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Best Spacecraft of All Time

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    1
    Lunar Orbiter 5

    Lunar Orbiter 5

    Lunar Orbiter 5, the last of the Lunar Orbiter series, was designed to take additional Apollo and Surveyor landing site photography and to take broad survey images of unphotographed parts of the Moon's far side. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data and was used to evaluate the Manned Space Flight Network tracking stations and Apollo Orbit Determination Program. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and on August 5, 1967 was injected into an elliptical near polar lunar orbit 194.5 by 6,023 kilometres (120.9 × 3,743 mi) with an inclination of 85 degrees and a period of 8 hours 30 minutes. On August 7 the perilune was lowered to 100 kilometres (62 mi), and on August 9 the orbit was lowered to a 99-by-1,499-kilometre (62 × 931 mi), 3 hour 11 minute period. The spacecraft acquired photographic data from August 6 to 18, 1967, and readout occurred until August 27, 1967. A total of 633 high resolution and 211 medium resolution frames at resolution down to 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) were acquired, bringing the cumulative photographic coverage by the five Lunar Orbiter craft to 99% of the Moon's surface. Accurate data were
    8.83
    6 votes
    2
    Vega 1

    Vega 1

    Vega 1 (along with its twin Vega 2) is a Soviet space probe part of the Vega program. The spacecraft was a development of the earlier Venera craft. They were designed by Babakin Space Center and constructed as 5VK by Lavochkin at Khimki. The craft was powered by twin large solar panels and instruments included an antenna dish, cameras, spectrometer, infrared sounder, magnetometers (MISCHA), and plasma probes. The 4,920 kg craft was launched by a Proton 8K82K rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Tyuratam, Kazakh SSR. Both Vega 1 and 2 were three-axis stabilized spacecraft. The spacecraft were equipped with a dual bumper shield for dust protection from Halley's comet. The decent module arrived at Venus on 11 June 1985, two days after being released from the Vega 1 flyby probe. The module, a 1500 kg, 240 cm diameter sphere, contained a surface lander and a balloon explorer. The flyby probe performed a gravitational assist maneuver using Venus, and continued its mission to intercept the comet. The surface lander was identical to that of Vega 2 as well as the previous five Venera missions. The objective of the probe was the study of the atmosphere and the exposed surface of the planet. The
    7.57
    7 votes
    3
    Venera 4

    Venera 4

    Venera 4 (Russian: Венера-4, Венера meaning Venus; manufacturer's designation: 1V (V-67)) was a probe in the Soviet Venera program for the exploration of Venus. Venera-4 was the first successful probe to perform in-place analysis of the environment of another planet. It was also the first probe to land on another planet. Venera 4 provided the first chemical analysis of the Venusian atmosphere, showing it to be primarily carbon dioxide with a few percent of nitrogen and below one percent of oxygen and water vapors. The station detected a weak magnetic field and no radiation field. The outer atmospheric layer contained very little hydrogen and no atomic oxygen. The probe sent the first direct measurements proving that Venus was extremely hot, that the atmosphere was far denser than expected, and that Venus had lost most of its water long ago. The main hub of Venera 4 stood 3.5 meters high, its solar panels spanned 4 meters and had an area of 2.5 m². The hub included a 2 meter long magnetometer, an ion detector, a cosmic ray detector and an ultraviolet spectrometer capable of detecting hydrogen and oxygen gases. The devices were intended to operate until entry into the Venusian
    8.50
    6 votes
    4
    Explorer 49

    Explorer 49

    Explorer 49 (also called RAE-B) was a 328 kilogram satellite launched on June 10, 1973 for longwave radio astronomy research. It had four 230-meter long X-shaped antenna elements, which made it one of the largest spacecraft ever built. This mission was the second of a pair of Radio Astronomy Explorer (RAE) satellites, Explorer 38 or RAE-A being the first. Explorer 49 was placed into lunar orbit to provide radio astronomical measurements of the planets, the sun, and the galaxy over the frequency range of 25 kHz to 13.1 MHz. Since the spacecraft's design used gravity gradient booms, the lumpy lunar gravity field made for some interesting problems for the mission scientists. Explorer 49 was launched after the termination of the Apollo program, and although it did not examine the Moon directly, it became the last American lunar mission until the launch of Clementine spacecraft in 1994.
    7.50
    6 votes
    5
    Space Shuttle Atlantis

    Space Shuttle Atlantis

    The Space Shuttle Atlantis (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-104) is a Space Shuttle orbiter in the Space Shuttle fleet belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the spaceflight and space exploration agency of the United States. Atlantis was the fourth operational (and the next-to-the-last) Space Shuttle to be constructed by the Rockwell International company in Southern California, and it was delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center in eastern Florida in April 1985. Atlantis was the only orbiter which lacked the ability to draw power from the International Space Station while docked there; it had to continue to provide its own power through fuel cells. The last mission of Atlantis was STS-135, the last flight before the Shuttle program ended. This final flight, authorized in October 2010, brought additional supplies to the International Space Station and take advantage of the processing performed for the Launch on Need mission, which would only have been flown in the event that Endeavour's STS-134 crew required rescue. Atlantis launched successfully for the final time on 8 July 2011 at 16:29 UTC, landing at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on 21
    8.60
    5 votes
    6
    TDRS-7

    TDRS-7

    TDRS-7, known before launch as TDRS-G, is an American communications satellite which is operated by NASA as part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. It was constructed by TRW as a replacement for TDRS-B, which had been lost in the Challenger accident, and was the last first-generation TDRS satellite to be launched. TDRS-7 is based on a custom satellite bus which was used for all seven first generation TDRS satellites. Whilst similar to its predecessors, it differed from them slightly in that twelve G/H band (IEEE C band) transponders which had been included on the previous satellites were omitted. It was the last communications satellite, other than amateur radio spacecraft, to be deployed by a Space Shuttle. The TDRS-G satellite was deployed from Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-70 mission in 1995. Discovery was launched from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39B at 13:41:55 GMT on 13 July 1995. TDRS-G was deployed from Discovery around six hours after launch, and was raised to geosynchronous orbit by means of an Inertial Upper Stage. The twin-stage solid-propellent Inertial Upper Stage made two burns. The first stage burn occurred around an hour after
    8.60
    5 votes
    7
    Surveyor 7

    Surveyor 7

    Surveyor 7 was the seventh and last lunar lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon. A total of 21,091 pictures were transmitted to Earth. Surveyor 7 was the fifth and final spacecraft of the Surveyor series to achieve a lunar soft landing. The objectives for this mission were to: (1) perform a lunar soft landing (in an area well removed from the maria to provide a type of terrain photography and lunar sample significantly different from those of other surveyor missions); (2) obtain postlanding TV pictures; (3) determine the relative abundances of chemical elements; (4) manipulate the lunar material; (5) obtain touchdown dynamics data; and, (6) obtain thermal and radar reflectivity data. This spacecraft was similar in design to the previous Surveyors, but it carried more scientific equipment including a television camera with polarizing filters, a surface sampler, bar magnets on two footpads, two horseshoe magnets on the surface scoop, and auxiliary mirrors. Of the auxiliary mirrors, three were used to observe areas below the spacecraft, one to provide stereoscopic views of the surface sampler area, and seven to show lunar material
    7.33
    6 votes
    8
    Intelsat I

    Intelsat I

    Intelsat I (nicknamed Early Bird for the proverb "The early bird catches the worm") was the first commercial communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit, on April 6, 1965. It was built by the Space and Communications Group of Hughes Aircraft Company (later Hughes Space and Communications Company, and now Boeing Satellite Systems) for COMSAT, which activated it on June 28. It was based on the satellite that Hughes had built for NASA to demonstrate that communications via synchronous-orbit satellite were feasible. Its booster was a Thrust Augmented Delta (Delta D). It helped provide the first live TV coverage of a spacecraft splashdown, that of Gemini 6 in December 1965. Originally slated to operate for 18 months, Early Bird was in active service for four years, being deactivated in January 1969, although it was briefly activated in June of that year to serve the Apollo 11 flight when the Atlantic Intelsat satellite failed. It was deactivated again in August 1969 and has been inactive since that time (except for a brief reactivation in 1990 to commemorate its 25th launch anniversary), although it remains in orbit. The Early Bird satellite was the first to provide
    7.17
    6 votes
    9
    Spacebus

    Spacebus

    Spacebus is a satellite bus produced at the Cannes Mandelieu Space Center in France by Thales Alenia Space. Spacebuses are typically used for geostationary communications satellites, and fifty-two have been launched since development started in the 1980s. Spacebus was originally produced by Aérospatiale and later passed to Alcatel Alenia Space. In 2006, it was sold to Thales Group as Thales Alenia Space. The first Spacebus satellite, Arabsat-1A, was launched in 1985. Since then, fifty two have been launched, with four more completed, and twelve outstanding orders. The launch of the 50th Spacebus satellite, Star One C1, occurred in November 2007. It was a Spacebus 3000B3, launched by an Ariane 5 rocket flying from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. Several variants have been built: the early Spacebus 100 and Spacebus 300; followed by the Spacebus 2000, optimised for launch on the Ariane 4 carrier rocket; and the subsequent modular Spacebus 3000 and 4000 series, designed for use with the Ariane 5 rocket. Some Spacebus satellites are built using alternatives to US ITAR-controlled components, making it one of a few Western satellites that can be launched by Chinese Long
    8.20
    5 votes
    10
    TDRS-6

    TDRS-6

    TDRS-6, known before launch as TDRS-F, is an American communications satellite which is operated by NASA as part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. It was constructed by TRW, and is based on a custom satellite bus which was used for all seven first generation TDRS satellites. TDRS-F was deployed from Space Shuttle Endeavour during the STS-54 mission in 1993. Endeavour was launched from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, at 13:59:30 GMT on 13 January 1993. TDRS-F was deployed from Endeavour around six hours after launch, and was raised to geosynchronous orbit by means of an Inertial Upper Stage. The two-stage solid-propellent Inertial Upper Stage made two burns. The first stage burn occurred shortly after deployment from Endeavour, and placed the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. At 02:26 GMT on 14 January it reached apogee, and the second stage fired, placing TDRS-F into geosynchronous orbit. At this point it received its operational designation, TDRS-6. In 1994, it was placed at a longitude 46 degrees west of the Greenwich Meridian, to serve as an on-orbit spare. In 1996, it was moved to 47° West, where it remained until 2005, when it was
    7.00
    6 votes
    11
    Lacrosse

    Lacrosse

    Lacrosse or Onyx is a series of terrestrial radar imaging reconnaissance satellites operated by the United States National Reconnaissance Office. While not officially confirmed by the NRO or anybody in the U.S. government, for a long time, there was and is widespread evidence to confirm its existence, including one NASA website. In July 2008, the NRO itself declassified the existence of their SAR satellite constellation. According to former Director of Central Intelligence Admiral Stansfield Turner, Lacrosse had its origins in 1978 when a dispute between the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Air Force as to whether a combined optical/radar reconnaissance satellite (the CIA proposal) or a radar-only one (the USAF proposal) should be developed was resolved in favor of the USAF. Lacrosse uses Synthetic Aperture Radar as its prime imaging instrument. It is able to see through cloud cover and also has some ability to penetrate soil, though there have been more powerful instruments deployed in space for this specific purpose. Early versions are believed to have used the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) to relay imagery to a ground station at White Sands, New
    8.00
    5 votes
    12
    Chandrayaan-2

    Chandrayaan-2

    Chandrayaan-2 (Sanskrit: चंद्रयान-२, lit: Moon-vehicle  pronunciation (help·info)), is a joint lunar exploration mission proposed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA) and has a projected cost of 425 crore (US$80 million). The mission, proposed to be launched in 2014 by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), includes a lunar orbiter and a lunar rover made in India as well as one lander built by Russia. According to ISRO, this mission will use and test various new technologies and conduct 'new' experiments. The wheeled rover will move on the lunar surface and will pick up soil or rock samples for on-site chemical analysis. The data will be sent to Earth through the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter. The Indian Government approved the mission in a meeting of the Union Cabinet held on 18 September 2008 chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. On November 12, 2007, representatives of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) and ISRO signed an agreement for the two agencies to work together on the Chandrayaan-2 project. ISRO will have the prime responsibility for the orbiter and rover, while Roskosmos will be responsible for the
    7.80
    5 votes
    13
    Gravity Probe B

    Gravity Probe B

    Gravity Probe B (GP-B) is a satellite-based mission which launched on 20 April 2004 on a Delta II rocket. The spaceflight phase lasted until 2005; its aim was to measure spacetime curvature near Earth, and thereby the stress–energy tensor (which is related to the distribution and the motion of matter in space) in and near Earth. This provided a test of general relativity, gravitomagnetism and related models. The principal investigator was Francis Everitt. Initial results confirmed the expected geodetic effect to an accuracy of about 1%. The expected frame-dragging effect was similar in magnitude to the current noise level (the noise being dominated by initially unmodeled effects). Work is continuing to model and account for these sources of unintended signal, thus permitting extraction of the frame-dragging signal if it exists at the expected level. By August 2008 the uncertainty in the frame-dragging signal had been reduced to 15%, and the December 2008 NASA report indicated that the geodetic effect was confirmed to better than 0.5%. In an article published in the journal Physical Review Letters in 2011, the authors reported analysis of the data from all four gyroscopes results in
    7.80
    5 votes
    14
    TDRS-3

    TDRS-3

    TDRS-3 , known before launch as TDRS-C, is an American communications satellite which is operated by NASA as part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. It was constructed by TRW, and is based on a custom satellite bus which was used for all seven first generation TDRS satellites. The TDRS-C satellite was launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-26R mission in 1988; the first Shuttle flight since the Challenger accident which had resulted in the loss of the previous TDRS satellite, TDRS-B. Discovery launched from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center at 15:37:00 GMT on 29 September 1988. TDRS-C was deployed from Discovery around six hours after launch, and was raised to geostationary orbit by means of an Inertial Upper Stage. The two-stage solid-propellent Inertial Upper Stage made two burns. The first stage burn occurred shortly after deployment from Discovery, and placed the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. At 04:30 on 30 September it reached apogee, and the second stage fired, placing TDRS-C into geosynchronous orbit. At this point it received its operational designation. Although the TDRS-2 designation had not been assigned,
    9.00
    4 votes
    15
    GALEX

    GALEX

    The Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) is an orbiting ultraviolet space telescope launched on April 28, 2003. A Pegasus rocket placed the craft into a nearly circular orbit at an altitude of 697 kilometres (433 mi) and an inclination to the Earth's equator of 29 degrees. The first observation was dedicated to the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia and images the sky in the constellation Hercules, taken on May 21, 2003. This region was selected because it had been directly overhead the shuttle at the time of its last contact with the NASA Mission Control Center. NASA cut off financial support for operations of GALEX in early February 2011 as it was ranked lower than other projects which were seeking a limited supply of funding. The mission's life-cycle cost to NASA was $150.6 million. The California Institute of Technology negotiated to transfer control of GALEX and its associated ground control equipment to the California Institute of Technology in keeping with the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act. Under this Act, excess research equipment owned by the US government can be transferred to educational institutions and non-profit organizations . In May 2012, GALEX operations
    8.75
    4 votes
    16
    Dong Fang Hong I

    Dong Fang Hong I

    Dongfanghong I (Red East 1) (simplified Chinese: 东方红一号; traditional Chinese: 東方紅一號; pinyin: Dōngfānghóng Yīhào), also known as China 1, was the People's Republic of China's first space satellite, launched successfully on April 24, 1970 (after one failed attempt on November 16, 1969) as part of the PRC's Dongfanghong space satellite program. At 173 kg (380 lb), it was heavier than the first satellites of other countries. The satellite carried a radio transmitter. It broadcast the song of the same name, Dōngfānghóng or "The East Is Red", which lasted for 26 days while in orbit. It was developed under the direction of Qian Xuesen (Tsien Hsue-shen), dean at the Chinese Academy of Space Technology. At the time, a total of five identical satellites were created. The first satellite launched successfully. The academy formulated a "Three-Satellite Plan" consisting of Dongfanghong I, re-entry satellites, and geosynchronous orbit communications satellites. Sun Jia-Dong was responsible for the Dongfanghong I technology. In 1967, Dang Hongxin chose a copper antenna membrane that resolved the difficulties of broadcasting on an ultra-short wave antenna between 100°C and −100°C. Engineers
    8.50
    4 votes
    17
    Stardust

    Stardust

    Stardust was a 300-kilogram robotic space probe launched by NASA on February 7, 1999. Its primary mission was to collect dust samples from the coma of comet Wild 2, as well as samples of cosmic dust, and return these to Earth for analysis. It was the first sample return mission of its kind. En route to Comet Wild 2, the craft also flew by and studied the asteroid 5535 Annefrank. The primary mission was successfully completed on January 15, 2006, when the sample return capsule returned to Earth. A mission extension codenamed NExT culminated in February 2011 with Stardust intercepting comet Tempel 1, a small Solar System body previously visited by Deep Impact in 2005. Stardust ceased operations in March 2011. Beginning in the 1980s, scientists began seeking a dedicated mission to study a comet. During the early 1990s, several missions to study comet Halley became the first successful missions to return close-up data. However, the US cometary mission, Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby, was canceled for budgetary reasons. In the mid-1990s, further support was given to a cheaper, Discovery-class mission that would study comet Wild 2 in 2004. Stardust was competitively selected in the fall
    8.50
    4 votes
    18
    TDRS-10

    TDRS-10

    TDRS-10, known before launch as TDRS-J, is an American communications satellite which is operated by NASA as part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. It was constructed by the Boeing Satellite Development Center, formerly Hughes Space and Communications, and is based on the BSS-601 satellite bus. It was the third and final Advanced TDRS, or second-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, to be launched. An Atlas IIA rocket was used to launch TDRS-J, under a contract with International Launch Services. The launch occurred at 02:42 GMT on 5 December 2002, from Space Launch Complex 36A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. TDRS-10 separated from its carrier rocket into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. At 01:00 GMT on 14 December, following a series of apogee burns, it reached geostationary orbit. TDRS-J was initially positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude 153 degrees west of the Greenwich Meridian, and following on-orbit testing, it received the operational designation TDRS-10. In December 2003 it was moved to 151.5° west, arriving the next month. It remained there until June, when it departed for 42.3° west. It arrived there in November, and has since
    9.67
    3 votes
    19
    Vanguard TV3

    Vanguard TV3

    Vanguard TV3 was the first attempt of the United States to launch a satellite into orbit around the Earth. It was a small satellite designed to test the launch capabilities of the three-stage Vanguard rocket and study the effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit. It was also to be used to obtain geodetic measurements through orbit analysis. At its launch attempt on December 6, 1957 at Cape Canaveral, the booster ignited and began to rise; but about two seconds after liftoff, after rising about four feet (1.2 m), the rocket lost thrust and began to fall back to the launch pad. As it settled the fuel tanks ruptured and exploded, destroying the rocket and severely damaging the launch pad. The Vanguard satellite was thrown clear and landed on the ground a short distance away with its transmitters still sending out a beacon signal. The satellite was damaged, however, and could not be reused. It is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. The exact cause of the accident was never determined with certainty, but the commonly accepted explanation is that low fuel tank pressure during the start procedure allowed some
    9.67
    3 votes
    20
    EURECA

    EURECA

    The European Retrievable Carrier (EURECA) was an unmanned 4.5 tonne satellite with 15 experiments. It was an ESA mission and the acronym was derived from Archimedes' bathtub revelation; Eureka!. It was built by the German MBB-ERNO and had automatic material science cells as well as small telescopes for Solar observation (including x-ray). It was launched 31 July 1992 by STS-46 - Atlantis, and put into an orbit at an altitude of 508 km. EURECA was retrieved on 1 July 1993 by STS-57- Endeavour and returned to Earth. It was designed to fly five times with different experiments but the following flights were cancelled. EURECA is one of the few unmanned space vehicles that have been returned to the Earth unharmed. EURECA has been on display at the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne since 2000. EURECA was made of high-strength carbon-fiber struts and titanium nodal points joined together to form a framework of cubic elements. Thermal control on EURECA combined both active and passive heat transfer and radiation systems. Active heat transfer was achieved by means of a freon cooling loop which dissipated the thermal load through two radiators into space. The passive system made use of
    7.20
    5 votes
    21
    Long Duration Exposure Facility

    Long Duration Exposure Facility

    NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility, or LDEF, was a school bus-sized cylindrical space experiment rack that exposed various material samples to outer space for about 5.7 years, completing 32,422 Earth orbits. Researchers recognized the potential of the planned Space Shuttle to deliver a payload to space, leave it there, and on a separate mission retrieve the payload and return it to Earth for measurements. The project was approved in 1974 and LDEF was built at NASA Langley Research Center. The STS-41-C crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger deployed LDEF on April 7, 1984. Engineers imagined that the first mission would last most of a year, and that several long-duration exposure missions would use the same frame. The frame was actually used for only one 5.7-year mission. Fifty-seven science and technology experiments – involving government and university investigators from the United States, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom – flew on the LDEF mission. A total of 57 experiments were conducted on the LDEF. They investigated the effects on: At LDEF's launch, retrieval was scheduled for March 19, 1985, eleven months after
    7.20
    5 votes
    22
    MoonLITE

    MoonLITE

    The Moon Lightweight Interior and Telecoms Experiment (MoonLITE), is a proposed British space mission to explore the Moon and develop techniques for future space exploration. If funded, it will be built by a consortium of UK industry likely including Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, and it is planned to be launched into lunar orbit in 2014. The mission concept emerged out of a study run by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (now the Science and Technology Facilities Council) in 2006. In December 2008, the British National Space Centre (part of the UK Space Agency since April 2010) announced that the project was moving to Phase A study. This is a 12 month study of the mission system, the penetrators and the penetrator descent systems. The mission has both scientific and technological goals. The science goals are concerned with the interior structure, history and current state of the Moon. MoonLITE would deploy four one metre-long penetrators into the lunar surface in order to emplace a global network of seismometers, heat flow sensors and - possibly - volatile detectors. This would allow the internal structure of the Moon to be determined as well as exploring the
    7.20
    5 votes
    23
    SERT-1

