Prepare for your new weekly dose of history, as WDD recaps significant events that took place in the tech and engineering space.
On February 17, 1959, the United States launched Vanguard II, the first weather satellite that was designed to measure cloud-cover distribution over the daylight portion of its orbit (19 days), as well as transmit information on upper atmospheric densities (as a function of altitude, latitude, season, and solar activity) for a whopping three centuries.
The launch, which was part of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NVR)’s Project Vanguard, marked an important milestone for the US, which, at the time, was embroiled in the space race with the Soviet Union.
The 24 pound-Vanguard II consists of two optical telescopes with two photocells. Its 20 inch diameter-sphere is internally gold-plated and externally coated in an aluminum deposit. Radio communication is provided by a 1 W, 108.03 MHz telemetry transmitter and a 10 mW, 108 MHz beacon transmitter.
Fortunately, as of this month, the Vanguard II is still in orbit.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense