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T-AGM-19 / T-AG-194 Vanguard

The USNS AGM-19 Vanguard and AGM-20 RedstoneApollo instrumentation ship performed tracking, telemetry, and communication functions for the Apollo lunar landing missions in the early years of the space age. During the spacecraft launch phase and Earth orbit insertion, these ships filled the gaps beyond the range of land tracking stations. After the Apollow era, the antennas and associated communications gear were stripped from the ship, and equipment for testing different modes of submarine navigation installed. Without the antennas, the ship lost its visual character, but nevertheless retained its importance in the furthering of science and national defense. The USNS Redstone was deactivated on 06 August 1993.

USNS Vanguard was reclassified as a navigational test launch ship [T-AG-194] in September 1980, which perform assorted tests related to research on various missile navigational systems. In May 1997, equipment was installed to enable the ship to serve as a range instrumentation ship in support of the fleet ballistic missile program, and is under the operational control of Director, Strategic Systems Program. USNS Vanguard (TAG 194) is one of 30 special missions ships operated by Military Sealift Command providing operating platforms and services for unique US military and federal government missions. Special missions ships work for several different U.S. Navy customers, such as the Naval Sea Systems Command, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and the Oceanographer of the Navy. USNS Vanguard supports sponsor programs in navigation research by providing a platform for testing fleet ballistic missile guidance and missile systems.

On 13 December 1999 USNS Vanguard was stricken, to be disposed of by transfer to government agencies, activities, foreign countries (not SAP), MARAD, Sea Scouts, etc.

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