    SERT-1

    SERT-1 (Space Electric Rocket Test) was a NASA probe used to test electrostatic ion thruster design and was built by NASA's Lewis Research Center (now NASA Glenn). SERT-1 was the first spacecraft to utilize ion engine design. . It was launched on July 20, 1964 on a Scout rocket. It carried two electric propulsion engines; of the two, the first, an electron-bombardment ion engine ("Kaufman ion thruster") was run for a total of 31 minutes and 16 seconds. This was the first time that an ion engine of any type had been operated in space, and demonstrated that the neutralizer worked as predicted. (A second thruster, of a different type, failed to operate.) The test was followed by the SERT-II probe, launched into a 1000-km-high polar orbit on February 3, 1970,, which demonstrated two mercury thrusters operating for 2011 hrs and 3781 hrs in space. Up to 300 thruster restarts were demonstrated. The SERT rocket tests demonstrated ion engine technology that was later used on the Deep Space 1 probe and later missions. Sovey, J. S., Rawlin, V. K., and Patterson, M. J.: "Ion Propulsion Development Projects in U. S.: Space Electric Rocket Test 1 to Deep Space 1," Journal of Propulsion and
    7.20
    5 votes
    24
    Alouette 1

    Alouette 1

    Alouette 1 was Canada's first satellite, and the first satellite constructed by a country other than the USSR or the United States. Occasionally, Alouette 1 is misrepresented as the third satellite successfully put in orbit, rather than being from the third country to have one of its own in space, but numerous US and Soviet missions preceded it. Furthermore, Canada was not the third country to have a satellite in orbit: the United Kingdom's Ariel 1 preceded Alouette 1, but that was constructed by NASA. The name "Alouette" came from the French "skylark" and from the title of a popular French-Canadian folk song, "Alouette". Alouette 1 was launched by NASA from the Pacific Missile Range at Vandenberg AFB, California, USA at 06:05 UTC on September 29, 1962, into orbit around the earth. Alouette was used to study the ionosphere, an area of the upper atmosphere where many future satellites would be placed into orbit. Alouette's mission lasted for 10 years before the unit was deliberately switched off. The mission brought a modicum of fame to its Program Manager, John E. Jackson, Canadian director, John Herbert Chapman and its Chief Electrical Engineer, Colin A. Franklin. Alouette 1
    8.25
    4 votes
    25
    Mariner 3

    Mariner 3

    Mariner 3 (together with Mariner 4 known as Mariner-Mars 1964) was one of two identical deep-space probes designed and built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA's Mariner Mars 1964 Project that were intended to conduct close-up (flyby) scientific observations of the planet Mars and transmit information on interplanetary space and the space surrounding Mars, televised images of the Martian surface and occultation data of spacecraft radio signals as affected by the Martian atmosphere back to Earth. It was the third of ten spacecraft within the Mariner program. Mariner 3 was launched on November 5, 1964 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 13, but the shroud encasing the spacecraft atop its rocket failed to open properly, and Mariner 3 did not get to Mars. Unable to collect the Sun's energy for power from its solar panels, the probe soon died when its batteries ran out and is now derelict in a solar orbit. Three weeks later, on November 28, 1964, Mariner 4 was launched successfully on a 7½-month voyage to the red planet. The instruments on Mariner 3 included:
    8.25
    4 votes
    26
    Nozomi

    Nozomi

    Nozomi (のぞみ) (Japanese for "Wish" or "Hope," and known before launch as Planet-B) was planned as a Mars-orbiting aeronomy probe, but was unable to achieve Mars orbit due to electrical failures. Operation was terminated on December 31, 2003. It was constructed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, University of Tokyo and launched on July 4, 1998 at 03:12 JST (18:12 UTC) with an on-orbit dry mass of 258 kg and 282 kg of propellant. Nozomi was designed to study the upper Martian atmosphere and its interaction with the solar wind and to develop technologies for use in future planetary missions. Specifically, instruments on the spacecraft were to measure the structure, composition and dynamics of the ionosphere, aeronomy effects of the solar wind, the escape of atmospheric constituents, the intrinsic magnetic field, the penetration of the solar-wind magnetic field, the structure of the magnetosphere, and dust in the upper atmosphere and in orbit around Mars. The mission would have also returned images of Mars' surface. After launch on the third M-V launch vehicle, Nozomi was put into an elliptical geocentric parking orbit with a perigee of 340 km and an apogee of
    8.25
    4 votes
    27
    XMM-Newton

    XMM-Newton

    The XMM-Newton (X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission - Newton) is an orbiting X-ray observatory launched by ESA in December 1999 on a Ariane 5 rocket. It is named in honor of Sir Isaac Newton. Originally known as the High Throughput X-ray Spectroscopy Mission it was placed in a very eccentric 48 hour elliptical orbit at 40°; at its apogee it is nearly 114,000 kilometres (71,000 mi) from Earth, while the perigee is only 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) The satellite weighs 3,800 kilograms (8,400 lb), is 10 metres (33 ft) long and 16 metres (52 ft) in span with its solar arrays deployed. It holds three X-ray telescopes, developed by Media Lario of Italy, each of which contains 58 Wolter-type concentric mirrors. The combined collecting area is 4,300 cm². The three European Photon Imaging Cameras (EPIC) are sensitive over the energy range 0.2 keV to 12 keV. Other instruments onboard are two reflection grating spectrometers which are sensitive below ~2 keV, and a 30 centimetres (12 in) diameter Ritchey-Chretien optical/UV telescope. The mission was proposed in 1984 and approved in 1985; a project team was formed in 1993 and development work began in 1996. The satellite was constructed and tested from
    8.25
    4 votes
    28
    Lunokhod 1

    Lunokhod 1

    Lunokhod 1 (Луноход, moon walker in Russian; Аппарат 8ЕЛ № 203, vehicle 8ЕЛ№203) was the first of two unmanned lunar rovers landed on the Moon by the Soviet Union as part of its Lunokhod program. The spacecraft which carried Lunokhod 1 was named Luna 17. Lunokhod was the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another celestial body. Lunokhod 1 was a lunar vehicle formed of a tub-like compartment with a large convex lid on eight independently powered wheels. Its length was 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in). Lunokhod was equipped with a cone-shaped antenna, a highly directional helical antenna, four television cameras, and special extendable devices to test the lunar soil for soil density and mechanical property tests. An X-ray spectrometer, an X-ray telescope, cosmic ray detectors, and a laser device were also included. The vehicle was powered by batteries which were recharged during the lunar day by a solar cell array mounted on the underside of the lid. To be able to work in vacuum a special fluoride based lubricant was used for the mechanical parts and the electric motors (one in each wheel hub) were enclosed in pressurised containers. During the lunar nights, the lid was closed
    8.00
    4 votes
    29
    Ranger 3

    Ranger 3

    Ranger 3 is a spacecraft of the Ranger program that was launched to study the Moon on January 26, 1962. The space probe was designed to transmit pictures of the lunar surface to Earth stations during a period of 10 minutes of flight prior to impacting on the Moon, to rough-land a seismometer capsule on the Moon, to collect gamma-ray data in flight, to study radar reflectivity of the lunar surface, and to continue testing of the Ranger program for development of lunar and interplanetary spacecraft. Due to a series of malfunctions the spacecraft missed the Moon by 22,000 miles (35,000 km). Ranger 3 was the first of the Block II Ranger designs. The basic vehicle was 3.1 m high and consisted of a lunar capsule covered with a balsa wood impact-limiter, 650 mm in diameter, a mono-propellant mid-course motor, a retrorocket with a thrust of 5080 pounds force (22.6 kN), and a gold- and chrome-plated hexagonal base 1.5 m in diameter. A large high-gain dish antenna was attached to the base. Two wing-like solar panels (5.2 m across) were attached to the base and deployed early in the flight. Power was generated by 8680 solar cells contained in the solar panels which charged an 11.5 kg 1 kW·h
    8.00
    4 votes
    30
    Surveyor 6

    Surveyor 6

    Surveyor 6 was the sixth lunar lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program that reached the surface of the Moon. Surveyor 6 landed on the Sinus Medii. A total of 30,027 images were transmitted to Earth. This spacecraft was the fourth of the Surveyor series to successfully achieve a soft landing on the moon, obtain post landing television pictures, determine the abundance of the chemical elements in the lunar soil, obtain touchdown dynamics data, obtain thermal and radar reflectivity data, and conduct a Vernier engine erosion experiment. Virtually identical to Surveyor 5, this spacecraft carried a television camera, a small bar magnet attached to one footpad, and an alpha-scattering instrument as well as the necessary engineering equipment. It landed on November 10, 1967, in Sinus Medii, 0.49 deg in latitude and 1.40 deg w longitude (selenographic coordinates) - the center of the moon's visible hemisphere. This spacecraft accomplished all planned objectives. The successful completion of this mission satisfied the Surveyor program's obligation to the Apollo project. On November 24, 1967, the spacecraft was shut down for the 2 week lunar night. Contact was made on December 14,
    8.00
    4 votes
    31
    Third Small Astronomy Satellite

    Third Small Astronomy Satellite

    The Small Astronomy Satellite 3 (SAS 3, also known as SAS-C before launch) was a NASA X-ray astronomy space telescope. It functioned from May 7, 1975 to April 1979. It covered the X-ray range with four experiments on board. The satellite, built by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), was proposed and operated by MIT's Center for Space Research (CSR). It was launched on a Scout vehicle from the Italian/Kenyan San Marco launch platform near Mombasa, Kenya, into a low-Earth, nearly equatorial orbit. It was also known as Explorer 53, as part of NASA's Explorer program. The spacecraft was 3-axis stabilized with a momentum wheel that was used to establish stability about the nominal rotation, or z-axis. The orientation of the z-axis could be altered over a period of hours using magnetic torque coils that interacted with the Earth's magnetic field. Solar panels charged batteries during the daylight portion of each orbit, so that SAS 3 had essentially no expendables to limit its lifetime beyond the life of the tape recorders, batteries, and orbital drag. The spacecraft typically operated in a rotating mode, spinning at one revolution per 95-min orbit, so that the
    8.00
    4 votes
    32
    Vanguard 1

    Vanguard 1

    Vanguard 1 (ID: 1958-Beta 2 ) was the fourth artificial Earth satellite launched and the first satellite to be solar powered. Although communication with it was lost in 1964, it remains the oldest manmade satellite still in orbit. It was designed to test the launch capabilities of a three-stage launch vehicle as a part of Project Vanguard, and the effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit. It also was used to obtain geodetic measurements through orbit analysis. The spacecraft is a 1.47 kg (3.2 lb) aluminum sphere 165 mm (6.4 inches) in diameter. It contains a 10 mW, 108 MHz transmitter powered by a mercury battery and a 5 mW, 108.03 MHz transmitter that was powered by six solar cells mounted on the body of the satellite. Six short antennas protrude from the sphere. The transmitters were used primarily for engineering and tracking data, but were also used to determine the total electron content between the satellite and ground stations. Vanguard also carries two thermistors which measured the interior temperature over sixteen days in order to track the effectiveness of the thermal protection. A backup version of Vanguard 1 is on display at the Kansas
    6.80
    5 votes
    33
    Jules Verne ATV

    Jules Verne ATV

    The Jules Verne ATV, or Automated Transfer Vehicle 001 (ATV-001), was an unmanned cargo resupply spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency (ESA). The ATV was named after the 19th-century French science-fiction author Jules Verne. It was launched on 9 March 2008 on a mission to supply the International Space Station (ISS) with propellant, water, air, and dry cargo. Because it was the first ATV to be launched, Jules Verne underwent three weeks of orbital testing before beginning its final rendezvous with the ISS. The spacecraft docked to the ISS on 3 April 2008 to deliver its cargo. On 25 April 2008, Jules Verne used its thrusters to reboost the station into a higher orbit. After spending just over five months docked at the station, Jules Verne undocked on 5 September 2008 and made a destructive re-entry over the Pacific Ocean on 29 September. The first ATV was officially named Jules Verne on 9 April 2002. By the end of January 2003, most of its components had been assembed. These components were built by several different aerospace companies; the docking and refuelling systems were produced by RSC Energia in Russia, the pressurised section was assembled by Alenia Spazio in
    9.00
    3 votes
    34
    Beagle 2

    Beagle 2

    • Manufacturer: European Space Agency
    Beagle 2 was an unsuccessful British landing spacecraft that formed part of the European Space Agency's 2003 Mars Express mission. All contact with it was lost upon its separation from the Mars Express six days before its scheduled entry into the atmosphere. The Beagle 2 was named after HMS Beagle, which twice carried Charles Darwin during expeditions which would later lead to the theory of natural selection. The Beagle 2 was conceived by a group of British academics headed by Professor Colin Pillinger of the Open University, in collaboration with the University of Leicester. Its purpose was to search for signs of life on Mars, past or present, and its name reflected this goal, as Professor Pillinger explained: A point at 10.6°N, 270°W in Isidis Planitia, a large flat sedimentary basin that overlies the boundary between the ancient highlands and the northern plains of Mars, was chosen as the landing site. The lander was expected to operate for about 180 days and an extended mission of up to one Martian year (687 Earth days) was thought possible. The Beagle 2 lander objectives were to characterize the landing site geology, mineralogy, geochemistry and oxidation state, the physical
    7.75
    4 votes
    35
    Crew Return Vehicle

    Crew Return Vehicle

    The Crew Return Vehicle (CRV), sometimes referred to as the Assured Crew Return Vehicle (ACRV), is the proposed lifeboat or escape module for the International Space Station (ISS). A number of different vehicles and designs have been considered over the past two decades – with several flying as developmental test prototypes – but no one single design has been built as the dedicated CRV. In April 2010, President Obama directed NASA to develop a CRV based on the Orion technology. In the original space station design, emergencies were intended to be dealt with by having a "safe area" on the station that the crew could evacuate to, pending a rescue from a U.S. Space Shuttle. However, the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and the subsequent grounding of the shuttle fleet caused station planners to rethink this concept. Planners foresaw the need for a CRV to address three specific scenarios: The ISS is equipped with a Health Maintenance Facility (HMF) to handle a certain level of medical situations, which are broken into three main classifications: However, the HMF is not designed to have general surgical capability, so a means of evacuating a crew member in case of a medical
    7.75
    4 votes
    36
    GPS IIR-1

    GPS IIR-1

    GPS IIR-1 or GPS SVN-42 was the first Block IIR GPS satellite to be launched. It was to have been operated as part of the United States Air Force Global Positioning System. It was launched on 17 January 1997, however it was destroyed thirteen seconds into its flight due to a malfunction of the Delta II rocket that was carrying it. It was estimated to have cost US$40 million, with its carrier rocket costing $55 million. The satellite which was used for the IIR-1 mission was the second production IIR satellite, SVN-42. GPS IIR-1 was launched on a Delta II 7925-9.5 rocket, serial number D241, from Launch Complex 17A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 16:28:01 GMT (11:28 local time), on 17 January 1997. Thirteen seconds later, the rocket's flight termination system was activated by its onboard computer. This detonated explosive charges aboard the rocket, causing it to explode. At the time of explosion, the rocket was 487 metres (1,598 ft) above the launch complex. An investigation determined that the failure was caused by a crack in the casing of the number 2 GEM-40 solid rocket motor, which propagated around six seconds into the flight. Twelve seconds
    7.75
    4 votes
    37
    Viking 1

    Viking 1

    Viking 1 was the first of two spacecraft sent to Mars as part of NASA's Viking program. It was the first spacecraft to successfully land on Mars and perform its mission, and held the record for the longest Mars surface mission of 6 years and 116 days (from landing until surface mission termination, Earth time) until that record was broken by the Opportunity Rover on May 19, 2010. Following launch using a Titan/Centaur launch vehicle on August 20, 1975 and a 10-month cruise to Mars, the orbiter began returning global images of Mars about 5 days before orbit insertion. The Viking 1 Orbiter was inserted into Mars orbit on June 19, 1976 and trimmed to a 1513 x 33,000 km, 24.66 h site certification orbit on June 21. Landing on Mars was planned for July 4, 1976, the United States Bicentennial, but imaging of the primary landing site showed it was too rough for a safe landing. The landing was delayed until a safer site was found. The lander separated from the orbiter on July 20 08:51 UTC and landed at 11:53:06 UTC. It was the first attempt by the United States at landing on Mars. The instruments of the orbiter consisted of two vidicon cameras for imaging (VIS), an infrared spectrometer
    7.75
    4 votes
    38
    Galactic Suite

    Galactic Suite

    • Manufacturer: Galactic Suite Limited
    Galactic Suite Design is an aerospace design company based in Barcelona, Spain. The company develops concepts, design and interiors of habitats and vehicles. The project that first brought the company into the public eye was the Galactic Suite Space Resort, which intends to develop a private small space station at LEO, the orbital segment of a space tourism experience, which will also include intensive training on a tropical island.. Galactic Suite Design has been involved with other space related projects including the Google Lunar X Prize. The space station began as a hobby for Xavier Claramunt, architect and director of Galactic Suite Design. The Galactic Suite Space Resort entered development after an unnamed space enthusiast invested US$3 billion to build it. An American company with the goal of colonising Mars assisted in some of the early stages of the project, and discussions with additional private investors from Japan, the United States and the United Arab Emirates are reportedly underway. The earlier stages of the Galactic Suite Space Resort design called for a central hub with a dozen modules radiating outwards, providing an indefinite number of bedrooms for several
    7.50
    4 votes
    39
    GOES 12

    GOES 12

    • Manufacturer: Boeing
    GOES 12, known as GOES-M before becoming operational is an American weather satellite, which is part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. It was launched in 2001, and as of April 2010 it is in standby orbit. Prior to standby, it was operating in the GOES-EAST position, providing coverage of the east coast of the United States. GOES-M was launched aboard an International Launch Services Atlas IIA rocket, flying from Space Launch Complex 36A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 07:23 GMT on 23 July, having previously been delayed eight days; seven due to a faulty controller in the second stage of the carrier rocket, and one to ensure that a lightning strike at SLC-36B had not caused any damage to the rocket. At launch, the satellite had a mass of 2,279 kilograms (5,020 lb), and an expected operational lifespan of five years, although it carried fuel for longer. It was built by Space Systems/Loral, based on the LS-1300 satellite bus, and was the last of five GOES-I series satellites to be launched. Following launch, it was positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 90°
    7.50
    4 votes
    40
    Opportunity rover

    Opportunity rover

    Opportunity, MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover – B), is a robotic rover on the planet Mars, active since 2004. Launched from Earth on July 7, 2003, it landed on Meridiani Planum on January 25, 2004 at 05:05 Ground UTC (about 13:15 local time). This was three weeks after its twin Spirit (MER-A), also part of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission, touched down on the other side of the planet. Its twin became immobile in 2009 and in 2010 ceased communications, but MER-B is still active as of 2012, having already exceeded its planned 90 day duration of activity by &100000000000000080000008 years, &10000000000000134000000134 days. Mission highlights include the initial 90 Sol (90 Martian days) mission, finding extramartian meteorites such as Meridiani Planum, and over two years studying Victoria crater. It survived dust-storms and reached Endeavour crater in 2011, which has been described as a "second landing site". The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.. The scientific objectives of the Mars Exploration Rover
    7.50
    4 votes
    41
    Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer

    Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer

    The Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX) satellite was launched in July 1992 into a low earth orbit at an altitude of 520 by 670 km and 82 degrees inclination. The satellite far exceeded its expected three-year lifetime. It has primarily operated in a three-axis stabilized mode but has also been spun for limited periods. The satellite carries four instruments designed to measure the radiation environment of the Earth's magnetosphere. SAMPEX was an international collaboration between NASA of the United States and Germany. It was part of the Small Explorer program started in 1989 SAMPEX science mission ended on June 30, 2004. SAMPEX collaborators included:
    7.50
    4 votes
    42
    TIMED

    TIMED

    The TIMED (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) mission was a two year project to study the dynamics of the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT) portion of the Earth's atmosphere. The mission was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on December 7, 2001 aboard a Delta II rocket launch vehicle. The project is sponsored and managed by NASA, while the spacecraft was designed and assembled by the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. The mission has been extended several times, and has now collected data over almost an entire solar cycle, which helps in its goal to tease out the sun's effects on the atmosphere from other effects. The MLT region of the atmosphere to be studied by TIMED is located between 60–180 km above the Earth's surface where energy from solar radiation is first deposited into the atmosphere. This can have profound effects on Earth's upper atmospheric regions, particularly during the peak of the sun's 11-year solar cycle when the greatest amounts of its energy are being released. Understanding these interactions is also important for our understanding of various subjects in geophysics, meteorology, and
    7.50
    4 votes
    43
    Dynamics Explorer

    Dynamics Explorer

    Dynamics Explorer was a NASA mission, launched on August 3, 1981 and terminated on February 28, 1991. It consisted of two unmanned satellites, DE-1 and DE-2, whose purpose was to investigate the interractions between plasmas in the magnetosphere and those in the ionosphere. The two satellites were launched together into polar coplanar orbits, which allowed them to simultaneously observe the upper and lower parts of the atmosphere. Both spacecraft had a polygonal shape, and were approximately 137 cm in diameter and 115 cm high. Each also had a 200-cm radio antenna and two 6-meter booms which were needed to distance some of the equipment from the main body of the spacecraft. They were stacked on top of each other and launched aboard a Delta 3000 booster rocket. Upon reaching orbit, the two spacecraft departed from the booster and entered separate orbits. Dynamics Explorer 1 was placed into a high altitude elliptical orbit, while DE-2 was put into a lower orbit that was also more circular. The main instrument aboard Dynamics Explorer 1 was the Plasma Wave Instrument (PWI). This instrument, designed and built by the Plasma Wave Group, measured auroral kilometric radiation, auroral
    8.67
    3 votes
    44
    2001 Mars Odyssey

    2001 Mars Odyssey

    2001 Mars Odyssey is a robotic spacecraft orbiting the planet Mars. The project was developed by NASA, and contracted out to Lockheed Martin, with an expected cost for the entire mission of US$297 million. Its mission is to use spectrometers and electronic imagers to detect evidence of past or present water and volcanic activity on Mars. It is hoped that the data Odyssey obtains will help answer the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars. It also acts as a relay for communications between the Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Science Laboratory, and the Phoenix lander to Earth. The mission was named as a tribute to Arthur C. Clarke, evoking the name of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001 on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and reached Mars orbit on October 24, 2001, at 2:30 a.m. UTC (October 23, 7:30 p.m. PDT, 10:30 p.m. EDT). The spacecraft's main engine fired in order to brake the spacecraft's speed, which allowed it to be captured into orbit around Mars. Odyssey used a technique called "aerobraking" that gradually brought the spacecraft closer to Mars with each orbit. By using the atmosphere of Mars to slow down the spacecraft
    6.40
    5 votes
    45
    NEAR Shoemaker

