Vanguard 1, the world’s first solar-powered satellite, launched on 17 March 1958. It was designed to test the launch capabilities of a three-stage launch vehicle and the effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit.
It was the second US satellite in orbit, following Explorer 1, and remains the oldest artificial object orbiting Earth to this day.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.