Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Vanguard 1

It was 51 years ago that Project Vanguard got its first satellite into orbit. As Erika Lishock and I documented in our book The First Space Race, the popular image of the program as a failure is undeserved. Yes, it went over budget - WAY over budget. But it made major scientific discoveries plus lasting contributions to launch vehicle technology.

Twinkle, twinkle, little sphere
Beyond the reach of eye or ear
Still above the world you fly
Oldest diamond in the sky...

OK, it's not Robert Frost, but it's heartfelt. Congratulations to Project Vanguard.

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