    NEAR Shoemaker

    The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous - Shoemaker (NEAR Shoemaker), renamed after its 1996 launch in honor of planetary scientist Eugene M. Shoemaker, was a robotic space probe designed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for NASA to study the near-Earth asteroid Eros from close orbit over a period of a year. The mission succeeded in closing in with the asteroid and orbited it several times, finally terminating by touching down on the asteroid on 12 February 2001. The primary scientific objective of NEAR was to return data on the bulk properties, composition, mineralogy, morphology, internal mass distribution and magnetic field of Eros. Secondary objectives include studies of regolith properties, interactions with the solar wind, possible current activity as indicated by dust or gas, and the asteroid spin state. This data will be used to help understand the characteristics of asteroids in general, their relationship to meteorites and comets, and the conditions in the early solar system. To accomplish these goals, the spacecraft was equipped with an X-ray/gamma ray spectrometer, a near-infrared imaging spectrograph, a multi-spectral camera fitted with a CCD
    6.40
    5 votes
    46
    Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer

    Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer

    The Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE) was a space telescope for ultraviolet (UV) astronomy, launched on June 7, 1992. With instruments for UV radiation between wavelengths of 7 and 76 nm, the EUVE was the first satellite mission especially for the short-wave ultraviolet range. The satellite compiled an all-sky survey of 801 astronomical targets before being decommissioned on January 31, 2001. It re-entered the atmosphere on January 30, 2002. The goals of the mission included several different areas of observation using the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) range of frequencies:
    7.25
    4 votes
    47
    Kepler Spacecraft

    Kepler Spacecraft

    • Manufacturer: Ball Aerospace
    Kepler is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft, named in honor of the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler, was launched in March 2009 and has been active for 3 years, 7 months and 11 days as of 18 October 2012. The Kepler mission is "specifically designed to survey a portion of our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover dozens of Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone and determine how many of the billions of stars in our galaxy have such planets." Kepler's only instrument is a photometer that continually monitors the brightness of over 145,000 main sequence stars in a fixed field of view. This data is transmitted to Earth, then analyzed to detect periodic dimming caused by extrasolar planets that cross in front of their host star. Kepler is a project under NASA's Discovery Program of relatively low-cost, focused science missions. Construction and initial operation were managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with Ball Aerospace responsible for developing the Kepler flight system. The Ames Research Center is responsible for the ground system development, mission operations (from
    7.25
    4 votes
    48
    Mariner 2

    Mariner 2

    Mariner 2 (Mariner-Venus 1962), an American space probe to Venus, was the second unmanned space probe to conduct a successful planetary encounter. The first successful spacecraft in the NASA Mariner program, it was a simplified version of the Block I spacecraft of the Ranger program and an exact copy of Mariner 1. The missions of Mariner 1 and 2 spacecraft are together sometimes known as the Mariner R missions. Mariner 2 passed within 35,000 kilometres (22,000 mi) of Venus on December 14, 1962. The Mariner probe consisted of a 100 cm (39.4 in) diameter hexagonal bus, to which solar panels, instrument booms, and antennas were attached. The scientific instruments on board the Mariner spacecraft were two radiometers (one each for the microwave and infrared portions of the spectrum), a micrometeorite sensor, a solar plasma sensor, a charged particle sensor, and a magnetometer. These instruments were designed to measure the temperature distribution on the surface of Venus, as well as making basic measurements of Venus' atmosphere. Due to the planet's thick, featureless cloud cover, no cameras were included in the Mariner unit. Mariner 10 later discovered that extensive cloud detail was
    7.25
    4 votes
    49
    Resurs DK

    Resurs DK

    Resurs-DK1 is a commercial Earth observation satellite capable of transmitting high-resolution imagery (up to 0.9 m) to the ground stations as it passes overhead. The spacecraft is operated by NTs OMZ, Russian Research Center for Earth Operative Monitoring. The satellite is designed for multi-spectral remote sensing of the Earth's surface aimed at acquiring high-quality visible images in near real-time as well as on-line data delivery via radio link and providing a wide range of consumers with value-added processed data. The Resurs-DK1 spacecraft was built by the Russian space company TsSKB Progress in Samara, Russia. It is a modified version of the military reconnaissance satellite Yantar-4KS1 (Terilen). The spacecraft is three-axis stabilized. The design lifetime is no less than three years, with an expected lifetime of five years. Ground location accuracy is 100 metres (330 ft). Onboard storage is 768 gigabits. Data link speed to the ground station is 300 Mbit/s. Maximum daily productivity is 1,000,000 square kilometres (390,000 sq mi). Resurs is Russian for "Resource". The letters DK are the initials of Dmitry Kozlov, chief designer of the first satellite of the Yantar-2K
    7.25
    4 votes
    50
    Chang'e 2

    Chang'e 2

    Chang'e 2 (Mandarin: [tʂʰɑ̌ŋ.ɤ̌ ɑ̂ɻ xɑ̂ʊ], simplified Chinese: 嫦娥二号; traditional Chinese: 嫦娥二號; pinyin: Cháng'é èr hào) is a Chinese unmanned lunar probe that was launched on 1 October 2010. It was a follow-up to the Chang'e 1 lunar probe, which was launched in 2007. Chang'e 2 was part of the first phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, and conducted research from a 100-kilometer-high lunar orbit in preparation for a 2013 soft landing by the Chang'e 3 lander and rover. Chang'e 2 was similar in design to Chang'e 1, although it featured some technical improvements, including a more advanced onboard camera with a resolution of one meter. Like its predecessor, the probe was named after Chang'e, an ancient Chinese moon goddess. The total cost of the Chang'e 2 mission was approximately CN¥900 million (US$134 million). After completing its primary objective, the probe left lunar orbit for the Earth–Sun L2, to test the Chinese tracking and control network, making the China National Space Administration the third space agency after NASA and ESA to have visited this point. It entered orbit around L2 on 25 August 2011, and began transmitting data from its new position in September
    8.33
    3 votes
    51
    International Cometary Explorer

    International Cometary Explorer

    The International Cometary Explorer (ICE) spacecraft was originally known as International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) satellite, launched August 12, 1978. It was part of the ISEE (International Sun-Earth Explorer) international cooperative program between NASA and ESRO/ESA to study the interaction between the Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind. The program used three spacecraft, a mother/daughter pair (ISEE 1 and ISEE 2) and a heliocentric spacecraft (ISEE 3, later renamed ICE). ISEE 3 was the first spacecraft to be placed in a halo orbit at one of Earth-Sun Lagrangian points (L1). It was later (as ICE) sent to visit Comet Giacobini-Zinner and became the first spacecraft to do so by flying through a comet's tail passing the nucleus at a distance of approximately 7800 km. ICE was not equipped with cameras. ISEE-3 originally operated in a halo orbit about the L1 Sun-Earth Lagrangian point, 235 Earth radii above the surface (about 1.5 million km, or 924,000 miles). It was the first artificial object placed at a so-called "libration point", proving that such a suspension between gravitational fields was possible. The purposes of the mission were: ISEE-3 was spun at 20 rpm,
    8.33
    3 votes
    52
    Northern Light

    Northern Light

    Northern Light is a proposed unmanned mission to Mars that would consist of a lander and a rover, being planned by a consortium of Canadian universities, companies and organisations. The primary contractor for the spacecraft is Thoth Technology Inc., based in Kettleby, Ontario. The spacecraft would consist of four parts: An apogee kick engine to provide orbital injection for a cruise vehicle that carries the Northern Light lander and the Beaver Rover to a direct rendezvous with Mars using a Hohmann transfer orbit. Atmospheric entry would be achieved by a heat shield, parachute and airbag deployment system. The lander would transfer the rover to the Martian surface. Once deployed on the Martian surface, the lander contacts Earth directly utilizing the 46m parabolic antenna located at the Algonquin Radio Observatory. The Beaver Rover is designed to have a maximum range of 1000 metres (0.62 mile) from the landing site. It would operate under battery, utilizing tools and sensors to investigate surface rocks that may contain the presence of photosynthetic life. The project officially started in 2001, and its project leader is Ben Quine, from York University, Canada. York University has
    8.33
    3 votes
    53
    Pioneer 1

    Pioneer 1

    On October 11, 1958, Pioneer 1 became the first spacecraft launched by NASA, the newly formed space agency of the United States. The flight was the second and most successful of the three Thor-Able space probes. Pioneer 1 was fabricated by Ramo-Wooldridge Corp.(TRW), and consisted of a thin cylindrical midsection with a squat truncated cone on each side. The cylinder was 74 cm (29 in) in diameter and the height from the top of one cone to the top of the opposite cone was 76 cm (30 in). Along the axis of the spacecraft and protruding from the end of the lower cone was an 11 kg solid propellant injection rocket and rocket case, which formed the main structural member of the spacecraft. Eight small low-thrust solid propellant velocity adjustment rockets were mounted on the end of the upper cone in a ring assembly which could be jettisoned after use. A magnetic dipole antenna also protruded from the top of the upper cone. The shell was composed of laminated plastic. The total mass of the spacecraft after vernier separation was 34.2 kg, after injection rocket firing it would have been 23.2 kg. The three-stage Thor-Able vehicle consisted of a modified Air Force Thor IRBM (liquid
    8.33
    3 votes
    54
    Explorer 33

    Explorer 33

    Explorer 33 (also known as IMP-D) was a spacecraft launched by NASA on July 1, 1966 on a mission of scientific exploration. Originally intended for a lunar orbit, mission controllers worried that the spacecraft's trajectory was too fast to guarantee lunar capture. Consequently, mission managers opted for a backup plan of placing the craft into an eccentric Earth orbit with a perigee of 265,679 km and an apogee of 480,762 km — still reaching distances beyond the Moon's orbit. Despite not attaining the intended lunar orbit, the mission met many of its original goals in exploring solar wind, interplanetary plasma, and solar X-rays. Principal investigator James Van Allen used electron and proton detectors aboard the spacecraft to investigate charged particle and X-ray activity. Astrophysicists N. U. Crooker, Joan Feynman, and J. T. Gosling used data from Explorer 33 to establish relationships between the Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind speed near Earth.
    9.50
    2 votes
    55
    Explorer 4

    Explorer 4

    Explorer 4 (satellite 1958 epsilon) was a US satellite launched on July 26, 1958. It was instrumented by Dr. James van Allen's group. The Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency had initially planned two satellites for the purposes of studying the Van Allen radiation belts and the effects of nuclear explosions upon these belts (and the Earth's magnetosphere in general), however Explorer 4 was the only such satellite launched. Explorer 4 was a cylindrically shaped satellite instrumented to make the first detailed measurements of charged particles (protons and electrons) trapped in the terrestrial radiation belts. Launched from a Juno I rocket, the mission remained secret from the public for six months. The satellite telemetry was analyzed for three Operation Argus nuclear weapons tests at high altitude. An unexpected tumble motion of the satellite made the interpretation of the detector data very difficult. The low-power transmitter and the plastic scintillator detector failed September 3, 1958. The two Geiger-Müller tubes and the caesium iodide crystal detectors continued to operate normally until September 19, 1958. The high-power transmitter ceased sending
    9.50
    2 votes
    56
    Bristol Spaceplanes Ltd

    Bristol Spaceplanes Ltd

    Bristol Spaceplanes Limited was formed in 1991 to provide technical assistance and consultancy to commercial organisations and aerospace companies interested in commercial opportunities in space. Since then it has prepared plans to develop the Ascender sub-orbital spaceplane, designed in-house from off-the-shelf technology.
    7.00
    4 votes
    57
    Explorer 8

    Explorer 8

    Explorer 8 was a U.S. research satellite launched on November 3, 1960. It confirmed the existence of a helium layer in the upper atmosphere. Explorer 8 decayed from orbit on 28 March 2012.
    7.00
    4 votes
    58
    GEOTAIL

    GEOTAIL

    GEOTAIL is a satellite observing the Earth's magnetosphere. It was developed by Japan's ISAS in association with United State's NASA, and was launched by a Delta II rocket on July 24, 1992. From the GEOTAIL website (listed below): "The GEOTAIL satellite was launched on July 24, 1992, by a Delta II launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. The primary purpose of this mission is to study the structure and dynamics of the tail region of the magnetosphere with a comprehensive set of scientific instruments. For this purpose, the orbit has been designed to cover the magnetotail over a wide range of distances: 8 Re to 210 Re from the earth. This orbit also allows us to study the boundary region of the magnetosphere as it skims the magnetopause at perigees. In the first two years the double lunar swing-by technique was used to keep apogees in the distant magnetotail. The apogee was lowered down to 50 Re in mid November 1994 and then to 30 Re in February 1995 in order to study substorm processes in the near-Earth tail region. The present orbit is 9 Re x 30 Re with inclination of -7° to the ecliptic plane." Geotail instruments studied electric fields, magnetic fields, plasmas,
    7.00
    4 votes
    59
    GOES 1

    GOES 1

    GOES 1, designated GOES-A and SMS-C prior to entering service, was a weather satellite operated by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It was the first Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite to be launched. GOES-A was launched atop a Delta 2914 from Launch Complex 17B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 22:40:00 GMT on October 16, 1975, and left the satellite in a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Following launch, it raised itself to a geostationary orbit by means of its onboard SVM-5 apogee motor, at which time it was redesignated GOES 1. It was positioned over the Indian Ocean to gather data for the Global Atmospheric Research Programme. GOES 1 was equipped with a Visible Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer, or VISSER, which provided day and night imagery of terrestrial cloud conditions. It returned its first image on October 25, 1975, nine days after launch. The satellite continuously monitored weather events and relayed this meteorological data from over 10,000 surface locations into a central processing center. The data was then incorporated into weather prediction models. It also carried a Space Environment Monitor
    7.00
    4 votes
    60
    GOES 13

    GOES 13

    GOES 13, known as GOES-N before becoming operational, is an American weather satellite which is part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. It was launched in 2006. On April 14, 2010, GOES-13 became the operational weather satellite for GOES-EAST until September 25, 2012, when GOES-13's imager and sounder failed. The satellite is now in standby mode until the cause of the outage can be determined. However, GOES 13 is to be reactived on October 18, 2012. GOES-N was launched aboard a Boeing Delta IV-M+(4,2) rocket, flying from Space Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 22:11:00 GMT on 24 May. The launch had been delayed significantly due to a number of issues. Firstly, it had been scheduled to fly on a Delta III, but after three consecutive failures on its first three flights, the Delta III was cancelled, with GOES launches being transferred to the Delta IV. Further delays were caused after the previous Delta IV launch, the maiden flight of the Heavy configuration, suffered a partial failure. Then, two launch attempts in August 2005 were scrubbed, the second
    7.00
    4 votes
    61
    GOES 4

    GOES 4

    GOES 4, known as GOES-D before becoming operational, was a geostationary weather satellite which was operated by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. Launched in 1980, it was used for weather forecasting in the United States, and later in Europe. Following its retirement it became the first satellite to be sent into a graveyard orbit. GOES 4 was built by Hughes Space and Communications, and was based around the HS-371 satellite bus. At launch it had a mass of 660 kilograms (1,500 lb), with an expected operational lifespan of around seven years. It was the first HS-371 based GOES satellite. GOES-D was launched using a Delta 3914 carrier rocket flying from Launch Complex 17A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 22:27 GMT on 9 September 1980. The launch successfully placed GOES-D into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, from which it raised itself to geostationary orbit by means of an onboard Star-27 apogee motor. Its insertion into geostationary orbit occurred at 12:00 on 11 September. Following its insertion into geostationary orbit, GOES 4 was positioned at
    7.00
    4 votes
    62
    TDRS-5

    TDRS-5

    TDRS-5, known before launch as TDRS-E, is an American communications satellite which is operated by NASA as part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. It was constructed by TRW is based on a custom satellite bus which was used for all seven first generation TDRS satellites. It was launched aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis during the STS-43 mission in August 1991. Atlantis launched from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 15:02:00 GMT (11:02 local time), on 2 August. TDRS-E was deployed from Atlantis around six hours after launch, and was raised to geostationary orbit by means of an Inertial Upper Stage. It was the only TDRS satellite to be deployed from Atlantis. The twin-stage solid-propellent Inertial Upper Stage made two burns. The first stage burn occurred shortly after deployment, from Atlantis, and placed the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Around six hours later, it reached apogee, and the second stage fired, placing TDRS-E into geosynchronous orbit. At this point it received its operational designation, TDRS-5. It was placed at a position over the equator, 174° West of the Greenwich Meridian, from where it provides communications
    7.00
    4 votes
    63
    SELENE

    SELENE

    • Manufacturer: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
    SELENE (/ˈsɛlɨniː/; Selenological and Engineering Explorer), better known in Japan by its nickname Kaguya (かぐや) after the legendary Japanese moon princess, was the second Japanese lunar orbiter spacecraft. Produced by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and the National Space Development Agency (NASDA), both now part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the spacecraft was launched on September 14, 2007. After successfully orbiting the moon for a year and eight months, the main orbiter was instructed to impact on the lunar surface near the Gill lunar crater at 18:25 UTC on June 10, 2009. The orbiter's nickname, Kaguya, was selected by the general public. It comes from the name of a lunar princess in the ancient Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. After their successful release, its sub-satellites, Rstar and Vstar, were named Okina and Ouna, also derived from characters in the tale. The main scientific objectives of the mission were to: SELENE launched on 14 September 2007 at 01:31:01 UTC on an H-IIA (Model H2A2022) carrier rocket from Tanegashima Space Center into a 281.55-kilometre (174.95 mi) (perigee) / 232,960-kilometre (144,750 mi)
    6.00
    5 votes
    64
    Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere

    Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere

    The Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) is a satellite to conduct a 26-month study of noctilucent clouds (NLCs). It is the ninetieth Explorer program mission and is part of the NASA-funded Small Explorer program (SMEX). On April 25, 2007 AIM was boosted into a 600 km (370 mi) high polar orbit by a Pegasus-XL rocket, which was air-launched from the Lockheed L-1011 Stargazer aircraft operated by Orbital Sciences. The noctilucent clouds AIM is to study, also known as polar mesospheric clouds, occur in the Earth's atmosphere at altitudes of roughly 80 kilometers (50 mi) above the surface, far higher than other clouds. The AIM mission will help determine what factors — temperature, water vapor, and dust particles — lead to the formation of these clouds. The clouds seem to be a relatively recent phenomenon: they were first seen in 1885, and lately seem to be occurring more frequently. The clouds always occur during the summer season near the poles and the Northern season always starts around the same time. Scientists have found that the start of the Southern season can vary up to a month however. The AIM satellite is a 200 kg (440 lb), 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in) by 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in)
    8.00
    3 votes
    65
    SMART-1

    SMART-1

    SMART-1 was a Swedish-designed European Space Agency satellite that orbited around the Moon. It was launched on September 27, 2003 at 23:14 UTC from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. "SMART-1" stands for Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology-1. On September 3, 2006 (05:42 UTC), SMART-1 was deliberately crashed into the Moon's surface, ending its mission. SMART-1 was about one metre across, and lightweight in comparison to other probes. Its launch mass was 367 kg or 809 pounds, of which 287 kg (633 lb) was non-propellant. It was propelled by a solar-powered Hall effect thruster (Snecma PPS-1350-G) using xenon propellant, of which there was 82 kg (50 litres by volume at a pressure of 150 bar) at launch. The thrusters used an electrostatic field to ionize the xenon and accelerate the ions to a high speed. This ion engine setup achieved a specific impulse of 16.1 kN·s/kg (1,640 seconds), more than three times the maximum for chemical rockets. Therefore 1 kg of propellant (1/350 to 1/300 of the total mass of the spacecraft) produced a delta-v of about 45 m/s. The electric propulsion subsystem had a weight of 29 kg with a peak power consumption of 1,200
    8.00
    3 votes
    66
    TDRS-4

    TDRS-4

    TDRS-4, known before launch as TDRS-D, is an American communications satellite which was operated by NASA as part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System from 1989 until 2011. It was constructed by TRW, based on a custom satellite bus which was used for all seven of the first generation TDRS satellites. TDRS-D was launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-29R mission in 1989. Discovery launched from Launch Complex 39B at the Kennedy Space Center at 14:57:00 GMT on 13 March 1989. TDRS-D was deployed from Discovery a few hours after launch, and was raised to geostationary orbit by means of an Inertial Upper Stage. The twin-stage solid-propellent Inertial Upper Stage made two burns. The first stage burn occurred shortly after deployment from Discovery, and placed the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. At 03:30 GMT on 14 March, it reached apogee, and the second stage fired, placing TDRS-D into geosynchronous orbit. At this point it received its operational designation, TDRS-4. It was placed at a longitude 41 degrees west of the Greenwich Meridian, from where it provided communications services to spacecraft in Earth orbit, including the Space Shuttle
    8.00
    3 votes
    67
    Venera 7

    Venera 7

    The Venera 7 (Russian: Венера-7) (manufacturer's designation: 3V (V-70)) was a Soviet spacecraft, part of the Venera series of probes to Venus. When it landed on the Venusian surface, it became the first man-made spacecraft to land successfully on another planet, and to transmit data from there back to Earth. The probe was launched from earth on the August 17, 1970 at 05:38 UTC. It consisted of an interplanetary bus based on the 3MV system and a lander. During the flight to Venus two in course corrections were made using the bus's on-board KDU-414 engine. It entered the atmosphere of Venus on December 15, 1970. Unusually the lander remained attached to the interplanetary bus during the initial stages of atmospheric entry. This was to allow the bus to cool the lander to -8°C for as long as possible. The lander was ejected once atmospheric buffeting broke the interplanetary bus's lock-on with earth. The parachute opened at a height of 60 km and atmospheric testing began with results showing the atmosphere to be 97% carbon dioxide. During the descent the parachute appeared to fail, resulting in a more rapid than planned decent. As a result the lander impacted with the surface of Venus
    8.00
    3 votes
    68
    Chang'e 1

