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  Piece of the Vanguard 1A

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Author Topic:   Piece of the Vanguard 1A
polonious
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posted 07-17-2004 01:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for polonious   Click Here to Email polonious     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A relative of mine was an engineer who worked on the Vanguard program. He was present at the explosion of the rocket during the attempt of the US to reach space, in December, 1956 (flight Vanguard 1A). He joined other engineers in taking pieces of the rocket home as souveniers. I now have a irregular 3"x3" chunk of the blackened, somewhat warped (but extremely light) metal of the rocket with a bolt hole through it. While I am not planning on parting with it, perhaps someone could give me a hint as to if this has any value besides the sentimental and how best to display a rocket piece.

Any help is appreciated.

dtemple
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posted 07-23-2004 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Seeing a picture of your Vanguard fragment might help with offering a suggestion for a display.

polonious
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posted 10-27-2005 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for polonious   Click Here to Email polonious     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am attaching one now (after a long, long delay)

polonious
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posted 10-27-2005 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for polonious   Click Here to Email polonious     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can see the images here: www.flickr.com/photos/93441250@N00/

The metal is extremely light (I am not sure of the material). Any ideas on display or value would be appreciated.

[This message has been edited by polonious (edited October 27, 2005).]

Moonpaws
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posted 10-27-2005 08:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moonpaws   Click Here to Email Moonpaws     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmmm. Extra light material. Are you sure you didn't pick it up in Roswell?

polonious
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posted 10-28-2005 02:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for polonious   Click Here to Email polonious     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Moonpaws:
Hmmm. Extra light material. Are you sure you didn't pick it up in Roswell?

Nope, based on the specs of the Vanguard, it could be aluminum or magnesium or even stainless steel. It is possible that it is *gulp* magnesium-thorium (mildly radioactive), but I suspect that it is not, given that they Mg-thorium coating on the rocket was less than a tenth of an inch thick.

[This message has been edited by polonious (edited October 28, 2005).]

dtemple
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posted 10-28-2005 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by polonious:
You can see the images here: www.flickr.com/photos/93441250@N00/

The metal is extremely light (I am not sure of the material). Any ideas on display or value would be appreciated.

[This message has been edited by polonious (edited October 27, 2005).]


You show two photos. Do you have two pieces from Vanguard 1? As for display I suggest having the piece or pieces professionally framed and matted with a photo of the Vanguard 1 explosion.

John K. Rochester
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posted 10-28-2005 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would obtain a wood base.. and set the piece on the base with a photo of the Vanguard framed behind it.

dtemple
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posted 10-28-2005 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had wondered a time or two if anyone had kept any pieces of Vanguard 1 - now I know. Does anyone know of any fragments from the famous Juno II launch failure on July 16, 1959? This the rocket that rose about one hundred or so feet, tipped sideways, and was then destroyed by range-safety. The launch footage is on the DVD titled "Success and Failure at the Launch Pad" by Spacecraft Films.

polonious
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posted 10-30-2005 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for polonious   Click Here to Email polonious     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all of your input so far. To answer the earlier question, it is one piece in the picture, just front and back shots. Does anyone know what price I should insure it at?

As a follow-up to the material, I actually took the piece to the MIT Radiation Safety office to see if it was magnesium-thorium alloy, figuring that I should know if I am irradiating my house. After a few tests, they said that Mg-Th was very common in 50s and 60s rockets (though even a sheet of paper would stop the alpha particles that it would radiate) but that fortunately my piece was not from the Mg-Th part of the skin. I actually assume from the thickness that it might be a part of the engine or the gyro assembly, but there is no way for me to be sure.

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