Martin Vanguard
by Joy Cohn & Niels Jahn Knudsen
Scale 1:96 - Last update: January 18, 2005

Right click to download:
Vanguard TV-2 (68 KB) 
Vanguard SLV-4
(69 KB) 
Vanguard TV-3
(72 KB) 
Vanguard TV-4
(73 KB)
Vanguard SLV-6 (72  KB) 
Frost tank Vanguard (149 KB)
Instruction for all
(0,97 MB)
Stand for all versions (107 KB)
Stand (Wooden texture) (368 KB)


Vanguard launch

Different Vanguard rocket models
Vanguard and Juno launcher Stages of vanguard paper model


The International Geophysical Year (IGY) was an international effort to study the Earth and its environment. Scientists from 67 nations worked together in various projects from mid-1957 to the end of 1958. Both the USSR and the USA planned to launch their own satellites as part of the IGY.

The US effort, the Vanguard project, has its roots in the sounding rockets developed by Naval Research Laboratory. The Vanguard first stage was based on the Martin Viking and the second stage was based on the Aerobee sounding rocket. A solid third stage was added.

There were two main reasons for choosing the Vanguard to launch the first US satellite. First, it was based on scientific rockets which were not converted from a military missile system - and therefore more politically correct than using the Redstone, as suggested by Werner Von Braun. Second, the satellite program was not to interfere with the development of military missile programs.

The USSR used their powerful R-7 ballistic missile to launch the worlds first satellite, the Sputnik, on October 4, 1957.

The first complete Vanguard rocket - TV-3 test vehicle - was rushed into service to carry a satellite and launched on December 6, 1957. Less than one second after liftoff, the first-stage engine lost thrust because of an improper engine start. The vehicle settled back on the launching stand and exploded. This failure was a national embarrassment for USA. The payload nosecone detached in the process and landed free of the exploding rocket. The satellite was too damaged for further use; it now resides in the National Air and Space Museum.

Instead, Von Braun's Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), launched the Explorer 1 on February 1st, 1958, using the Jupiter C launcher, the Juno I.

Finally, on February 3, 1958, the Vanguard SLV-4 successfully placed the Vanguard I satellite into an elliptical Earth orbit. Of the three Vanguard-launched satellites. Vanguard I - silent since May 1964 - remains in space today as the oldest man-made satellite.
The models

At this page following vanguards are available as kits:

  • TV-2 launched 23 October 1957
  • TV-3 launched 6 December 1957
  • TV-4 launched Vanguard I - 17 March 1958
  • SLV-5 launched Vanguard II - 7 February 1959
  • SLV-6 launched 22 June 1959.

Thanks to Mark Lardas - the TV-4 is also available with frosted LOX-tanks. (Released October 26, 2008) 

Thanks to Mark Brethen for creating a version of the stand with wooden texture (Released May 9, 2011)

If you have comments for these kits contact:

Joy Cohn - 

Niels Jahn Knudsen  -



NASA: Vanguard - a history
Books and articles:

Rockets of the world by Peter Alway,

The Vanguard satellite launching vehicle. Enginering Report. April 1960