    Chang'e 1

    • Manufacturer: China National Space Administration
    Chang’e 1 (pronounced roughly chang-uh, [tʂɑ̌ŋ.ɤ̌]; Chinese: 嫦娥一号; pinyin: Cháng'é yī hào) was an unmanned Chinese lunar-orbiting spacecraft, part of the first phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. The spacecraft was named after the Chinese Moon goddess, Chang'e. Chang'e 1 was launched on 24 October 2007 at 10:05:04 UTC from Xichang Satellite Launch Center. It left lunar transfer orbit on 31 October and entered lunar orbit on 5 November. The first picture of the Moon was relayed on 26 November 2007. On 12 November 2008, a map of the entire lunar surface was released, produced from data collected by Chang'e 1 between November 2007 and July 2008. The mission was scheduled to continue for a year, but was later extended and the spacecraft operated until 1 March 2009, when it was taken out of orbit. It impacted the surface of the Moon at 08:13 UTC. Data gathered by Chang'e 1 was able to create the most accurate and highest resolution 3-D map ever created of the lunar surface. Its sister orbital probe Chang'e 2 was launched on the first of October 2010. The Chang'e 1 mission had four major goals: In addition, the lunar probe engineering system, composed of five major systems –
    6.75
    4 votes
    69
    GOES 10

    GOES 10

    GOES 10, known as GOES-K before becoming operational, was an American weather satellite, which formed part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. It was launched in 1997, and after completing operations as part of the main GOES system, it was kept online as a backup spacecraft until December 2009, providing coverage of South America as GOES-SOUTH, and being used to assist with hurricane predictions for North America. It was retired and manoeuvred to a graveyard orbit on 1 December 2009. GOES-K was launched aboard an International Launch Services Atlas I rocket, flying from Launch Complex 36B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 05:49 GMT on 25 April. Its launch was the final flight of the Atlas I rocket, which was retired in favour of the modernised Atlas II. At launch, the satellite had a mass of 2,105 kilograms (4,640 lb), and an expected operational lifespan of five years. It was built by Space Systems/Loral, based on the LS-1300 satellite bus, and was the third of five GOES-I series satellites to be launched. Following launch, it was positioned in geostationary orbit at a
    6.75
    4 votes
    70
    Juno

    Juno

    Juno is a NASA New Frontiers mission to the planet Jupiter. Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011. The spacecraft is to be placed in a polar orbit to study the planet's composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere. Juno will also search for clues about how Jupiter formed, including whether the planet has a rocky core, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, and how the planet's mass is distributed. It will also study Jupiter's deep winds, which can reach speeds of 600 kilometers per hour (370 mph). The spacecraft's name comes from Greco-Roman mythology. The god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief, but his wife, the goddess Juno, was able to peer through the clouds and see Jupiter's true nature. Juno requires a five-year cruise to Jupiter, arriving around July 4, 2016. The spacecraft will travel roughly over a total distance of 2.8 billion kilometers (18.7 AU; 1.74 billion miles). The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter 33 times during one Earth year. Juno's trajectory will use a gravity assist speed boost from Earth, accomplished through an Earth flyby two years (October 2013) after
    9.00
    2 votes
    71
    MAVEN

    MAVEN

    Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) is a planned space exploration mission to send a space probe to orbit Mars and study its atmosphere. It will help determine what caused the Martian atmosphere —and water— to be lost to space, making the climate increasingly inhospitable for life. The mission was spawned by NASA's Mars Scout Program, which although discontinued in 2010, yielded Phoenix and MAVEN, as well as numerous missions studies. Mars Scout missions target a cost less than USD$485 million, not including launch service, which is approximately $187 million. On September 15, 2008 NASA announced that it had selected MAVEN to be the Mars Scout 2013 mission, a part of the Mars Scout Program. There was one other finalist and eight other proposals that were competing against MAVEN to be the Mars Scout 2013 mission. MAVEN will be launched in late 2013 and is planned to enter Mars orbit during the fall of 2014. MAVEN will enter into an elliptic orbit 90 to 3,870 miles above the planet's surface. The principal investigator for MAVEN is Bruce Jakosky of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Features on Mars resembling dry
    9.00
    2 votes
    72
    Omid

    Omid

    Omid (Persian: امید‎, meaning "Hope") was Iran's first domestically made satellite Omid is a data-processing satellite for research and telecommunications, Iran's state television reported that it was successfully launched on 2 February 2009. After being launched by an Iranian-made carrier rocket, Safir 2, the satellite was placed into a low Earth orbit. The launch, which coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution and was supervised by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was also verified by NASA the following day as a success. Its Satellite Catalog Number or USSPACECOM object number is 33506. Ahmadinejad said the satellite was launched to spread "monotheism, peace and justice" in the world. The Tehran Times reported that "Iran has said it wants to put its own satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation and improve its telecommunications." Foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the satellite was launched to "meet the needs of the country" and is "purely for peaceful purposes". Omid had the shape of a 40-centimeter (16 in) cube with mass of 27 kilograms (60 lb). Sources in the Iranian Space Agency say the satellite's sole
    9.00
    2 votes
    73
    Space Technology 5

    Space Technology 5

    Space Technology 5 (ST5) of the NASA New Millennium program is a test of ten new technologies aboard a group of microsatellites. Developed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the three small spacecraft were launched separately from the belly of an Lockheed L-1011 aboard the Pegasus XL rocket, on 22 March 2006. One technology involves antennas that were designed by computers using an evolutionary AI system developed at NASA Ames Research Center. The ST5 on-board flight computer, the C&DH (Command & Data Handling) system, is based on a Mongoose-V radiation-hardened microprocessor. On 30 June 2006 the satellites making up ST5 were shut down after successfully completing their technology validation mission. ST5's objective was to demonstrate and flight qualify several innovative technologies and concepts for application to future space missions.
    9.00
    2 votes
    74
    Sputnik 3

    Sputnik 3

    Sputnik 3 (Russian: Спутник-3, Satellite 3) was a Soviet satellite launched on May 15, 1958 from Baikonur cosmodrome by a modified R-7/SS-6 ICBM. It was a research satellite to explore the upper atmosphere and the near space, and carried a large array of instruments for geophysical research. In July 1956, the Soviet Union's OKB-1 drafted a project to design and build the first Earth satellite, designated ISZ (Artificial Earth Satellite). ISZ, known to its designers as "Object D." Design of Object D had begun in January 1956 with intent to launch it during the International Geophysical Year. Object D was planned to be the first satellite launched by the Soviet Union but ended up being the third following delays due to problems developing the extensive scientific experiments and their telemetry system. The new R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile also known by its GURVO designation 8K71. was ready to launch before Object D was finished. Worried at the prospect of America launching a satellite before he did, Sergei Korolev substituted the relatively simple "Prosteyshiy Sputnik-1" meaning "Simple Satellite 1," or PS-1, which was labeled Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Government, as the
    9.00
    2 votes
    75
    TacSat-4

    TacSat-4

    TacSat-4 is the fourth in a series of U.S. military experimental reconnaissance and communication satellites. The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is the program manager. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) sponsored the development of the payload and funded the first year of operations. The Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) funded the standardized spacecraft bus and the Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS) funded the launch that will be performed by the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). The spacecraft was completed by the end of 2009, and was launched on September 27, 2011, on a Minotaur IV rocket into a highly elliptical orbit. TacSat-4 is equipped with a 3.8 m (12 ft) antenna operating 10 Ultra High Frequency (UHF) channels that can be used for any combination of communications, data ex-filtration or Blue Force Tracking (BFT). TacSat-4 will fly the highly elliptical, 4-hour, orbit (12,050 kilometers at peak) providing typical payload communication periods of two hours per orbit. TacSat-4’s orbit also allows it to cover the high latitudes. Part of its capability is rapid (within 24 hours) reallocation to different theaters
    9.00
    2 votes
    76
    Venera 1

    Venera 1

    On February 12, 1961, 00:34:36 UTC, was the first planetary probe launched to Venus by the Soviet Union. The Venus-1 Automatic Interplanetary Station, or Venera 1, was a 643.5 kg probe consisting of a cylindrical body 1.05 metres in diameter topped by a dome, totalling 2.035 metres in height. This was pressurized to 1.2 atmospheres of dry nitrogen, with internal fans to maintain even distribution of heat. Two solar panels extended from the cylinder, charging a bank of silver-zinc batteries. A 2-metre parabolic wire-mesh antenna was designed to send data from Venus to Earth on 922.8 MHz. A 2.4-metre antenna boom was used to transmit short-wave signals during the near-Earth phase of the mission. Semidirectional quadripole antennas mounted on the solar panels provided routine telemetry and telecommand contact with Earth during the mission, on a circularly-polarized decimetre radio band. The probe was equipped with scientific instruments including a flux-gate magnetometer attached to the antenna boom, two ion traps to measure solar wind, micrometeorite detectors, and Geiger counter tubes and a Sodium Iodide scintillator for measurement of cosmic radiation. An experiment attached to one
    9.00
    2 votes
    77
    Venera 14

    Venera 14

    Venera 14 (Russian: Венера-14) was a probe in the Soviet Venera program for the exploration of Venus. Venera 14 was identical to the Venera 13 spacecraft and built to take advantage of the 1981 Venus launch opportunity and launched 5 days apart. It was launched on 4 November 1981 at 05:31:00 UTC and Venera 13 on 30 October 1981 at 06:04:00 UTC, both with an on-orbit dry mass of 760 kg. Each mission consisted of a bus and an attached descent craft. As it flew by Venus the bus acted as a data relay for the lander and then continued on into a heliocentric orbit. It was equipped with a gamma-ray spectrometer, UV grating monochromator, electron and proton spectrometers, gamma-ray burst detectors, solar wind plasma detectors, and two-frequency transmitters which made measurements before, during, and after the Venus flyby. The descent lander was a hermetically sealed pressure vessel, which contained most of the instrumentation and electronics, mounted on a ring-shaped landing platform and topped by an antenna. The design was similar to the earlier Venera 9–12 landers. It carried instruments to take chemical and isotopic measurements, monitor the spectrum of scattered sunlight, and record
    9.00
    2 votes
    78
    Explorer 17

    Explorer 17

    Explorer 17 (also known as Atmosphere Explorer-A (AE-A) and S6) was a United States satellite, launched at Cape Canaveral from LC-17B on a Delta-B booster, on April 3, 1963, to study the Earth's upper atmosphere. It was the first satellite of five Atmosphere Explorers. Explorer 17 was a spin-stabilized sphere 0.95 m in diameter. The spacecraft was vacuum sealed in order to prevent contamination of the local atmosphere. Explorer 17 carried four pressure gauges for the measurement of total neutral particle density, two mass spectrometers for the measurement of certain neutral particle concentrations, and two electrostatic probes for ion concentration and electron temperature measurements. Battery power failed on July 10, 1963. Three of the four pressure gauges and both electrostatic probes operated normally. One spectrometer malfunctioned, and the other operated intermittently. The successful launch and operating of Explorer 17 allowed scientists for the first time to obtain instantaneous atmospheric density measurements using several independent measuring systems, to measure the atmosphere during a single day under nearly constant local time conditions and geomagnetic activity, and
    7.67
    3 votes
    79
    GOES 2

    GOES 2

    GOES 2, known as GOES-B before becoming operational, was a geostationary weather satellite which was operated by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. GOES 2 was built by Ford Aerospace, and was based around the satellite bus developed for the Synchronous Meteorological Satellite programme. At launch it had a mass of 295 kilograms (650 lb). It was positioned in geostationary orbit, from where it was used for weather forecasting in the United States. Following its retirement as a weather satellite, it was used as a communications satellite until its final decommissioning in 2001. GOES-B was launched using a Delta 2914 carrier rocket flying from Launch Complex 17B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 10:51:00 GMT on 16 June 1977. The launch successfully placed GOES-B into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, from which it raised itself to geostationary orbit by means of an onboard SVM-5 apogee motor. Its insertion into geosynchronous orbit occurred at 03:26 GMT on 17 June. Following on-orbit testing, GOES-B was redesignated GOES 2, and replaced SMS-1 at a
    7.67
    3 votes
    80
    Lunar Orbiter 4

    Lunar Orbiter 4

    Lunar Orbiter 4 was designed to take advantage of the fact that the three previous Lunar Orbiters had completed the required needs for Apollo mapping and site selection. It was given a more general objective, to "perform a broad systematic photographic survey of lunar surface features in order to increase the scientific knowledge of their nature, origin, and processes, and to serve as a basis for selecting sites for more detailed scientific study by subsequent orbital and landing missions". It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near polar high lunar orbit for data acquisition. The orbit was 2,706 by 6,111 kilometres (1,681 mi × 3,797 mi) with an inclination of 85.5 degrees and a period of 12 hours. After initial photography on May 11, 1967 problems started occurring with the camera's thermal door, which was not responding well to commands to open and close. Fear that the door could become stuck in the closed position covering the camera lenses led to a decision to leave the door open. This required extra attitude control maneuvers on each
    7.67
    3 votes
    81
    Mariner 8

    Mariner 8

    Mariner-H (Mariner Mars '71), also commonly known as Mariner 8, was (along with Mariner 9) part of the Mariner Mars 71 project. It was intended to go into Mars orbit and return images and data. A launch vehicle failure prevented Mariner 8 from even achieving an Earth orbit and the spacecraft splashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after launch. Mariner 8 was launched on an Atlas-Centaur SLV-3C booster (AC-24). The main Centaur engine was ignited 265 seconds after launch, but the upper stage began to oscillate in pitch and tumbled out of control. The Centaur stage shut down 365 seconds after launch due to starvation caused by the tumbling. The Centaur and spacecraft payload separated and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere approximately 1500 km downrange and fell into the Atlantic Ocean about 560 km north of Puerto Rico. The Mariner Mars 71 project consisted of two spacecraft (Mariners H and I), each of which would be inserted into a Martian orbit, and each of which would perform a separate but complementary mission. Either spacecraft could perform either of the two missions. The two spacecraft would have orbited the planet Mars a minimum of 90 days, during which time data would be
    7.67
    3 votes
    82
    Mars 2

    Mars 2

    The Mars 2 was an unmanned space probe of the Mars program, a series of unmanned Mars landers and orbiters launched by the Soviet Union in the early 1970s. Mars 2 and Mars 3 missions consisted of identical spacecraft, each with an orbiter and an attached lander, they were launched by Proton K heavy launch vehicle with a Blok D upper stage. The lander of Mars 2 became the first man-made object to reach the surface of Mars. The orbiter engine performed a burn to put the spacecraft into a 1380 x 24,940 km, 18 hour orbit about Mars with an inclination of 48.9 degrees. Scientific instruments were generally turned on for about 30 minutes near periapsis. The orbiter primary scientific objectives were to image the Martian surface and clouds, determine the temperature on Mars, study the topography, composition and physical properties of the surface, measure properties of the atmosphere, monitor the solar wind and the interplanetary and Martian magnetic fields, and act as communications relays to send signals from the landers to Earth. By coincidence, a particularly large dust storm on Mars adversely affected the mission. When Mariner 9 arrived and successfully orbited Mars on 14 November
    7.67
    3 votes
    83
    SORCE

    SORCE

    The Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) is a NASA-sponsored satellite mission that provides state-of-the-art measurements of incoming X-ray, ultraviolet, visible, near-infrared, and total solar radiation. The measurements provided by SORCE specifically address long-term climate change, natural variability and enhanced climate prediction, and atmospheric ozone and UV-B radiation. These measurements are critical to studies of the Sun; its effect on our Earth system; and its influence on humankind. SORCE measures the Sun's output with the use of state-of-the-art radiometers, spectrometers, photodiodes, detectors, and bolometers engineered into instruments mounted on a satellite observatory. The SORCE satellite orbits around the Earth accumulating solar data. Spectral measurements identify the irradiance of the Sun by characterizing the Sun's energy and emissions in the form of color that can then be translated into quantities and elements of matter. Data obtained by the SORCE experiment can be used to model the Sun's output and to explain and predict the effect of the Sun's radiation on the Earth's atmosphere and climate. The SORCE spacecraft launched on January 25, 2003 on
    7.67
    3 votes
    84
    Ulysses probe

    Ulysses probe

    Ulysses is a decommissioned robotic space probe that was designed to study the Sun as a joint venture of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). The spacecraft was originally named Odysseus, because of its lengthy and indirect trajectory to near Solar distance. It was renamed Ulysses, the Latin translation of "Odysseus" at ESA's request in honour not only of Homer's mythological hero but also with reference to Dante's description in Dante's Inferno. Originally scheduled for launch in May 1986 aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger. Due to the loss of Challenger, the launch of Ulysses was delayed until October 6, 1990 aboard Discovery (mission STS-41). The spacecraft's mission was to study the Sun at all latitudes. To do this required a major orbital plane shift. Due to velocity change limitations of the Shuttle and the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), this was accomplished by using an encounter with Jupiter to effect the plane change instead of an engine burn. The need for a Jupiter encounter meant that Ulysses could not be powered by solar cells and was powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) instead. By February 2008, the power output from the RTG, which is generated
    7.67
    3 votes
    85
    2013 Mars Science Orbiter

    2013 Mars Science Orbiter

    The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is a collaborative proposal between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) to send a robotic orbiter-carrier to Mars in 2016 as part of the European-led ExoMars mission. The TGO would deliver the ExoMars EDM stationary lander and then proceed to map the sources of methane on Mars and other gases, and in doing so, help select the landing site for the ExoMars rover to be launched on 2018. Investigations with space and Earth-based observatories, have demonstrated the presence of small amounts of methane on the atmosphere of Mars that has been shown to vary with location and time. This may indicate the presence of life on Mars, but may also be produced by a geochemical process, volcanic or hydrothermal activity. The challenge to discern the source of methane in the atmosphere of Mars, prompted the independent planning of two orbiters that would carry instruments in order to determine if its formation is of biological or geological origin, as well as its decomposition products such as formaldehyde and methanol. NASA's Mars Science Orbiter (MSO) was originally envisioned in 2008 as an all NASA endeavor aiming
    10.00
    1 votes
    86
    Dawn

    Dawn

    Dawn is a robotic NASA spacecraft tasked with the exploration and study of Vesta and Ceres, the two largest members of the asteroid belt. Launched on September 27, 2007, the probe entered orbit around Vesta on July 16, 2011. Dawn left Vesta on September 5, 2012, on a course for Ceres, which it is scheduled to reach in February 2015. Managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Dawn is NASA’s first purely exploratory mission to use ion propulsion. The spacecraft was constructed with some European cooperation, with components contributed by partners in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Dawn was the first spacecraft to visit Vesta, and is scheduled to be the first to visit Ceres. If it successfully reaches Ceres, it will also be the first spacecraft to orbit two separate extraterrestrial bodies, using ion thrusters to travel between its targets. Previous multi-target missions using conventional drives, such as the Voyager program, were restricted to flybys. The status of the Dawn mission has changed several times. In December 2003, the project was first cancelled, and then reinstated in February 2004. In October 2005, work on Dawn was placed in "stand down" mode. In January 2006,
    10.00
    1 votes
    87
    Explorer XI

    Explorer XI

    Explorer 11 (also known as S15) was an American Earth-orbital satellite that carried the first space-borne gamma-ray telescope. This was the earliest beginning of space gamma-ray astronomy. Launched on April 27, 1961 by a Juno II rocket the satellite returned data until November 17, when power supply problems ended the science mission. During the spacecraft's seven month lifespan it detected twenty-two events from gamma-rays and approximately 22,000 events from cosmic radiation. The Explorer 11 telescope, developed at MIT under the direction of William L. Kraushaar, used a combination of a sandwich scintillator detector along with a Cherenkov counter to measure the arrival directions and energies of high-energy gamma rays. Since the telescope could not be aimed, the spacecraft was set in a slow spin to scan the celestial sphere. Due to a higher than planned orbit that carried the spacecraft into the detector-jamming radiation of the Van Allen belt, and an early failure of the on-board tape recorder, only 141 hours of useful observing time could be culled from about 7 months during which the instrument operated. During this time thirty-one "gamma-ray signature" events were recorded
    10.00
    1 votes
    88
    Galaxy 25

    Galaxy 25

    Galaxy 25 (G-25) launched in 1997 (formerly known as Intelsat Americas 5 (IA-5) until February 15, 2007 when it was renamed as result of the merger between owner Intelsat and PanAmSat or Telstar 5) is a medium-powered communications satellite formerly in a geostationary orbit at 0°N 97°W / 0°N 97°W / 0; -97, above a point in the Pacific Ocean several hundred miles west of the Galapagos Islands. It was manufactured by Space Systems/Loral, part of its FS-1300 line, and is currently owned and operated by Intelsat. The satellite's main C-band transponder cluster covers the United States, southern Canada, and Mexico; its main Ku band transponder cluster covers the U.S., Mexico, and the northern Caribbean Sea. An additional C-band and a Ku band transponder pair targets the Hawaiian Islands. Galaxy 25 has a projected life of 12 years. It was replaced by Galaxy 19 (formerly IA-9) in late 2008. When it was last in service at 97 degrees west, Galaxy 25 transmitted both free-to-air (FTA) direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting and encrypted subscription channels / services. The replacement satellite, Galaxy 19 was successfully launched on September 24, 2008. Galaxy 25 has been moved to a
    10.00
    1 votes
    89
    GOES 7

    GOES 7

    GOES 7, known as GOES-H before becoming operational, is an American satellite. It was originally built as a weather satellite, and formed part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. Originally built as a ground spare, GOES-H was launched in 1987 due to delays with the next series of satellites. It was operated by NOAA until 1999, before being leased to Peacesat, who use it as a communications satellite. As of 2009, it is operational over the Pacific Ocean, providing communications for the Pacific Islands. GOES-H was launched aboard a McDonnell Douglas Delta 3914 rocket, flying from Launch Complex 17A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 23:05 GMT on 26 February 1987. The launch had originally been scheduled for late 1986, but was delayed after GOES-G failed to achieve orbit. It was built by Hughes Space and Communications, based on the HS-371 satellite bus, and was the last of five GOES-D series satellites to be launched. Following launch, GOES 7 was positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 75° West, where it underwent on-orbit testing before being activated in the
    10.00
    1 votes
    90
    Lunar Orbiter 3

    Lunar Orbiter 3

    The Lunar Orbiter 3 was a spacecraft launched by NASA in 1967, designed primarily to photograph areas of the lunar surface for confirmation of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near-equatorial lunar orbit on February 8 at 21:54 UT. The orbit was 210.2 by 1,801.9 kilometres (130.6 × 1,119.6 mi) with an inclination of 20.9 degrees and a period of 3 hours 25 minutes. After four days (25 orbits) of tracking the orbit was changed to 55 by 1,847 kilometres (34 × 1,148 mi). The spacecraft acquired photographic data from February 15 to February 23, 1967, and readout occurred through March 2, 1967. The film advance mechanism showed erratic behavior during this period resulting in a decision to begin readout of the frames earlier than planned. The frames were read out successfully until March 4 when the film advance motor burned out, leaving about 25% of the frames on the takeup reel, unable to be read. A total of 149 medium resolution and 477 high resolution frames were returned. The frames
    10.00
    1 votes
    91
    Osumi

