It was the first U.S launch on December 6, 1957 (53 years ago) and one that merely made it 4 feet off the ground. We are fortunate that the Vanguard TV3 was the first to attempt flight which later paved the way for how we view TV and other transmissions via satellite.

Vanguard TV3

Source: Wikipedia

The launch of the Vanguard TV3 was only to test flight using a 3 stage rocket. The booster ignited and began to rise but about 2 seconds after liftoff, after rising about four feet; the rocket lost power and fell back to the launch pad when the fuel tanks ruptured and exploded, destroying the rocket and severely damaging the launch pad.

The payload was a 1.36 kg aluminum sphere 152 mm in diameter, nearly identical to the later Vanguard 1. It contained a mercury battery powered, 10 mW, 108 MHz transmitter and a 5 mW, 108.03 MHz transmitter powered by six solar cells mounted on the body of the satellite. Six short aerials protruded from the sphere. Source Wikipedia.

The big newspapers had a field day in headlines. There were numerous plays on the Russian Sputnik, such as “Flopnik,”, “Kaputnik,” “Oopsnik,” and “Stayputnik.”

Actual video

Today, many homes and automobiles are equipped to receive satellite transmissions to watch TV, listen to music, news and GPS.