Vanguard II and Vanguard III Satellites

Greenbelt, MD

Two satellites, Vanguard II and Vanguard III, are associated with the United States Naval Research Laboratory (NPL) Project Vanguard. The satellites are the first earth-orbiting satellites designed to measure meteorological phenomena during the daylight portion of orbit. Each satellite collected crucial data about the size and shape of earth, air density, temperature, and micrometeorite impact. The collection and interpretation of such data enabled NPL, and later the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 1, to lay the foundations of the United State’s space program.

Our conservators worked with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to complete a conditions assessment and provide treatments of both the Vanguard II and Vanguard III. EverGreene carried out an on-site assessment of the objects in late January of 2019 at the GSFC to document the current conditions of each satellite, review the current mounting system, and evaluate options for the planned treatment. The satellites were then removed from the exhibit and stored at a secondary facility on the Goddard Space Flight Campus. The satellites were housed here until NASA GSFC Archives staff transported them to the EverGreene Maryland studio in March 2019.