    Osumi

    Ōsumi (or Ohsumi) is the name of the first Japanese artificial satellite put into orbit, named after the Ōsumi Province in the southern islands of Japan. It was launched on February 11, 1970 at 04:25 UTC with a Lambda 4S-5 rocket from Uchinoura Space Center by Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science, University of Tokyo, now part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Japan became the fourth nation after the USSR, USA and France to release an artificial satellite into successful orbit on its own. The Ōsumi satellite weighed 24.0 kilograms. It orbited the Earth with a perigee of 323 km and an apogee of 2,440 km, and with an inclination of 31.0°. Ōsumi was on the orbit for 33 years. Ōsumi decayed from orbit and burned up in the atmosphere on August 2, 2003.
    10.00
    1 votes
    92
    Pioneer 3

    Pioneer 3

    Pioneer 3 was a spin stabilized spacecraft launched at 05:45:12 UTC on 6 December 1958 by the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency in conjunction with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, using a Juno II rocket. This spacecraft was intended as a lunar probe, but failed to go past the Moon and into a heliocentric orbit as planned, but did reach an altitude of 102,360 km before falling back to the Earth. The revised spacecraft objectives were to measure radiation in the outer Van Allen radiation belt using two Geiger-Müller tubes and to test the trigger mechanism for a lunar photographic experiment. Pioneer 3 was a cone-shaped probe 58 cm high and 25 cm diameter at its base. The cone was composed of a thin fiberglass shell coated with a gold wash to make it electrically conducting and painted with white stripes to maintain the temperature between 10 and 50 degrees Celsius. At the tip of the cone was a small probe which combined with the cone itself to act as an antenna. At the base of the cone a ring of mercury batteries provided power. A photoelectric sensor protruded from the center of the ring. The sensor was designed with two photocells which would be triggered by the
    10.00
    1 votes
    93
    Ranger 9

    Ranger 9

    Ranger 9 was designed to achieve a lunar impact trajectory and to transmit high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The spacecraft carried six television vidicon cameras, 2 wide angle (channel F, cameras A and B) and 4 narrow angle (channel P) to accomplish these objectives. The cameras were arranged in two separate chains, or channels, each self-contained with separate power supplies, timers, and transmitters so as to afford the greatest reliability and probability of obtaining high-quality Television pictures. No other experiments were carried on the spacecraft. Rangers 6, 7, 8, and 9 were the so-called Block 3 versions of the Ranger spacecraft. The spacecraft consisted of a hexagonal aluminum frame base 1.5 m across on which was mounted the propulsion and power units, topped by a truncated conical tower which held the TV cameras. Two solar panel wings, each 739 mm wide by 1537 mm long, extended from opposite edges of the base with a full span of 4.6 m, and a pointable high gain dish antenna was hinge mounted at one of the corners of the base away from the solar panels. A cylindrical quasiomnidirectional antenna was seated
    10.00
    1 votes
    94
    AGILE

    AGILE

    AGILE (Astro‐rivelatore Gamma a Immagini LEggero) is an X-ray and Gamma ray astronomical satellite of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). AGILE mission is aimed to the observation of the Gamma-Ray sources in the universe. The AGILE’s instrumentation combines a gamma-ray imager (GRID) (sensitive in the energy range 30 MeV-50 GeV), a hard X-ray imager and monitor: Super- AGILE (sensitive in the range 18-60 KeV), a calorimeter (sensitive in the range 350 KeV-100 MeV) (MCAL), and an anticoincidence system (AC), based on plastic scintillator. AGILE was successfully launched on 2007, April 23 from the Indian base of Sriharikota and was inserted in an equatorial orbit with low particle background. SuperAGILE (SA) is an imaging instrument based on a set of four independent silicon strip detectors, equipped with one-dimensional coded mask, SA is designed to detect X-Ray signals from known sources and also burst like signals providing long-term monitoring in terms of flux and spectral features. Also MCAL can effectively detect high-energy radiation bursts in its energy band. Some of the AGILE detected transient events are associated to positions not consistent with a known source in the sky
    6.50
    4 votes
    95
    TDRS-1

    TDRS-1

    TDRS-1, known before launch as TDRS-A, is an American communications satellite which is operated by NASA as part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. It was constructed by TRW and launched by Space Shuttle Challenger on its maiden flight, STS-6. While on the pad, problems were detected with the Shuttle's main engines and repairs were begun. During this time a severe storm caused contamination of the TDRS-1 while it was in the Payload Change-out Room on the Rotating Service Structure at the launch pad. Consequently, the satellite had to be taken back to its checkout facility, where it was cleaned and rechecked. Challenger finally lifted off from Launch Complex 39A of the Kennedy Space Center at 18:30:00 GMT on 4 April 1983. Following deployment from Challenger, TDRS-1 was to be raised to its operational geosynchronous orbit by means of an Inertial Upper Stage, which consisted of two solid rocket motors, the first used to raise the orbit's apogee, the second its perigee. The first burn was successful, however the IUS went out of control during the second burn. TDRS-1 separated from the upper stage in a lower than planned orbit. It was eventually raised to geosynchronous
    6.50
    4 votes
    96
    Advanced Composition Explorer

    Advanced Composition Explorer

    Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) is a NASA Explorer program Solar and space exploration mission to study matter comprising energetic particles from the solar wind, the interplanetary medium, and other sources. Real-time data from ACE is used by the Space Weather Prediction Center to improve forecasts and warnings of solar storms. The ACE robotic spacecraft was launched August 25, 1997 and is currently operating in a Lissajous orbit close to the L1 Lagrange point (which lies between the Sun and the Earth at a distance of some 1.5 million km from the latter). The spacecraft is still in generally good condition, and has enough fuel to maintain its orbit until 2024. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center managed the development and integration of the ACE spacecraft. Cosmic Ray Isotope Spectrometer (CRIS): CRIS determines the isotope composition of galactic cosmic rays. It is designed to be sensitive enough to detect isotopes up to the range of zinc (Z-30). ACE Real Time Solar Wind (RTSW): Solar Wind Ion Mass Spectrometer (SWIMS) and Solar Wind Ion Composition Spectrometer (SWICS): These two instruments are time-of-flight mass spectrometers, each tuned for a different set of measurements.
    8.50
    2 votes
    97
    EXPRESS Logistics Carrier

    EXPRESS Logistics Carrier

    An ExPRESS logistics carrier (ELC) is an unpressurized attached payload platform for the International Space Station (ISS) that provides mechanical mounting surfaces, electrical power, and command and data handling services for Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs) as well as science experiments on the ISS. ("ExPRESS" stands for Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station.) The ELCs were developed primarily at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, with support from JSC, KSC, and MSFC. ELC was formerly called "Express Pallet" and is the unpressurized counterpart to the pressurized ExPRESS Rack. An ELC provides scientists with a platform and infrastructure to deploy experiments in the vacuum of space without requiring a separate dedicated Earth-orbiting satellite. ELCs interface directly with the ISS integrated truss common attach system (CAS). The P3 Truss has two such attach points called Unpressurised Cargo Carrier Attachment System (UCCAS) mechanisms, one facing zenith (space facing) called UCCAS-1, the other facing nadir (earth facing) called UCCAS-2. Whereas the S3 Truss has four similar locations called Payload Attachment System (PAS) mechanisms,
    8.50
    2 votes
    98
    IXV

    IXV

    • Manufacturer: NGL Prime SpA
    The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) is a European Space Agency (ESA) experimental re-entry vehicle intended to validate European reusable launchers which could be evaluated in the frame of the FLPP program. The IXV development would be carried out under the leadership of the NGL Prime SpA company. It would inherit of the principles of previous studies such as CNES' Pre-X and ESA's AREV. IXV uses a lifting body arrangement with no wings of any sort, using two movable flaps for re-entry flight control. Re-entry is accomplished in a nose-high attitude like the Space Shuttle, with maneuvering accomplished by rolling out-of-plane and then lifting in that direction, like an aircraft. Landing is accomplished by parachutes ejected through the top of the vehicle. The airframe is based on a traditional hot-structure/cold-structure arrangement, and is supported on-orbit by a separate maneuvering and support module similar to the Resource Module intended for the Hermes. On December 18, 2009, ESA announced a contract with Thales Alenia Space valued at 39.4 million euros to cover 18 months of preliminary IXV work. Initially scheduled to make its first orbiting flight in 2013, the current
    8.50
    2 votes
    99
    PharmaSat

    PharmaSat

    PharmaSat is a nanosatellite developed by NASA Ames Research Center which measures the influence of microgravity upon yeast resistance to an antifungal agent. As a follow on to the highly successful GeneSat-1 Mission, the Ames Small Spacecraft Division is collaborating with industry and local universities to develop the next-generation fully automated, miniaturized triple cubesat spaceflight system for biological payloads. PharmaSat is the first nanosatellite to implement PI (Principal Investigator) guided biological science. The mission is designed to answer questions key to countermeasure development for long-term space travel and habitation. The PharmaSat mission builds upon the extensive technology development program and recent flight heritage of GeneSat-1. GeneSat-1 combined innovative miniaturization and integration strategies with recent developments in microfluidics and optics in a free-flying satellite, self-powered and weighing 5 kg. It provided life-support, growth, monitoring, and analysis capabilities for microorganisms. Retrofitting GeneSat-1 to save significant cost and schedule, PharmaSat accomplished five critical functions in an autonomous free-flyer
    8.50
    2 votes
    100
    Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer

    Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer

    The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) is a satellite that observes the time structure of astronomical X-ray sources, named after Bruno Rossi. The RXTE has three instruments—the Proportional Counter Array, the High-Energy X-ray Timing Experiment (HEXTE), and the All Sky Monitor. The RXTE observes X-rays from black holes, neutron stars, X-ray pulsars and X-ray bursts. It was funded as part of the Explorer program, and is sometimes also called Explorer 69. RXTE was launched from Cape Canaveral on 30 December 1995 on a Delta rocket, has an International Designator of 1995-074A and a mass of 3200 kg. Observations from the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer have been used as evidence for the existence of the frame-dragging effect predicted by the theory of general relativity. RXTE results have, as of late 2007, been used in more than 1400 scientific papers. In January 2006 it was announced that Rossi had been used to locate a candidate intermediate-mass black hole named M82 X-1. In February 2006 data from RXTE was used to prove that the diffuse background X-ray glow in our galaxy comes from innumerable, previously undetected white dwarfs and from other stars' coronae. In April 2008 RXTE data
    8.50
    2 votes
    101
    AO-51

    AO-51

    AO-51 is the in-orbit name designation of a LEO amateur radio satellite of the OSCAR series; formerly known as ECHO, built by AMSAT. It was launched on June 29, 2004 from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on a Dnepr launch vehicle. It is in sun synchronous low Earth orbit. AO-51 contains an FM repeater with both 144 MHz (V band) and 1.2 GHz (L band) uplinks and 435 MHz (U band) and 2.4 GHz (S band) downlinks. It also contains a digital subsystem that transmits telemetry on 70 cm and provides a complete PACSAT BBS that can be configured on both V band and S band uplinks. As well, there is a 10 meter PSK uplink. AO-51 has four VHF receivers, two UHF transmitters, six modems, and 56 channels of telemetry. The two UHF transmitters are connected to four phased antennas, yielding right-hand circular polarization for the 435.300 downlink and left-hand circular polarization for the 435.150 downlink. The AO-51 FM satellite is easily workable with an amateur radio VHF dual band hand-held radio, as long as you know when the satellite's footprint is within reach. Transatlantic contacts have been made without much effort, as long as the satellite is approximately mid-Atlantic so that the edge of
    7.33
    3 votes
    102
    Hiten

    Hiten

    The Hiten Spacecraft (Japanese pronunciation: [hiteɴ]), given the English name Celestial Maiden and known before launch as MUSES-A (Mu Space Engineering Spacecraft A), part of the MUSES Program, was built by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of Japan and launched on January 24, 1990. It was Japan's first lunar probe, the first robotic lunar probe since the Soviet Union's Luna 24 in 1976, and the first lunar probe launched by a country other than the Soviet Union or the United States. Hiten was to have been placed into a highly-elliptical Earth orbit with an apogee of 476,000 km, which would swing past the moon. However, the injection took place with a delta-v deficit of 50 m/s, resulting in an apogee of only 290,000 km. The deficiency was corrected and the probe continued on its mission. On the first lunar swing-by, Hiten released a small orbiter, Hagoromo (named after the feather mantle of Hiten), into lunar orbit. The transmitter on Hagoromo failed, but its orbit was visually confirmed from Earth. After the eighth swing-by, Hiten successfully demonstrated the aerobraking technique on March 19, 1991. This was the first aerobraking maneuver by a deep space probe.
    7.33
    3 votes
    103
    Phobos program

    Phobos program

    The Phobos (Greek: Φόβος, Russian: Фобос, Fobos) program was an unmanned space mission consisting of two probes launched by the Soviet Union to study Mars and its moons Phobos and Deimos. Phobos 1 was launched on July 7, 1988, and Phobos 2 on July 12, 1988, each aboard a Proton-K rocket. Phobos 1 suffered a terminal failure en route to Mars. Phobos 2 attained Mars orbit and returned 38 images with a resolution of up to 40 meters, but contact was lost prior to deployment of a planned Phobos lander. Phobos 1 and 2 were of a new spacecraft design, succeeding the type used in the Venera planetary missions of 1975–1985, last used during the Vega 1 and Vega 2 missions to comet Halley. They each had a mass of 2600 kg (6220 kg with orbital insertion hardware attached). The program featured co-operation from 14 other nations, including Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, France, West Germany, and the United States (which contributed the use of its Deep Space Network for tracking the twin spacecraft). The objectives of the Phobos missions were to: The main section of the spacecraft consisted of a pressurized toroidal electronics section, surrounding a modular cylindrical experiment section. Below
    7.33
    3 votes
    104
    Uhuru

    Uhuru

    Uhuru was the first satellite launched specifically for the purpose of X-ray astronomy. It was also known as the X-ray Explorer Satellite, SAS-A (for "Small Astronomy Satellite" A, being first of the three-spacecraft SAS series), SAS 1, or Explorer 42. The observatory was launched on 12 December 1970 into an initial orbit of about 560 km apogee, 520 km perigee, 3 degrees inclination, with a period of 96 minutes. The mission ended in March 1973. Uhuru was a scanning mission, with a spin period of ~12 minutes. It performed the first comprehensive survey of the entire sky for X-ray sources, with a sensitivity of about 0.001 times the intensity of the Crab nebula. The main objectives of the mission were: The payload consisted of two sets of proportional counters, each with ~0.084 m effective area. The counters were sensitive with more than 10% efficiency to X-ray photons in the ~2-20 keV range. The lower energy limit was determined by the attenuation of the beryllium windows of the counter plus a thin thermal shroud that was needed to maintain temperature stability of the spacecraft. The upper energy limit was determined by the transmission properties of the counter filling gas.
    7.33
    3 votes
    105
    Mariner 6 and 7

    Mariner 6 and 7

    As part of NASA's wider Mariner program, Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 (Mariner Mars 69A and Mariner Mars 69B) completed the first dual mission to Mars in 1969. Mariner 6 was launched from Launch Complex 36B at Cape Kennedy and Mariner 7 from Launch Complex 36A at Cape Kennedy. The craft flew over the equator and south polar regions, analyzing the atmosphere and the surface with remote sensors, and recording and relaying hundreds of pictures. The mission's goals were to study the surface and atmosphere of Mars during close flybys, in order to establish the basis for future investigations, particularly those relevant to the search for extraterrestrial life, and to demonstrate and develop technologies required for future Mars missions. Mariner 6 also had the objective of providing experience and data which would be useful in programming the Mariner 7 encounter 5 days later. On July 29, 1969, less than a week before closest approach, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory lost contact with Mariner 7. The center regained the signal via the backup low-gain antenna and were able to start using the high gain antenna again shortly after Mariner 6's close encounter. It was thought leaking gases from a
    6.25
    4 votes
    106
    Venus Express

    Venus Express

    Venus Express (VEX) is the first Venus exploration mission of the European Space Agency. Launched in November 2005, it arrived at Venus in April 2006 and has been continuously sending back science data from its polar orbit around Venus. Equipped with seven scientific instruments, the main objective of the mission is the long term observation of the Venusian atmosphere. The observation over such long periods of time has never been done in previous missions to Venus, and is key to a better understanding of the atmospheric dynamics. It is hoped that such studies can contribute to an understanding of atmospheric dynamics in general, while also contributing to an understanding of climate change on Earth. The mission is currently funded by ESA until 31 December 2014. The mission was proposed in 2001 to reuse the design of the Mars Express mission. However, some mission characteristics led to design changes: primarily in the areas of thermal control, communications and electrical power. For example, since Mars is approximately twice as far from the Sun as Venus is, the radiant heating of the spacecraft will be four times greater for Venus Express than Mars Express. Also, the ionizing
    6.25
    4 votes
    107
    Freja

    Freja

    FREJA was a Swedish satellite developed by the Swedish Space Corporation on behalf of the Swedish National Space Board. It was piggyback launched on a Long March 2C launch vehicle from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China on October 6, 1992. The satellite total cost was 19 million U.S. dollars, excluding the costs for experiments. It was funded with Swedish tax money through the Swedish National Space Board, donations from the Wallenberg Foundation and approximately 25% from the German Ministry for Science and Technology.
    7.00
    3 votes
    108
    Mars Sample Return Mission

    Mars Sample Return Mission

    A Mars sample return mission (MSR) would be a spaceflight mission to collect rock and dust samples from Mars and to return them to Earth for analysis. According to Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society, Mars sample return is often described by the planetary science community as the "holy grail" of robotic space missions, due to its high expected scientific return-on-investment. Over time several missions were planned but none of the proposed missions got beyond the planning phase. The three latest proposals for a MSR mission are a NASA-ESA proposal, a Russian proposal, Mars-Grunt, and a Chinese proposal. MSR was highest priority in the Planetary Decadal Survey 2013-2022: The Future of Planetary Science. Due to budget limitations the MAX-C mission, which was the first NASA-ESA mission leading to a MSR, was canceled. With no chance for cashing before 2022 a NASA-ESA sample return is pushed back to a later undetermined date. Nonetheless, in September 2012, NASA announced plans to further study several strategies of returning a sample of Mars to Earth - including a multiple launch scenario, a single launch scenario and a multiple rovers scenario - for a mission
    7.00
    3 votes
    109
    Orion

    Orion

    • Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin
    The "Orion" Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is a planned beyond-low-earth-orbit manned spacecraft that is being built by Lockheed Martin for NASA based on designs and tests already completed as part of the now-cancelled Constellation program, development for which began in 2005 as the Crew Exploration Vehicle. The MPCV was announced by NASA on 24 May 2011. The MPCV's debut unmanned multi-hour test flight, known as Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1), is scheduled for a launch aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket in 2014. The first manned mission is expected to take place after 2020. Each Orion spacecraft is projected to carry a crew of four astronauts. The spacecraft was originally designed to be launched by the Ares I launch vehicle. On 11 October 2010, with the cancellation of the Constellation Program, the Ares program ended and development of the original Orion vehicle was renamed as the MPCV, planned to be launched on top of an alternative Space Launch System. The Obama Administration's proposed cancellation of the Constellation program began in February 2010 and was signed into law 11 October. The MPCV is being developed for crewed missions to the moon, an asteroid and then to
    7.00
    3 votes
    110
    Sputnik 2

    Sputnik 2

    Sputnik 2 (Russian pronunciation: [ˈsputʲnʲək], Russian: Спутник-2, Satellite 2), or 'Prosteyshiy Sputnik 2 (PS-2, Russian: Простейший Спутник 2 Elementary Satellite 2)), was the second spacecraft launched into Earth orbit, on November 3, 1957, and the first to carry a living animal, a dog named Laika. Sputnik 2 was a 4-metre (13 foot) high cone-shaped capsule with a base diameter of 2 metres (6.6 feet). It contained several compartments for radio transmitters, a telemetry system, a programming unit, a regeneration and temperature control system for the cabin, and scientific instruments. A separate sealed cabin contained the dog Laika. Engineering and biological data were transmitted using the Tral D telemetry system, which would transmit data to Earth for a 15 minute period during each orbit. Two photometers were on board for measuring solar radiation (ultraviolet and x-ray emissions) and cosmic rays. Sputnik 2 did not contain a television camera; TV images of dogs on Korabl-Sputnik 2 are commonly misidentified as Laika. Sputnik 2, known to Korolev's design bureau as""Prosteyshiy Sputnik-2" means "Simple Satellite 2," was launched into a 212 × 1660 km (132 × 1031 mi) orbit with a
    7.00
    3 votes
    111
    TacSat-1

    TacSat-1

    TacSat-1 is an experimental satellite built by the Naval Research Laboratory on behalf of the United States Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Force Transformation (OFT). The second satellite in the series, TacSat-2, has already been launched. It is the planned payload of the sixth launch of the SpaceX Falcon 1. TacSat-1 will carry a variety of experimental payloads. Much of the payload software is implemented through the use of bash scripts operating on the "Copperfield-2" general-purpose computer system aboard the spacecraft. The TacSat series of experimental spacecraft are designed to allow military commanders on a battlefield to request and obtain imagery and other data from a satellite as it passes overhead. Collected data will be delivered to field commanders in minutes rather than hours or days. The sensor on TacSat-1 can collect color images sharp enough to distinguish ground objects as small as 1 meter in diameter. TacSat-1 was initially planned for launch in January 2004, but delays in Falcon 1 becoming operational precluded this date. It was initially scheduled to fly on the maiden flight of the Falcon 1, but technical problems led to another Falcon 1, with
    7.00
    3 votes
    112
    TacSat-3

