The actual operational satellite that was to be launched by the Vanguard launcher. The only successful one operated for 18 days; satellite wobble degraded data.
Total Mass: 10 kg.
The Special Committee for the International Polar Year (later designated the International Geophysical Year), was established.
Dr. Alan T. Waterman of the National Science Foundation presented President Dwight Eisenhower with a plan to implement the United States' portion of the International Geophysical Year satellite experiment.
President Eisenhower endorsed the IGY proposal for the launching of small earth-circling satellites.
The Department of Defense's Stewart Committee reviewed the alternatives for an IGY satellite program: wait for the development of an Atlas launcher, use a modified Redstone, or develop a rocket derived from the Viking missile. The committee voted seven to two in favor of abandoning Project Orbiter (Redstone) and developing Vanguard (Viking derivative with and Aerobee-Hi upper stage). Secretary Donald Quarles ruled with the committee majority in the Department of Defense Policy Committee, which approved the decision. The Department of Defense wrote a letter to the Department of Navy authorizing the Navy Research Laboratory to proceed with the Vanguard proposal. The responsibility for carrying out the program was placed with the Office of Naval Research. Objectives of Project Vanguard were: to develop and procure a satellite-launching vehicle; to place at least one satellite in orbit around the earth during IGY; to accomplish one scientific experiment; and to track flight to demonstrate the satellite actually attained orbit.
Operated for 18 days; satellite wobble degraded data.