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Radio Beacon

NSSDCA ID: 1958-002B-01

Mission Name: Vanguard 1


A 10-mW mercury-battery-powered transmitter on the 108-MHz band used for IGY scientific satellites, and a 5-mW, 108.03-MHz transmitter powered by six solar cells were used as part of a radio phase-comparison angle-tracking system. The tracking data were used to show that the earth was pear-shaped with the stem at the North Pole. These radio signals were also used to determine the total electron content between the satellite and selected ground-receiving stations. The battery-powered transmitter provided internal package temperature for about 16 days and sent tracking signals for 20 days. The solar-cell-powered transmitter operated for more than 6 years. Signals gradually weakened and were last received at Quito, Ecuador, in May 1964.

Alternate Names

  • Vanguard1/RadioBeacon

Facts in Brief

Mass: 1 kg


  • Space Physics: Ionospheric Studies

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



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