    TacSat-3

    TacSat-3 was the third in a series of U.S. military reconnaissance satellites. It was assembled in an Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate facility at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. The TacSat satellites are all designed to demonstrate the ability to provide real-time data collected from space to combatant commanders in the field. TacSat-3 includes three distinct payloads: the Advanced Responsive Tactically Effective Military Imaging Spectrometer (ARTEMIS) hyperspectral imager, the Ocean Data Telemetry Microsatellite Link and the Space Avionics Experiment. TacSat-3 uses a standard satellite bus developed and provided by ATK. The payload consists of a two mirror Ritchey–Chrétien telescope plus correction optics, with a focus device incorporated in the secondary mirror unit, and with a slit Offner spectrometer. The spectrometer uses the ARTEMIS hyperspectral imaging sensor (HSI), which is a single HgCdTe Focal Plane Array covering the entire V/NIR/SWIR spectrum from 400 nm to 2500 nm at a uniform resolution of 5 nm. ARTEMIS measures first the spectral information at each point on the ground in 400 spectral channels. HSI data cubes obtained by ARTEMIS are
    7.00
    3 votes
    113
    Venera 16

    Venera 16

    Venera 16 (Russian: Венера-16) was a spacecraft sent to Venus by the Soviet Union. This unmanned orbiter was to map the surface of Venus using high resolution imaging systems. The spacecraft was identical to Venera 15 and based on modifications to the earlier Venera space probes. Venera 16 was launched on June 7, 1983 at 02:32:00 UTC and reached Venus' orbit on October 11, 1983. The spacecraft was inserted into Venus orbit a day apart from Venera 15, with its orbital plane shifted by an angle of approximately 4° relative to one another probe. This made it possible to reimage an area if necessary. The spacecraft was in a nearly polar orbit with a periapsis ~1000 km, at 62°N latitude, and apoapsis ~65000 km, with an inclination ~90°, the orbital period being ~24 hours. Together with Venera 15, the spacecraft imaged the area from the north pole down to about 30°N latitude (i.e. approx. 25% of Venus surface) over the 8 months of mapping operations. The Venera 15 and 16 spacecraft were identical and were based on modifications to the orbiter portions of the Venera 9 and Venera 14 probes. Each spacecraft consisted of a 5 m long cylinder with a 0.6 m diameter, 1.4 m tall parabolic dish
    7.00
    3 votes
    114
    Wide Field Infrared Explorer

    Wide Field Infrared Explorer

    The Wide Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) was a satellite launched on 5 March 1999 on the Pegasus XL rocket into a polar orbit between 409 km and 426 km above the Earth's surface. WIRE was intended to be a four-month infrared survey of the entire sky at 21-27 micrometres and 9-15 micrometres, specifically focusing on starburst galaxies and luminous protogalaxies. The science team was based at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center in Pasadena, California. Flight operations, integration, and testing were from Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The telescope was built by Space Dynamics Laboratories in Utah. Premature ejection of the spacecraft aperture cover led to depletion of the solid hydrogen cryogen shortly after launch, ending the primary science mission. The onboard star tracker remained functional, and has been used for long-term precision photometric monitoring of bright stars in support of an asteroseismology program. On May 10, 2011 (around 07:00 GMT) WIRE reentered Earth's atmosphere, according to the mission website. A design flaw in the spacecraft control electronics caused the telescope dust cover to eject prematurely in its first few hours on-orbit, exposing
    5.20
    5 votes
    115
    RADARSAT-1

    RADARSAT-1

    Radarsat-1 is Canada's first commercial Earth observation satellite. It was launched at 14h22 UTC on November 4, 1995 from Vandenberg AFB in California, into a sun-synchronous orbit (dawn-dusk) above the Earth with an altitude of 798 kilometers and inclination of 98.6 degrees. Developed under the management of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in cooperation with Canadian provincial governments and the private sector, it provides images of the Earth for both scientific and commercial applications. Radarsat-1's images are useful in many fields, including agriculture, cartography, hydrology, forestry, oceanography, geology, ice and ocean monitoring, arctic surveillance, and detecting ocean oil slicks. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) provided the Delta II rocket to launch Radarsat-1 in exchange for access to its data. Estimates are that the project, excluding launch, cost $620 million (Canadian). The Canadian federal government contributed about $500 million, the four participating provinces (Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia) about $57 million, and the private sector about $63 million. Radarsat International, Inc. (RSI), a Canadian private company,
    6.00
    4 votes
    116
    Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer

    Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer

    The Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer (FAST) was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on board a Pegasus XL rocket on August 21, 1996. One in the series of NASA's Small Explorer (SMEX) spacecraft, FAST was designed to observe and measure the plasma physics of the auroral phenomena which occur around both poles of the Earth. It is operated by the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory. The explorer was launched few days before the launch of the Interball aurora probe, whose objective was to study the aurora processes in conjunction with another probe located in the magnetotail. FAST supported the THEMIS mission in 2008 and 2009. Normal operations ended on May 1st 2009. After that, some limited operations and engineering tests continued.
    8.00
    2 votes
    117
    Lunar Orbiter 1

    Lunar Orbiter 1

    The Lunar Orbiter 1 robotic (unmanned) spacecraft, part of the Lunar Orbiter Program, was designed primarily to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in an Earth parking orbit on August 10, 1966 at 19:31 (UTC). The Trans lunar injection burn occurred at 20:04 (UTC). The spacecraft experienced a temporary failure of the Canopus star tracker (probably due to stray sunlight) and overheating during its cruise to the Moon. The star tracker problem was resolved by navigating using the Moon as a reference and the overheating was abated by orienting the spacecraft 36 degrees off-Sun to lower the temperature. Lunar Orbiter 1 was injected into an elliptical near-equatorial lunar orbit 92.1 hours after launch. The initial orbit was 189.1 by 1,866.8 kilometres (117.5 × 1,160.0 mi) and had a period of 3 hours 37 minutes and an inclination of 12.2 degrees. On August 21 perilune was dropped to 58 kilometres (36 mi) and on August 25 to 40.5 kilometres (25.2 mi). The spacecraft
    8.00
    2 votes
    118
    Mars Express

    Mars Express

    Mars Express is a space exploration mission being conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA). The Mars Express mission is exploring the planet Mars, and is the first planetary mission attempted by the agency. "Express" originally referred to the speed and efficiency with which the spacecraft was designed and built. However "Express" also describes the spacecraft's relatively short interplanetary voyage, a result of being launched when the orbits of Earth and Mars brought them closer than they had been in about 60,000 years. Mars Express consists of two parts, the Mars Express Orbiter and the Beagle 2, a lander designed to perform exobiology and geochemistry research. Although the lander failed to land safely on the Martian surface, the orbiter has been successfully performing scientific measurements since early 2004, namely, high-resolution imaging and mineralogical mapping of the surface, radar sounding of the subsurface structure down to the permafrost, precise determination of the atmospheric circulation and composition, and study of the interaction of the atmosphere with the interplanetary medium. Due to the valuable science return and the highly flexible mission profile,
    8.00
    2 votes
    119
    Moon Mineralogy Mapper

    Moon Mineralogy Mapper

    The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M) is one of two instruments that NASA contributed to India's first mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1, launched October 22, 2008. The instrument is led by principal investigator Carle Pieters of Brown University, and managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. M is an imaging spectrometer that has provided the first high-resolution spatial and spectral map of the entire lunar surface, revealing the minerals of which it is made. This information will both provide clues to the early development of the solar system and guide future astronauts to stores of precious resources. This instrument is a Discovery Program "Mission of Opportunity" (a NASA-designed instrument on board another space agency's spacecraft). After suffering from several technical issues including failure of the star sensors and poor thermal shielding, Chandrayaan-1 stopped sending radio signals at 1:30 AM IST on 29 August 2009 shortly after which, the ISRO officially declared the mission over. Chandrayaan-1 operated for 312 days as opposed to the intended two years but the mission achieved 95 percent of its planned objectives, including mapping over 95% of the lunar surface with the M
    8.00
    2 votes
    120
    Phoenix

    Phoenix

    Phoenix was a robotic spacecraft on a space exploration mission on Mars under the Mars Scout Program. The Phoenix lander descended on Mars on May 25, 2008. Mission scientists used instruments aboard the lander to search for environments suitable for microbial life on Mars, and to research the history of water there. The multi-agency program was headed by the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, under the direction of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The program was a partnership of universities in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates (MDA) and other aerospace companies. It was the first mission to Mars led by a public university in NASA history. It was led directly from the University of Arizona's campus in Tucson, with project management at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and project development at Lockheed Martin in Denver, Colorado. The operational funding for the mission extended through November 10, 2008. Phoenix was NASA's sixth successful landing out of seven
    8.00
    2 votes
    121
    Pioneer 6, 7, 8, and 9

    Pioneer 6, 7, 8, and 9

    Pioneer 6, 7, 8, and 9 were space probes in the Pioneer program. Together, they formed a series of solar-orbiting, spin-stabilized, solar-cell and battery-powered satellites designed to obtain measurements on a continuing basis of interplanetary phenomena from widely separated points in space. They were also known as Pioneer A, B, C, and D. The fifth (Pioneer E) was lost in a launch accident. Pioneers 6, 7, 8, and 9 were created to make the first detailed, comprehensive measurements of the solar wind, solar magnetic field and cosmic rays. They were designed to measure large scale magnetic phenomena and particles and fields in interplanetary space. Data from the vehicles has been used to better understand stellar processes and the structure and flow of the solar wind. The vehicles also acted as the world's first space-based solar weather network, providing practical data on solar storms which impact communications and power on Earth. The experiments studied the positive ions (cations) and electrons in the solar wind, the interplanetary electron density (radio propagation experiment), solar and galactic cosmic rays, and the Interplanetary Magnetic Field. Each craft was identical,
    8.00
    2 votes
    122
    Space Shuttle Challenger

    Space Shuttle Challenger

    Space Shuttle Challenger (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-099) was NASA's second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service, Columbia having been the first. The shuttle was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division in Downey, California. Its maiden flight was on April 4, 1983, and it completed nine missions before breaking apart 73 seconds after the launch of its tenth mission, STS-51-L on January 28, 1986, resulting in the death of all seven crew members. It was the first of two shuttles (the other being Columbia) to be destroyed. The accident led to a two-and-a-half year grounding of the shuttle fleet, with missions resuming in 1988 with the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-26. Challenger itself was replaced by the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which first launched in May 1992 and was constructed from structural spares that had been ordered by NASA as part of the construction contracts for Discovery and Atlantis. Challenger was named after HMS Challenger, a British corvette that was the command ship for the Challenger Expedition, a pioneering global marine research expedition undertaken from 1872 through 1876. The Apollo 17 lunar module
    8.00
    2 votes
    123
    Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite

    Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite

    • Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin Space Systems
    The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) was a NASA-operated orbital observatory whose mission was to study the Earth’s atmosphere, particularly the protective ozone layer. The 5,900-kilogram (13,000 lb) satellite was deployed from Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-48 mission on 15 September 1991. It entered Earth's orbit at an operational altitude of 600 kilometres (370 mi), with an orbital inclination of 57 degrees. The original mission duration was to be only three years, but was extended several times. When the mission finally ended in June 2005 due to funding cuts, 14 years after the satellite's launch, six of its ten instruments were still operational. A final orbit-lowering burn was performed in early December 2005 to prepare the satellite for deorbit. On 26 October 2010, the International Space Station performed a debris-avoidance maneuver in response to a conjunction with UARS. The decommissioned satellite re-entered Earth's atmosphere on 24 September 2011. Considerable media attention surrounded the event, largely due to NASA's predictions that substantial parts of the satellite might reach the ground, potentially endangering inhabited areas. However, the
    8.00
    2 votes
    124
    USA 193

    USA 193

    USA-193, also known as NRO launch 21 (NROL-21 or simply L-21), was an American military spy satellite launched on December 14, 2006. It was the first launch conducted by the United Launch Alliance. Owned by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the craft's precise function and purpose were classified. The satellite malfunctioned shortly after deployment, and was intentionally destroyed 14 months later on February 21, 2008, by a modified, $9.5 million SM-3 missile fired from the warship USS Lake Erie, stationed west of Hawaii. The event highlighted growing distrust between the U.S. and China, and was viewed by some to be part of a wider "space race" involving the U.S., China, and Russia. USA-193 was part of the NRO's Future Imagery Architecture, which was begun in 1997 to produce a fleet of inexpensive reconnaissance satellites, but has become the agency's most spectacular failure. USA-193 was initially developed by Boeing, which won the contract in 1999, beating out Lockheed Martin with proposals for innovative electro-optics and radar. But after cost overruns, delays, and parts failures, NRO sent the contract to Lockheed, which built USA-193 around the Boeing radar design.
    8.00
    2 votes
    125
    Discoverer 1

    Discoverer 1

    Discoverer 1 was the first of a series of satellites which were part of the Corona reconnaissance satellite program. It was launched on a Thor-Agena rocket on February 28, 1959 at 1:49 PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It was a prototype of the KH-1 satellite, but did not contain either a camera or a film capsule.. It was the first satellite launched toward the South Pole in an attempt to achieve polar orbit, but was unsuccessful. A CIA report, later declassified, concluded that "Today, most people believe the DISCOVERER I landed somewhere near the South Pole." Corona (satellite)
    9.00
    1 votes
    126
    European Lunar Explorer

    European Lunar Explorer

    The European Lunar Explorer (ELE) or European Lunar Lander (ELL) is a Romanian Lunar lander. It is being developed by ARCA, as an entrant for the Google Lunar X-Prize. Fully fuelled, it has a mass of 400 kilograms, including two upper stages that will be used to propel it from low Earth orbit onto a trajectory towards the Moon. The lander itself has a monopropellent cold rocket engine, fuelled by hydrogen peroxide, which will be used to slow its descent towards the surface of the Moon. The target landing site is Montes Carpatus. After landing, the spacecraft is designed to travel 500 metres in order to explore its landing site. ELL is the part of the spacecraft that will actually land on the Moon, while ELE is the complete spacecraft, including the two stages that will propel it from low Earth orbit to a trans-lunar trajectory.
    9.00
    1 votes
    127
    Explorer 7

    Explorer 7

    Explorer 7 (1959-009A) was launched October 13, 1959 at 10:36 a.m. Eastern Time by a Juno II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to an orbit of 573 km by 1073 km and inclination of 50.27°. It was designed to measure solar x-ray and Lyman-alpha flux, trapped energetic particles, and heavy primary cosmic rays. Also Secondary objectives included collecting data on micrometeoroid penetration and molecular sputtering and studying the earth-atmosphere heat balance. The Explorer 7 micrometeorite impacts studies can be found under the NASA paper "RESULTS OF MICROMETEORITE PENETRATION EXPERIMENT ON THE EXPLORER VII SATELLITE[1959 IOTA] LaGow and L. Secretan Goddard Space Flight Center Significantly, it also carried Verner Suomi's flat-plate radiometer, improved with the help of Robert Parent, that took the first Earth radiation budget measurements from space and initiated the era of satellite studies of the climate. Using both satellite observations of the Earth's heat balance and atmospheric cooling rates measured by net flux radiosondes, Suomi established the important role played by clouds in absorbing radiated solar energy. These observations established that Earth’s energy
    9.00
    1 votes
    128
    Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment

    Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment

    The Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE), a joint mission of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, has been making detailed measurements of Earth's gravity field since its launch in March 2002. Gravity is determined by mass. By measuring gravity, GRACE shows how mass is distributed around the planet and how it varies over time. Data from the GRACE satellites is an important tool for studying Earth's ocean, geology, and climate. GRACE is a collaborative endeavor involving the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas, Austin; NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the German Space Agency and Germany's National Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is responsible for the overall mission management under the NASA ESSP program. The principal investigator is Dr. Byron Tapley of the University of Texas Center for Space Research, and the co-principal investigator is Dr. Christoph Reigber of the GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) Potsdam. The GRACE satellites were launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia on a Rockot (SS-19 + Breeze upper stage) launch vehicle, on March 17, 2002. The monthly gravity maps generated by Grace are up
    9.00
    1 votes
    129
    LAGEOS

    LAGEOS

    LAGEOS, or Laser Geodynamics Satellites, are a series of scientific research satellites designed to provide an orbiting laser ranging benchmark for geodynamical studies of the Earth. Each satellite is a high density passive laser reflector in a very stable medium Earth orbit (MEO). The spacecraft are aluminum-covered brass spheres with a diameter of 60 cm and masses of 400 and 411 kg, covered with 426 cube-corner retroreflectors, giving them the appearance of giant golf balls. They have no on-board sensors or electronics, and are not attitude-controlled. They orbit at an altitude of 5,900 kilometres (3,700 mi), well above low earth orbit and well below geostationary orbit at orbital inclinations of 109.8 and 52.6 degrees. Measurements are made by transmitting pulsed laser beams from Earth ground stations to the satellites. The laser beams then return to Earth after hitting the reflecting surfaces; the travel times are precisely measured, permitting ground stations in different parts of the Earth to measure their separations to better than one inch in thousands of miles. The LAGEOS satellites make it possible to determine positions of points on the Earth with extremely high accuracy
    9.00
    1 votes
    130
    Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

    Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a NASA robotic spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon on a low 50 km polar mapping orbit. The LRO mission is a precursor to future manned missions to the Moon by NASA. To this end a detailed mapping program will identify safe landing sites, locate potential resources on the Moon, characterize the radiation environment, and demonstrate new technology. The probe will make a 3-D map of the Moon's surface and has provided some of the first images of Apollo equipment left on the Moon. The first images from LRO were published on 2 July 2009, showing a region in the lunar highlands south of Mare Nubium (Sea of Clouds). Launched on 18 June 2009, in conjunction with the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), as the vanguard of NASA's Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, this is the first United States mission to the Moon in over ten years. LRO and LCROSS are the first missions launched as part of the United States's Vision for Space Exploration program. The total cost of the mission is reported as US$583 million, of which $504 million pertains to the main LRO probe and $79 million to the LCROSS satellite. Developed at NASA's Goddard
    9.00
    1 votes
    131
    Mariner 1

    Mariner 1

    Mariner 1 was the first spacecraft of the American Mariner program. Launched on July 22, 1962 as a Venus flyby mission, a range safety officer ordered its destructive abort at 09:26:16 UT, 294.5 seconds after launch. According to NASA's current account for the public: What NASA's website describes as "improper operation of the Atlas airborne beacon equipment" caused the booster to lose contact with one of the guidance systems on the ground, setting the stage for an apparent software-related guidance system failure. The role of software error in the launch failure remains somewhat mysterious in nature, shrouded in the ambiguities and conflicts among (and in some accounts, even within) the various accounts, official and otherwise. It was launched by an Atlas-Agena rocket. The probe's mission was later completed by Mariner 2. However, the cryptic nature of the problems that led to the decision to abort Mariner 1, as well as the confusion in various reports on the incident, gave rise to an urban legend of sorts. Indirectly, this confusion also contributed to some software engineering folklore about the role of supposed Fortran code in the guidance systems. This folklore has persisted
    9.00
    1 votes
    132
    Neutral Ion Coupling Explorer

    Neutral Ion Coupling Explorer

    The Neutral Ion Coupling Explorer (NICE) is one of six proposed SMEX satellites under consideration by NASA. The goal of the NICE mission is to answer the question: How do neutral dynamics drive ionospheric variability? NICE will approach this goal with three targeted investigations of neutral-ion coupling: NICE will discover how winds and composition of the upper atmosphere drive the electric fields and chemical reactions that control Earth's ionosphere. The mission will resolve competing theories about the low-latitude ionospheric dynamo, and will explain how large-scale waves from the lower atmosphere can couple to the ionosphere and upper atmosphere. Understanding neutral-ion coupling in Earth's atmosphere has applications for solar and planetary atmospheres including Mars and Jupiter. NICE will be the first mission to simultaneously measure all the key parameters that both characterize and drive the ionosphere. It will remotely measure the neutral wind, temperature, composition, atmospheric and ionospheric density distributions as well as make in situ measurements of the ion motion. NICE uses flight-tested science instruments in a low-inclination orbit where the geometry
    9.00
    1 votes
    133
    Aryabhata

    Aryabhata

    Aryabhata was India's first satellite, named after the great Indian astronomer of the same name. It was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April 1975 from Kapustin Yar using a Cosmos-3M launch vehicle. It was built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to gain experience in building and operating a satellite in space. The 96.3 minute orbit had an apogee of 619  km and a perigee of 563  km, at an inclination of 50.7 degrees. It was built to conduct experiments in X-ray astronomy, aeronomics, and solar physics. The spacecraft was a 26-sided polygon 1.4 m in diameter. All faces (except the top and bottom) were covered with solar cells. A power failure halted experiments after 4 days in orbit. All signals from the spacecraft were lost after 5 days of operation. The satellite reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 11 February 1992. The satellite's image appeared on the reverse of Indian 2 rupee banknotes between 1976 and 1997 (Pick catalog and one rupee note number: P-79a-m).
    6.67
    3 votes
    134
    Galileo spacecraft

    Galileo spacecraft

    Galileo was an unmanned NASA spacecraft which studied the planet Jupiter and its moons. Named after the Renaissance astronomer Galileo Galilei, it was launched on October 18, 1989, by the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-34 mission. Galileo arrived at Jupiter on December 7, 1995, via gravitational assist flybys of Venus and Earth, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter. Despite suffering from antenna problems, Galileo conducted the first asteroid flyby near 951 Gaspra and discovered the first asteroid moon, Dactyl, around the asteroid 243 Ida. It furthermore launched the first probe into Jupiter's atmosphere. The mission's total cost was estimated at approximately US$1.4 billion. The spacecraft measured the atmospheric composition of Jupiter and directly observed ammonia clouds, which seem to be created by an outflow from the lower depths of Jupiter's atmosphere. Galileo also registered Io's volcanism and the plasma interactions between its and Jupiter's atmospheres. Other data gave support for the popular theory of a liquid ocean under the icy surface of Europa. There were furthermore indications of similar liquid-saltwater layers under the surfaces of Ganymede and
    6.67
    3 votes
    135
    Mars Polar Lander

    Mars Polar Lander

    The Mars Polar Lander, also referred to as the Mars Surveyor '98 Lander, was a 290-kilogram robotic spacecraft lander, launched by NASA on January 3, 1999, to study the soil and climate of Planum Australe, a region near the south pole on Mars, as part of the Mars Surveyor '98 mission. However, on December 3, 1999, after the descent phase was expected to be complete, the lander failed to reestablish communication with Earth. It was determined the most likely cause of the mishap was an improperly ceased engine firing prior to the lander touching the surface, causing the lander to impact at a high velocity. As part of the intended goals of the Mars Surveyor '98 mission, a lander was sought as a way to gather climate data from the ground in conjunction with an orbiter. It was suspected that a large quantity of frozen water may exist under a thin layer of dust at the south pole. In planning Mars Polar Lander, the potential water content in the Martian south pole was the strongest determining factor for choosing a landing location. The primary objectives of the mission included: Mars Polar Lander carried two small, identical impactor probes known as Deep Space 2 A and B. The probes were
    6.67
    3 votes
    136
    Voyager 2

