Project Vanguard Satellite (1958)
About the Design
In 1955, the United States began to plan for the upcoming International Geophysical Year (1957-1958) by preparing to launch what it believed would be the world's first artificial satellite. Dubbed "Project Vanguard" and developed under the auspices of the U.S. Navy, the Vanguard satellite was a grapefruit-sized sphere packed with simple scientific instruments designed to transmit basic data about low orbit conditions back to Earth. Unfortunately, Russia's surprise launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, took bragging rights away from the United States, a situation made doubly dire by the televised failure of the first Vanguard launch on December 6 of that same year. Vanguard finally did make it into orbit on March 17, 1958 -- but only after the U.S. Army's successful launch of Explorer 1 the previous February.
About the Kit
This simple but dramatic "See-Thru" model of the Vanguard satellite was based on early designs. (The actual Vanguard had solar cells on its exterior.) Like many space models of the period, it was designed to have an "educational" purpose, thus the decals that identified each of the satellite's instruments.
Released by Hawk Models in 1958, the the kit was re-released with its original box art in 1966, then again by the reconstituted Hawk Models company in 2014.
This model was built from the 1966 re-issue.