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  U.S. Navy Museum Cold War Gallery Technology for the Nuclear Age

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington D.C. pioneered the development of globe-circling satellites early in the Cold War. In 1958, a navy Vanguard rocket successfully launched an NRL satellite, and in succeeding years orbiting satellites carried out intelligence and other missions for the navy and the nation. NRL also led the way in developing the Global Positioning System (GPS).

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Vanguard Satellite & Rocket

Vanguard Satellite & Rocket

The Vanguard satellite was built by the Naval Research Laboratory and launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1958. The three-pound, six-inch-diameter satellite was sent into orbit in conjunction with the International Geopspatial Year (1957-1958). The longest orbiting man-made satellite, Vanguard is expected to remain in orbit for at least another 200 years.

click image below to see a detailed Vanguard Rocket Diagram.

Vanguard Rocket Diagram
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Educational Videos

play videoThe Navy Navigation Satellite System:  This 1967 Navy film explains the highly successful Navy Navigation Satellite System (NAVSAT), which was built during the 1960's, and operated through 1996. It includes a detailed explanation of the computing equipment used to operate the system in the 1960's. Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section, UMO-40.
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