    Voyager 2

    The Voyager 2 spacecraft is a 722-kilogram (1,592 lb) space probe launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. It was operating for 35 years, 1 month and 27 days as of today (17 October 2012), the spacecraft still receives and transmits data via the Deep Space Network. At a distance of 99.1 AU (1.48×10 km; 9.21×10 mi) as of September 2012, it is one of the most distant manmade objects (along with Voyager 1, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11). Voyager 2 is part of the Voyager program with its identical sister craft Voyager 1, and is in extended mission, tasked with locating and studying the boundaries of the Solar System, including the Kuiper belt, the heliosphere and interstellar space. The primary mission ended December 31, 1989 after encountering the Jovian system in 1979, Saturnian system in 1980, Uranian system in 1986, and the Neptunian system in 1989. It is still the only spacecraft to have visited the two outer gas giant planets Uranus and Neptune. Conceived in the 1960s, a Planetary Grand Tour proposal to study the outer planets, prompted NASA to begin work on a mission in the early 1970s. The development of the
    6.67
    3 votes
    137
    Luna 21

    Luna 21

    Luna 21 (Ye-8 series) was an unmanned space mission of the Luna program, also called Lunik 21. The spacecraft landed on the Moon and deployed the second Soviet lunar rover (Lunokhod 2). The primary objectives of the mission were to collect images of the lunar surface, examine ambient light levels to determine the feasibility of astronomical observations from the Moon, perform laser ranging experiments from Earth, observe solar X-rays, measure local magnetic fields, and study mechanical properties of the lunar surface material. Luna 21 carried the second successful Soviet lunar rover, Lunokhod 2, and was launched less than a month after the last Apollo lunar landing. The SL-12/D-1-e launcher put the spacecraft into Earth parking orbit followed by translunar injection. On 12 January 1973, Luna 21 was braked into a 90 × 100 km orbit about the Moon, at a 60° inclination. On 13 and 14 January, the perilune was lowered to 16 km altitude. On 15 January after 40 orbits, the braking rocket was fired at 16 km altitude, and the craft went into free fall. At an altitude of 750 meters the main thrusters began firing, slowing the fall until a height of 22 meters was reached. At this point the
    7.50
    2 votes
    138
    Ranger 8

    Ranger 8

    Ranger 8 was a spacecraft designed to achieve a lunar impact trajectory and to transmit high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The spacecraft carried six television vidicon cameras, two wide angle (channel F, cameras A and B) and four narrow angle (channel P) to accomplish these objectives. The cameras were arranged in two separate chains, or channels, each self-contained with separate power supplies, timers, and transmitters so as to afford the greatest reliability and probability of obtaining high-quality Television pictures. No other experiments were carried on the spacecraft. Rangers 6, 7, 8, and 9 were called the Block 3 versions of the Ranger spacecraft. The spacecraft consisted of a hexagonal aluminum frame base 1.5 m across on which was mounted the propulsion and power units, topped by a truncated conical tower which held the TV cameras. Two solar panel wings, each 739 mm wide by 1537 mm long, extended from opposite edges of the base with a full span of 4.6 m, and a pointable high gain dish antenna was hinge mounted at one of the corners of the base away from the solar panels. A cylindrical quasiomnidirectional
    7.50
    2 votes
    139
    Soil Moisture Active and Passive mission

    Soil Moisture Active and Passive mission

    Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) is an American environmental research satellite. Part of the first tier of missions recommended for NASA by the Earth Science Decadal Survey, it is scheduled for launch in 2014. It is one of the first Earth observation satellites being developed by NASA in response to the National Research Council’s Decadal Survey. It has been selected for launch in November 2014. SMAP will provide measurements of the land surface soil moisture and freeze-thaw state with near-global revisit coverage in 2–3 days. SMAP surface measurements will be coupled with hydrologic models to infer soil moisture conditions in the root zone. These measurements will enable science applications users to: 1) Understand processes that link the terrestrial water, energy and carbon cycles; 2) Estimate global water and energy fluxes at the land surface; 3) Quantify net carbon flux in boreal landscapes; 4) Enhance weather and climate forecast skill; 5) Develop improved flood prediction and drought monitoring capability. SMAP observations will be acquired for a period of at least three years after launch. A comprehensive validation, science, and applications program will be implemented,
    7.50
    2 votes
    140
    Space Shuttle Columbia

    Space Shuttle Columbia

    Space Shuttle Columbia (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-102) was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before disintegrating during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th, STS-107. The destruction of the orbiter killed all those on board. Construction began on Columbia in 1975 at Rockwell International's (formerly North American Aviation/North American Rockwell, now Boeing North America) principal assembly facility in Palmdale, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. Columbia was named after the historical poetic name for the United States of America, like the explorer ship of Captain Robert Gray and the Command Module of Apollo 11, the first manned landing on another celestial body. Also, Columbia was the female symbol of the U.S. After construction, the orbiter arrived at Kennedy Space Center on March 25, 1979, to prepare for its first launch. Columbia was originally scheduled to lift off in late 1979, however the launch date was delayed by problems with both the SSME components, as well as the thermal protection system (TPS). On March 19,
    7.50
    2 votes
    141
    Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

    Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

    Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is a NASA infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope launched on December 14, 2009, and decommissioned/hibernated on February 17, 2011 when its transmitter was turned off. The US$320 million mission launched an Earth-orbiting satellite with a 40 cm (16 in) diameter infrared telescope, which performed an all-sky astronomical survey with images in 3.4, 4.6, 12 and 22 μm wavelength range bands, over 10 months. The initial mission length was limited by its hydrogen coolant, but a secondary post-cryogenic mission continued for four more months. By October 2010, WISE hydrogen coolant and original NASA funding ran out, and the proposed WISE warm mission, using remaining functionality, was not approved by NASA. Rather than abandon the spacecraft, the NASA Planetary division stepped in with funding for a shorter fourth month mission extension called NEOWISE, to search for small solar system bodies close to Earth's orbit. WISE served as a replacement for the Wide Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE), which failed within hours of reaching orbit in March 1999. In certain measurements, WISE is over 1,000 times more sensitive than prior infrared space
    7.50
    2 votes
    142
    Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor Satellite

    Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor Satellite

    ACRIMSAT is the acronym for Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor Satellite. It is a dedicated satellite and instrument that is one of the 21 primary observational components of NASA's Earth Observing System program. ACRIMSAT was launched on 20 December 1999 from Vandenberg Air Force Base as the secondary payload on a Taurus rocket along with KOMPSAT and placed into a high inclination, 700 km. sun-synchronous orbit from which the ACRIM3 instrument monitors the total solar irradiance (TSI). The ACRIM3 instrument has made state of the art measurements of the TSI since the start of its Science Mission in April 2000. It extends the TSI measurement database begun by earlier ACRIM instruments on the NASA Solar Maximum Mission (ACRIM1: 1980-1989) and Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (ACRIM2: 1991-2001). Richard C. Willson is the principal investigator for the experiment and leads the ACRIM3 Science Team. Willson designed the active cavity radiometer type of sensor used by self-calibrating satellite TSI monitoring experiments today. The implementation of the ACRIM3 instrument was a collaboration between Willson, JPL/ACRIMSAT Project Manager Ronald Zenone and ACRIM3 Instrument
    6.33
    3 votes
    143
    Explorer I

    Explorer I

    Explorer 1 (1958 Alpha 1) was the first Earth satellite of the United States, launched as part of its participation in the International Geophysical Year. The mission followed the first two Earth satellites the previous year, the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1 and 2, beginning the Cold War Space Race between the two nations. Explorer 1 was launched on January 31, 1958 at 22:48 Eastern Time (equal to February 1, 03:48 UTC) atop the first Juno booster from LC-26 at the Cape Canaveral Missile Annex, Florida. It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt, returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970, and has been followed by more than 90 scientific spacecraft in the Explorer series. The U.S. Earth satellite program began in 1954 as a joint U.S. Army and U.S. Navy proposal, called Project Orbiter, to put a scientific satellite into orbit during the International Geophysical Year. The proposal, using a military Redstone missile, was rejected in 1955 by the Eisenhower administration in favor of the Navy's Project Vanguard, using a booster produced for civilian space launches. Following the launch of the Soviet
    6.33
    3 votes
    144
    Interstellar Boundary Explorer

    Interstellar Boundary Explorer

    Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) is a NASA satellite that is making a map of the boundary between the Solar System and interstellar space. The mission is part of NASA's Small Explorer program and launched with a Pegasus-XL rocket on October 19, 2008, at 17:47:23 UTC. Results from IBEX have repeatedly shocked the scientific community and overturned old theories. The first shock came when it revealed a narrow ribbon of energetic neutral atom (ENA) emission. Then it showed shifts over time in this band. Another surprise came when no bow shock was found. The repercussions for overturning the bow shock theory are huge, because decades of research are based on that concept. The design and operation of the mission is being led by the Southwest Research Institute, with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center serving as co-investigator institutions responsible for the IBEX-Hi and IBEX-Lo sensors respectively. The Orbital Sciences Corporation manufactured the spacecraft bus and was the location for spacecraft environmental testing. The nominal mission baseline duration was two years to observe the entire solar system boundary. This was
    6.33
    3 votes
    145
    Meteosat

    Meteosat

    The Meteosat series of satellites are geostationary meteorological satellites operated by EUMETSAT under the Meteosat Transition Programme (MTP) and the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) program. The MTP program was established to ensure the operational continuity between the end of the successful Meteosat Operational Programme in 1995 and Meteosat Second Generation (MSG), which came into operation at the start of 2004 using improved satellites. The MTP provides an overlap with MSG by continuing the current Meteosat system until at least the end of the year 2005. The MSG program will provide service until the MTG (Meteosat Third Generation) program takes over. The first generation of Meteosat satellites, Meteosat-1 to Meteosat-7, provide continuous and reliable meteorological observations from space to a large user community. In addition to the provision of images of the Earth and its atmosphere every half-hour in three spectral channels (Visible, Infrared) and Water Vapour, via the Meteosat Visible and Infrared Imager (MVIRI) instrument, a range of processed meteorological products is produced. Meteosat also supports the retransmission of data from data collection platforms in
    6.33
    3 votes
    146
    Molniya

    Molniya

    Molniya (Russian: Молния, meaning "lightning") was a military communications satellite system used by the Soviet Union. The satellites were placed into highly eccentric elliptical orbits known as Molniya orbits, characterised by an inclination of +63.4 degrees and a period of around 12 hours. Such orbits allowed them to remain visible to sites in polar regions for extended periods, unlike satellites in geosynchronous orbits. The Molniya program was authorized by a government decree in late 1960. After some initial failures in 1964, the first operational satellite, Molniya 1-01, was successfully launched on April 23, 1965. Since October 1967, Molniya satellites have been used by Russia to broadcast their national Orbita television network.
    6.33
    3 votes
    147
    P91-1 ARGOS

    P91-1 ARGOS

    The Advanced Research and Global Observation Satellite (ARGOS) was launched on 23 Feb 1999 from SLC-2W, Vandenberg AFB, CA, atop a Boeing Delta II (7920-10) (List of Delta II launches). Construction of the spacecraft bus and integration of the satellite's nine payloads was accomplished by Boeing at their Seal Beach, CA facility. The program was funded and led by the DoD's Space Test Program as mission P91-1 (the first mission contract let in 1991). The nine payloads were research and development missions by nine separate researchers. The $220M mission was operated by Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center's Test and Evaluation Directorate (now Space Test and Development Wing) from their RDT&E Support Complex (RSC) at Kirtland AFB, NM. ARGOS was the first mission operated 100% from the new state-of-the-art, commercial-off-the-shelf Kirtland facility; all previous SMC satellite missions had been operated in total or at least in part from the preceding center at Onizuka AFS, CA. "The ARGOS satellite will provide a tremendous payoff in critical technologies such as imaging, satellite propulsion and space-based computing. These areas will become important as more and
    6.33
    3 votes
    148
    Prospective Piloted Transport System

    Prospective Piloted Transport System

    PPTS (Prospective Piloted Transport System or Perspektivnaya Pilotiruemaya Transportnaya Sistema), unofficially called Rus, is a project being undertaken by the Russian Federal Space Agency to develop a new-generation partially reusable capsule manned spacecraft. Its official name is Pilotiruemyi Transportny Korabl Novogo Pokoleniya or PTK NP meaning New Generation Piloted Transport Ship. The goal of the project is to develop a new-generation spacecraft to replace the current Soyuz which was developed by the former Soviet Union similar to US Orion spacecraft. The PPTS project was started following the failed plans by Russia to co-develop Crew Space Transportation System (CSTS, until middle 2006 named ACTS) with Europe. Following this the Russian Federal Space Agency ordered the local space industry to finalize proposals for the new manned spacecraft. When the Kliper project was revealed to the public, the officials admitted that despite its pragmatic and cost-conscious design, it had little chance of materializing without large financial assistance from Russia and abroad. Hence, the Russian Space Agency and RKK Energia launched an effort to market Kliper to international partners.
    6.33
    3 votes
    149
    Ranger 7

    Ranger 7

    Ranger 7 was the first US space probe to successfully transmit close images of the lunar surface back to Earth. It was also the first completely successful flight of the Ranger program. Launched on 28 July 1964, Ranger 7 was designed to achieve a lunar impact trajectory and to transmit high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The spacecraft carried six television vidicon cameras, 2 wide angle (channel F, cameras A and B) and 4 narrow angle (channel P) to accomplish these objectives. The cameras were arranged in two separate chains, or channels, each self-contained with separate power supplies, timers, and transmitters so as to afford the greatest reliability and probability of obtaining high-quality video pictures. No other experiments were carried on the spacecraft. Rangers 6, 7, 8, and 9 were the so-called Block 3 versions of the Ranger spacecraft. The spacecraft consisted of a hexagonal aluminum frame base 1.5 m across on which was mounted the propulsion and power units, topped by a truncated conical tower which held the TV cameras. Two solar panel wings, each 739 mm wide by 1537 mm long, extended from opposite edges of
    6.33
    3 votes
    150
    BepiColombo

    BepiColombo

    BepiColombo is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the planet Mercury, due to launch in 2015. The mission is still in the planning stages so changes to the current description are likely over the next few years. Due to budgetary constraints and technological difficulties, the lander portion of the mission, the Mercury Surface Element (MSE) was cancelled. The mission as currently envisioned involves three components: the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) built by ESA, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) built by ESA and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) built by JAXA (whose sunshield MOSIF (MMO Sunshield Interface) will be built by ESA). The prime contractor for ESA is EADS Astrium. The three components are planned to be launched together on a Ariane 5 launch vehicle in 2015. The spacecraft will have a six year interplanetary cruise to Mercury using solar-electric propulsion and gravity assists from the Moon, Earth, Venus and eventual gravity capture at Mercury. Arriving in Mercury orbit in January 2022, the spacecraft will have a 1-year nominal scientific life. The MPO will be equipped with eleven scientific
    8.00
    1 votes
    151
    Chandrayaan

    Chandrayaan

    • Manufacturer: Indian Space Research Organisation
    Chandrayaan-1 (Sanskrit: चन्द्रयान-१, lit: Moon vehicle  pronunciation (help·info)) was India's first unmanned lunar probe. It was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation in October 2008, and operated until August 2009. The mission included a lunar orbiter and an impactor. India launched the spacecraft with a modified version of the PSLV, PSLV C11 on 22 October 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km north of Chennai, at 06:22 IST (00:52 UTC). Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the project on course in his Independence Day speech on 15 August 2003. The mission was a major boost to India's space program, as India researched and developed its own technology in order to explore the Moon. The vehicle was successfully inserted into lunar orbit on 8 November 2008. On 14 November 2008, the Moon Impact Probe separated from the Chandrayaan orbiter at 20:06 and struck the south pole in a controlled manner, making India the fourth country to place its flag on the Moon. The probe impacted near Shackleton Crater at 20:31 ejecting underground soil that could be analysed for the presence of lunar water ice. The
    8.00
    1 votes
    152
    GOES 9

    GOES 9

    GOES 9, known as GOES-J before becoming operational, was an American weather satellite, which formed part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. It was launched in 1995, and operated until 2007 when it was retired and boosted to a graveyard orbit. At launch, the satellite had a mass of 2,105 kilograms (4,640 lb), and an expected operational lifespan of three years. It was built by Space Systems/Loral, based on the LS-1300 satellite bus, and was the second of five GOES-I series satellites to be launched. GOES-J was launched aboard an International Launch Services Atlas I rocket, flying from Launch Complex 36B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 05:52:02 GMT on 23 May. Following launch, it was positioned in geostationary orbit at a longitude of 90° West for on-orbit testing. Once this was complete, it was moved to 135° West, where it assumed GOES-WEST operations. GOES 9 suffered from a design fault with the motor windings in its imager and sounder, with one of two sets failing in 1997. If the other set had failed, it would have made the system inoperable. This fault also
    8.00
    1 votes
    153
    GOES-O

    GOES-O

    GOES 14, known as GOES-O prior to reaching its operational orbit, is an American weather satellite, which is part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system. The spacecraft was built by Boeing and is based on the BSS-601 bus. It is the second of three GOES satellites to use the BSS-601 bus, after GOES 13, which was launched in May 2006. It was launched by United Launch Alliance aboard a Delta IV-M+(4,2) rocket at 22:51 GMT on 27 June 2009, from Space Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Upon reaching geostationary orbit, on 7 July, it was redesignated GOES 14. It underwent a 6-month series of post-launch tests before completing its "check-out" phase and then was placed into "orbital storage mode" or stand-by. Its first full disk image was sent on 27 July 2009 GOES 14 was brought out of storage and began one-minute rapid scans of Tropical Storm Isaac on August 24, 2012. On September 24, 2012, it assumed the role of GOES-East after GOES 13 experienced technical difficulties. On October 1, 2012 it began moving east at a rate of .9 degrees per day to an ultimate
    8.00
    1 votes
    154
    Mariner 9

    Mariner 9

    Mariner 9 (Mariner Mars '71 / Mariner-I) is a NASA space orbiter that helped in the exploration of Mars and was part of the Mariner program. Mariner 9 was launched toward Mars on May 30, 1971 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and reached the planet on November 14 of the same year, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit another planet — only narrowly beating Soviet Mars 2 and Mars 3, which both arrived within a month. After months of dust-storms it managed to send back clear pictures of the surface. Mariner 9 returned 7329 images over the course of its mission, which concluded in October 1972. Mariner 9 was designed to continue the atmospheric studies begun by Mariner 6 and 7, and to map over 70% of the Martian surface from the lowest altitude (1,500 kilometers (930 mi) and at the highest resolutions (from 1 kilometer per pixel to 100 meters per pixel) of any Mars mission up to that point. An infrared radiometer was included to detect heat sources in search of evidence of volcanic activity. It was to study temporal changes in the Martian atmosphere and surface. Mars' two moons were also to be analyzed. Mariner 9 more than met its objectives. Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to
    8.00
    1 votes
    155
    OPS 0855

    OPS 0855

    OPS 0855, also designated OV4-3, was a boilerplate Manned Orbital Laboratory spacecraft launched in 1966. It was flown to demonstrate the launch configuration for future MOL missions. A number of research payloads, designated Manifold were carried aboard it, which were intended to operate for 75 days, however the spacecraft ceased operations after just 30. It was built from a decommissioned HGM-25A Titan I first stage oxidiser tank, bolted to a Transtage. It was part of the MOL and Orbiting Vehicle projects. The Manifold experimental package consisted of two micrometeoroid detection payloads, a transmitter beacon designated ORBIS-Low, a cell growth experiment, a prototype hydrogen fuel cell, a thermal control experiment, a propellent transfer and monitoring system to investigate fluid dynamics in zero gravity, a prototype attitude control system, an experiment to investigate the reflection of light in space, and an experiment into heat transfer. The spacecraft was painted to allow it to be used as a target for an optical tracking and observation experiment from the ground. OPS 0855 was the primary payload of Titan IIIC 3C-9, which was launched from LC-40 at the Cape Canaveral Air
    8.00
    1 votes
    156
    Venus In-Situ Explorer

    Venus In-Situ Explorer

    The Venus In-Situ Explorer (VISE) is a mission that was proposed by the NASA planetary science Decadal Survey as a space probe designed to answer fundamental scientific questions by landing and performing experiments on Venus. It would be part of NASA's New Frontiers program. While on the surface, the Venus In-Situ Explorer will acquire and characterize a core sample of the surface to study pristine rock samples not weathered by the very harsh surface conditions of the planet. Also, the VISE will measure the composition and mineralogy of the surface. The Venus In-Situ Explorer has been proposed for launch in 2013. Several variant mission concepts for a Venus in-situ explorer have also been proposed, including both surface and atmospheric exploration:
    8.00
    1 votes
    157
    Voyager 1

    Voyager 1

    The Voyager 1 spacecraft is a 722 kilogram (1,592 lb) space probe launched by NASA in 1977 to study the outer Solar System and interstellar medium. Operating for 35 years, 1 month and 12 days as of 17 October 2012, the spacecraft receives routine commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network. At a distance of about 122 AU (1.83×10 km) as of September 2012, it is the furthest manmade object from Earth. Voyager 1 is now in the heliosheath, which is the outermost layer of the heliosphere. On June 15, 2012, NASA scientists reported that Voyager 1 may be very close to entering interstellar space and becoming the first manmade object to leave the Solar System. As part of the Voyager program, and like its sister craft Voyager 2, the spacecraft is in extended mission, tasked with locating and studying the boundaries of the Solar System, including the Kuiper belt, the heliosphere and interstellar space. The primary mission ended November 20, 1980, after encountering the Jovian system in 1979 and the Saturnian system in 1980. It was the first probe to provide detailed images of the two largest planets and their moons. In the 1960s, a Grand Tour to study the outer planets was
    5.25
    4 votes
    158
    Orbiting Carbon Observatory

