an ad hoc Committee on Space Flight, of which Rosen became the chair. Encouraged by conversations between Richard W. Porter of General Electric and Alan T. Waterman, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Rosen on November 27, 1954 completed a report describing the potential value of launching an earth satellite. The report was submitted to the NSF early in 1955.
When the US decided to orbit a scientific satellite during the International Geophysical Year (IGY), a 1955 proposal from NRL, to build a launch vehicle based on the Viking as a first stage with a second stage based on the smaller Aerobee sounding rocket was selected, and again Rosen was project manager. The maturity of the Viking and Aerobee rockets played an important role in the choice. However there was also a strong hidden motive higher in the US government: to establish a precedent for overflight rights to East Bloc territory with a non-military civilian research rocket, in preparation for the highly secret national reconnaissance satellite program then underway. This classified NRL proposal was the genesis of Project Vanguard.
Unfortunately for the timely success of the satellite project, many of the most experienced people at Martin were shifted to the high-priority Titan ICBM program, and the mature Viking team was largely lost to Project Vanguard. The resulting shock to US pride and perceptions of national security, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial earth satellite, on October 4, 1957 (on the much larger R-7 rocket, developed as an ICBM), combined with the spectacular launch failure of the first complete Vanguard test launch December 6, 1957, is well known and recounted elsewhere. Thus the first US satellite, Explorer 1, was launched January 31, 1958 by a substantially larger Army Jupiter-C rocket, based on the Redstone missile, which had been developed by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) at Huntsville, AL under the leadership of Werner von Braun. The first successful Vanguard satellite launching came on March 17, 1958. Its payload, Vanguard 1, is the oldest satellite currently in orbit.
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Other articles related to "project vanguard, vanguard":
... Test vehicle launches The first Vanguard flight, a successful suborbital test of the TV-0 single-stage vehicle, was launched on December 8, 1956 ... Vanguard TV-2, another suborbital test, was launched October 23, 1957 ... The Vanguard rocket launched three satellites out of eleven launch attempts Vanguard TV3 - December 6, 1957 - Failed to orbit 1.36 kg (3 lb) satellite Vanguard TV3 Backup - February 5, 1958 - Failed to ...
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