    Orbiting Carbon Observatory

    The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) is a NASA satellite mission intended to provide global space-based observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The original spacecraft was lost in a launch failure on February 24, 2009, when the payload fairing of the Taurus rocket which was carrying it failed to separate during ascent. The added mass of the fairing prevented the satellite from reaching orbit. It subsequently re-entered the atmosphere and crashed into the Indian Ocean near Antarctica. The FY 2010 NASA budget request includes US$170 million for NASA to develop and fly a replacement for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory. OCO's measurements would have been accurate enough to show for the first time the geographic distribution of carbon dioxide sources and sinks on a regional scale. The data would have improved the understanding of the global carbon cycle, the natural processes and human activities that influence the abundance and distribution of the greenhouse gas. This improved understanding was expected to enable more reliable forecasts of future changes in the abundance and distribution of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the effect that these changes may have on
    7.00
    2 votes
    159
    Ranger 4

    Ranger 4

    Ranger 4 was a spacecraft of the Ranger program designed to transmit pictures of the lunar surface to Earth stations during a period of 10 minutes of flight prior to crashing upon the Moon, to rough-land a seismometer capsule on the Moon, to collect gamma-ray data in flight, to study radar reflectivity of the lunar surface, and to continue testing of the Ranger program for development of lunar and interplanetary spacecraft. An onboard computer failure caused failure of the deployment of the solar panels and navigation systems; as a result the spacecraft crashed on the far side of the Moon without returning any scientific data. It was the first U.S. spacecraft to reach another celestial body. Ranger 4 was a Block II Ranger spacecraft virtually identical to Ranger 3. The basic vehicle was 331 kg, 3.1 m high and consisted of a lunar capsule covered with a balsawood impact-limiter, 650 mm in diameter, a mono-propellant mid-course motor, a 5080 lbf (22.6 kN) thrust retrorocket, and a gold- and chrome-plated hexagonal base 1.5 m in diameter. A large high-gain dish antenna was attached to the base. Two wing-like solar panels (5.2 m across) were attached to the base and deployed early in
    7.00
    2 votes
    160
    RazakSAT

    RazakSAT

    RazakSAT is a Malaysian satellite carrying a high-resolution camera. It was launched into low Earth orbit by a Falcon 1 rocket on July 14, 2009. It was placed into a near-equatorial orbit that presents many imaging opportunities for the equatorial region. It weighs over three times a much as TiungSAT-1 and carries a high resolution Earth observation camera. Developed in conjunction with Satrec Initiative, the satellite's low inclination orbit (9 degrees) brought it over Malaysia a dozen or more times per day. This was intended to provide greatly increased coverage of Malaysia, compared to most other Earth observation satellites. An audit report released in October 2011 revealed that the satellite had failed after only 1 year of operation. This satellite is Malaysia's second remote sensing satellite after TiungSAT-1. Originally called MACSAT, RazakSAT's payload is mainly electro-optical, carrying a Medium-sized Aperture Camera (MAC) which is a pushbroom camera with five linear detectors (one panchromatic, four multi-spectral) weighing approximately 50 kg. The entire satellite weighs at about 180 kg. SpaceX launched RazakSAT at 03:35 UTC on July 14, 2009 using a Falcon 1 rocket. This
    7.00
    2 votes
    161
    Space Shuttle Discovery

    Space Shuttle Discovery

    • Manufacturer: North American Aviation
    Space Shuttle Discovery (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-103) is one of the retired orbiters of the Space Shuttle program of NASA, the space agency of the United States, and was operational from its maiden flight, STS-41-D on August 30, 1984, until its final landing during STS-133 on March 9, 2011. Discovery has flown more than any other spacecraft having completed 39 successful missions in over 27 years of service. In 1984, Discovery became the third operational orbiter following Columbia and Challenger, and made its final touchdown at Kennedy Space Center on March 9, 2011 at 10:57:17 CST, having spent a cumulative total of one full year (365 days) in space. Discovery has performed both research and International Space Station (ISS) assembly missions. Discovery also flew the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. Discovery was the first operational shuttle to be retired, followed by Endeavour and then Atlantis. The spacecraft takes its name from four British ships of exploration named Discovery, primarily HMS Discovery, one of the ships commanded by Captain James Cook during his third and final major voyage from 1776 to 1779. Others include Discovery was the shuttle that launched the
    7.00
    2 votes
    162
    Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Space Shuttle Endeavour

    • Manufacturer: Rockwell International
    Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) is one of the retired orbiters of the Space Shuttle program of NASA, the space agency of the United States. Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger, which was destroyed 73 seconds after its launch on January 28, 1986. Endeavour first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49 and its last mission STS-134 was in May 2011. The STS-134 mission was originally planned as the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, but with authorization of the STS-135 mission, Atlantis became the last Space Shuttle to fly. The United States Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in the STS-51-L launch accident in 1986. Structural spares built during the construction of Discovery and Atlantis, two of the previous shuttles, were used in its assembly. NASA chose to build Endeavour from spares rather than refitting Enterprise or accepting a Rockwell International proposal to build two shuttles for the price of one of the original shuttles, on cost grounds. The orbiter is named after the British HMS Endeavour, the
    7.00
    2 votes
    163
    Badr-1 1

    Badr-1 1

    The Badr-1 (Urdu: بد ر-ا, meaning New Moon-1) was the first artificial and the first digital communication satellite launched by Pakistan's supreme national space authority — the SUPARCO — in 1990. The Badr-I was Pakistan's first indigenously developed and manufactured digital communications and an experimental artificial satellite which was launched into low Earth orbit by Pakistan on July 16, 1990, through a Chinese rocket carrier. The launch ushered in new military, technological, and scientific developments in Pakistan and also provided data on radio-signal distribution in the ionosphere. Originally planned to launched from United States in 1986, the Challenger disaster furthered delayed the launch of the satellite which changed the plan. After People's Republic of China offered Pakistan to use its facility, the Badr-I was finally launched XLSC in 1990 through Long March 2E (LM2E). It was also the first flight of LM2E for carrying the spacecraft into the orbit. Badr-I traveled at 61,500 miles per hour, taking taking 96.3 minutes to complete an orbit, and emitting radio signals at 145 to 435 MHz which were operated by Pakistan Amateur Radio Society (PARS). The Badr-I
    6.00
    3 votes
    164
    Deep Impact

    Deep Impact

    Deep Impact is a NASA space probe launched on January 12, 2005. It was designed to study the composition of the comet interior of 9P/Tempel, by releasing an impactor into the comet. At 5:52 UTC on July 4, 2005, the impactor successfully collided with the comet's nucleus. The impact excavated debris from the interior of the nucleus, allowing photographs of the impact crater. The photographs showed the comet to be more dusty and less icy than had been expected. The impact generated a large and bright dust cloud, which unexpectedly obscured the view of the impact crater. Previous space missions to comets, such as Giotto and Stardust, were fly-by missions. These missions were only able to photograph and examine the surfaces of cometary nuclei from a distance. The Deep Impact mission was the first to eject material from a comet's surface, and the mission garnered large publicity from the media, international scientists, and amateur astronomers. Upon the completion of its primary mission, proposals were made to further utilize the spacecraft. Consequently, Deep Impact flew by Earth on December 31, 2007 on its way to an extended mission, designated EPOXI, with a dual purpose to study
    6.00
    3 votes
    165
    Deep Space 2

    Deep Space 2

    Deep Space 2 was a NASA probe which was part of the New Millennium Program. It included two highly advanced miniature space probes which were sent to Mars aboard the Mars Polar Lander in January 1999. The probes were named "Scott" and "Amundsen", in honor of Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen, the first explorers to reach the Earth's South Pole. Intended to be the first spacecraft to penetrate below the surface of another planet, after entering the Mars atmosphere DS2 was to detach from the Mars Polar Lander mother ship and plummet to the surface using only an aeroshell impactor, with no parachute. The mission was declared a failure on March 13, 2000, after all attempts to reestablish communications following the descent went unanswered. Each probe weighed just 2.4 kg (5.3 lb) and was encased in a protective aeroshell. They rode to Mars aboard another spacecraft, the Mars Polar Lander. Upon arrival just above the south polar region of Mars on December 3, 1999, the basketball-sized shells were released from the main spacecraft, plummeting through the atmosphere and hitting the planet's surface at over 179 m/s (590 ft/s). On impact, each shell was designed to shatter, and its
    6.00
    3 votes
    166
    ExoMars

    ExoMars

    ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) is a planned Mars mission to search for possible biosignatures of Martian life, past or present. This astrobiological mission is currently under development by the European Space Agency (ESA) with likely collaboration by the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). The program includes several spacecraft elements to be sent to Mars on two launches. An orbiter and a stationary lander is planned for 2016, and a Russian lander to deliver the rover is planned for 2018. Since its inception, ExoMars has gone through several phases of planning with various proposals for landers, orbiters, launch vehicles, and international cooperation planning, such as the defunct 2009 Mars Exploration Joint Initiative (MEJI) with the United States. Originally, the ExoMars concept consisted of a large robotic rover being part of ESA's Aurora programme as a Flagship mission and was approved by Europe's space ministers in December 2005. Originally conceived as a rover with a stationary ground station, ExoMars was planned to launch in 2011 aboard a Russian Soyuz Fregat rocket. In 2007, Canadian-based technology firm MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) was selected for
    6.00
    3 votes
    167
    Mariner 5

    Mariner 5

    Mariner 5 (Mariner Venus 1967) was a spacecraft of the Mariner program that carried a complement of experiments to probe Venus' atmosphere by radio occultation, measure the hydrogen Lyman-alpha (hard ultraviolet) spectrum, and sample the solar particles and magnetic field fluctuations above the planet. Its goals were to measure interplanetary and Venusian magnetic fields, charged particles, plasmas, radio refractivity and UV emissions of the Venusian atmosphere. Mariner 5 was actually built as a backup to Mariner 4, but after the success of the Mariner 4 mission, it was modified for the Venus mission by removing the TV camera, reversing and reducing the four solar panels, and adding extra thermal insulation. It was launched toward Venus on June 14, 1967 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 12 and flew by the planet on October 19 that year at an altitude of 3,990 kilometres (2,480 mi). With more sensitive instruments than its predecessor Mariner 2, Mariner 5 was able to shed new light on the hot, cloud-covered planet and on conditions in interplanetary space. Radio occultation data from Mariner 5 helped to understand the temperature and pressure data returned by the
    6.00
    3 votes
    168
    Pioneer 5

    Pioneer 5

    Pioneer 5 (also known as 1960 Alpha 1, Pioneer P-2, and Thor Able 4) was a spin-stabilized space probe in the NASA Pioneer program used to investigate interplanetary space between the orbits of Earth and Venus. It was launched on March 11, 1960 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 17a at 13:00:00 UTC with an on-orbit dry mass of 43 kg. It is a 0.66 m diameter sphere with 1.4 m span across its four solar panels and achieved a solar orbit of 0.806 × 0.995 AU (121,000,000 by 149,000,000 km). Among other accomplishments, the probe confirmed the existence of interplanetary magnetic fields. Pioneer 5 was the most successful probe in the Pioneer/Able missions. The spacecraft was a 0.66 m diameter sphere with four solar panels that spanned over 1.4 m. It was equipped with four scientific instruments: The spacecraft returned data collected by the magnetometer on the magnetic field and it measured that the median undisturbed interplanetary field was approximately 5 γ ± 0.5 γ in magnitude. The spacecraft also measured solar flare particles, and cosmic radiation in the interplanetary region. The micrometeorite counter failed to operate as the data system saturated and failed to
    6.00
    3 votes
    169
    SCISAT-1

    SCISAT-1

    SCISAT-1 is a Canadian satellite designed to make observations of the Earth's atmosphere. Its main instruments are an optical Fourier transform infrared spectrometer, the ACE-FTS Instrument, and an ultraviolet spectrophotometer, MAESTRO. These devices record spectra of the Sun, as sunlight passes through the Earth's atmosphere, making analyses of the chemical elements of the atmosphere possible. SCISAT is a relatively small satellite weighing 150 kg (~330 pounds). It is partly drum shaped with a diameter of about five feet and a depth of about five feet. The Canadian Space Agency coordinated its design, launch and use. The main contractors were Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg, Manitoba and ABB Bomem inc. of Quebec City, Quebec. SCISAT passes through the Earth's shadow 15 times per day, profiting from the occultation of the Sun to make a spectrographic analysis of the structure and chemistry of those parts of the upper atmosphere that are too high to be reached by balloons and airplanes and too low to be visited by orbiting satellites. This kind of analysis can help understand the depletion of the ozone layer and other upper atmosphere phenomena. SCISAT was placed in low Earth orbit,
    6.00
    3 votes
    170
    Spacecab

    Spacecab

    Spacecab is a fully reusable spaceplane designed to use only existing technology. It is in effect an enlarged and refined Ascender, air launched from a carrier aeroplane like a much simplified Concorde. It could start passenger operations much earlier than a vehicle requiring new engines to be developed whilst providing a low-risk stepping-stone to the development of a mature spaceplane such as Spacebus.

    The original aspects of Spacecab are that its most basic design features have been selected so that existing technology can be used and so that it has provision for certification to airliner standards. It therefore incorporates as many conventional airliner design features as practicable, such as carrying pilots and taking off and landing horizontally (Landing vertically using rocket lift, as has been proposed by some, would present severe certification difficulties because there are so many critical failure modes).

    Key design features:

    - Conservative design
    - Fully reusable
    - Booster with jet and rocket engines
    - Separation at very high altitude
    - Buried orbiter

    Spacecab comprises two stages: a booster and an orbiter. The orbiter is partly buried in the booster to protect it from air loads during the boost phase of the flight to Mach 4 and to reduce the drag at supersonic speeds.

    In order to use existing engines and proven materials, and to have the margins required for civil certification, the booster has four turbojet engines provide the power for take-off, acceleration to Mach 2, flyback and landing plus two rocket engines to accelerate Spacecab from Mach 2 to Mach 4, at which the orbiter will separate.

    The orbiter carries a crew of two and has a cabin with a capacity for six passengers or space station crew or a payload of upto 750 kg of cargo. Its blunt swept-back shape reflects the fact that streamlining is not required for flight in space but reduces heating during reentry into the atmosphere.

    Spacecab can be built using existing technology, meaning that Spacecab's development should not be that much more difficult than a high-performance aeroplane.

    The development cost and timescale of the prototype of each stage should be comparable with that of the prototype of an advanced aeroplane, and the estimated total cost then works out at around $1 billion. This prototype could be used for early operational flights to orbit, and would be ideal for launching small satellites and ferrying crews and passengers to and from space.
    6.00
    3 votes
    171
    TDRS-B

    TDRS-B

    TDRS-B was an American communications satellite, which was to have formed part of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. It was destroyed when the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after launch. TDRS-B was launched in the payload bay of Challenger, attached to an Inertial Upper Stage. It was to have been deployed from the Shuttle in low Earth orbit. The IUS would have then performed two burns to raise the satellite into a geosynchronous orbit. On the previous TDRS launch, TDRS-1, the IUS second stage motor malfunctioned following the first stage burn, resulting in a loss of control, and delivery of the satellite into an incorrect orbit. TDRS-B was originally scheduled for launch on STS-12 in March 1984, however it was delayed and the flight cancelled following the IUS failure on TDRS-1. It was later re-manifested on STS-51-E, however this too was cancelled due to concerns over the reliability of the IUS. It was eventually assigned to STS-51-L, which was to also carry the SPARTAN-Halley astronomy satellite. STS-51-L launched with TDRS-B at 16:38 GMT on 28 January 1986. The Shuttle disintegrated 73 seconds after launch due to an o-ring failure in one of the
    5.67
    3 votes
    172
    Ariel 3

    Ariel 3

    Ariel 3 was the first artificial satellite designed and constructed in the United Kingdom. it was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 5, 1967 aboard a Scout launch vehicle. Ariel 3 had an orbital period of approximately 95 minutes, with an apogee of 608 km and a perigee of 497 km. It initially spun at 31 rpm for stability, though by the time the Ariel 3 deorbited, it had slowed to a rate of about 1 rpm. Ariel 3 carried five experiments. The experiments measured properties of the Thermosphere as well as detected "terrestrial radio noise" from thunderstorms and measured large-scale galactic radio frequency noise. Experimental data was recorded on an onboard tape recorder, then later transmitted to waiting observers on Earth. Ariel 3 was also fitted with a series of mirrors to allow easy observation of the satellite. On October 24, 1967 the tape recorder abroad Ariel 3 began to malfunction. This restricted observation to real-time operation only. Ariel 3 suffered from a significant power failure in December 1968, restricting the satellite's operation to daylight hours only. The satellite was completely shut down in September 1969. Its orbit decayed steadily until on
    6.50
    2 votes
    173
    Explorer 2

    Explorer 2

    Explorer 2 (EXPLR2) was to be a repeat of the Explorer 1 mission. However, due to a failure in the rocket during launch, the spacecraft did not reach orbit. Explorer 2 was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station LC-26A in Florida on March 5, 1958 at 18:28 UTC, by a Jupiter-C launch vehicle. The Jupiter-C had its origins in the United States Army's Project Orbiter in 1954. The project was canceled in 1955, when the decision was made to proceed with Project Vanguard. Following the launch of the Soviet Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) was directed to proceed with the launching of a satellite using the Jupiter-C, which had already been flight-tested in nose-cone re-entry tests for the Jupiter IRBM (intermediate-range ballistic missile). Working closely together, ABMA and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) completed the job of modifying the Jupiter-C and building Explorer 1 in 84 days. Explorer 2 was equipped with a Geiger counter for the purposes of detecting cosmic rays. After Explorer 3, it was decided that the original Geiger counter had been overwhelmed by strong radiation coming from a belt of charged particles trapped in space by the
    6.50
    2 votes
    174
    Explorer 3

    Explorer 3

    Explorer 3 (international designation 1958 Gamma) was an artificial satellite of the Earth, nearly identical to the first United States artificial satellite Explorer 1 in its design and mission. It was the second successful launch in the Explorer program. The satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 17:31:00 UTC on March 26, 1958, by the Jupiter-C vehicle. The Jupiter-C had its origins in the United States Army's Project Orbiter in 1954. The project was canceled in 1955, however, when the decision was made to proceed with Project Vanguard. Following the launch of the Soviet Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, ABMA was directed to proceed with the launching of a satellite using the Jupiter-C, which had already been flight-tested in nose-cone re-entry tests for the Jupiter IRBM (intermediate-range ballistic missile). Working closely together, ABMA and JPL completed the job of modifying the Jupiter-C and building the Explorer I in 84 days. Explorer 3 was launched in conjunction with the International Geophysical Year (IGY) by the U.S. Army (Ordnance) into an eccentric orbit. The objective of this spacecraft was a continuation of experiments started with
    6.50
    2 votes
    175
    Pioneer 10

    Pioneer 10

    Pioneer 10 (originally designated Pioneer F) is a 258-kilogram robotic space probe that completed the first mission to the planet Jupiter and became the first spacecraft to achieve escape velocity from the Solar System. The project was managed by the NASA Ames Research Center and the spacecraft was constructed by TRW Inc. Pioneer 10 was assembled around a hexagonal bus with a 2.74 m parabolic dish high-gain antenna oriented along the spin axis. Power was supplied by four radioisotope thermoelectric generators that provided a combined 155 W at the start of the mission. Pioneer 10 was launched on March 2, 1972 by an Atlas-Centaur expendable vehicle from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Between July 15, 1972, and February 15, 1973, it became the first spacecraft to traverse the asteroid belt. Imaging of Jupiter began November 6, 1973, at a range of 25 million km, and a total of more than 500 images were transmitted. The closest approach to the planet was on December 4, 1973, at a range of 132,252 km. During the mission, the on-board instruments were used to study the asteroid belt, the environment around Jupiter, solar wind, cosmic rays, and eventually the far reaches of the solar system and
    6.50
    2 votes
    176
    PLANET-C

    PLANET-C

    Akatsuki (あかつき, 暁, literally "dawn"), formerly known as the Venus Climate Orbiter (VCO) and Planet-C, is a Japanese unmanned spacecraft which was intended to explore Venus. It was launched aboard an H-IIA 202 rocket on 20 May 2010. The total launch mass of the spacecraft including propellant was 517.6 kg, 34 kg out of this was scientific instruments. The mission reached Venus on 7 December 2010 (JST) but failed to enter orbit around the planet. It had been intended to conduct scientific research for two or more years from an elliptical orbit ranging from 300 km to 80,000 km from Venus. Plans to re-enter a Venusian orbit on a future date are still being evaluated. Akatsuki is Japan's first planetary exploration mission since the Nozomi probe, which was launched in 1998 but failed to go into a Mars orbit in 2003 as planned. Akatsuki is a Japanese space mission to the planet Venus. Planned observations include cloud and surface imaging from an orbit around the planet with an infrared camera, which are aimed at investigation of the complex Venusian meteorology. Other experiments are designed to confirm the presence of lightning and to determine whether volcanism occurs currently on
    6.50
    2 votes
    177
    PnPSat-1

    PnPSat-1

    PnPSat-1 initiated in 2004 (also known as Plug-and-Play Satellite) is an experimental satellite built by the United States Air Force Research Laboratory. The spacecraft was the first choice for the third flight of the Falcon 1 rocket in August 2008, but was not selected because it was not completed at that time. The primary mission is to demonstrate concepts of plug-and-play spacecraft development by successfully constructing and launching a spacecraft based on several technologies developed for that purpose. The design of the spacecraft centers on the idea of "smart" structural panels which are sealed aluminum panels which contain the necessary power and data electronics and harnessing. Components mounted on these panels are limited to devices which are too large to be contained inside a panel and payload devices. The key to the design is AFRL's Space Plug-and-play Avionics (SPA) protocols and the Satellite Data Model (SDM) flight software. The SPA family of protocols provides the standardized communications interface between the flight computer system of the spacecraft and the various avionics and sensors. The SDM software performs the plug-and-play function for software and
    6.50
    2 votes
    178
    Rosetta

    Rosetta

    • Manufacturer: European Space Agency
    Rosetta is a robotic spacecraft of the European Space Agency on a mission to study the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Rosetta consists of two main elements: the Rosetta space probe and the Philae lander. The spacecraft was launched on 2 March 2004 on an Ariane 5 rocket and will reach the comet by mid 2014. The space probe is intended to orbit and perform long-term exploration of the comet at close quarters. On 10 November 2014 the Philae lander will attempt to land and perform detailed investigations on the comet's surface. Both the probe and the lander carry a large complement of scientific experiments designed to complete the most detailed study of a comet ever attempted. The probe is named after the Rosetta Stone, as it is hoped the mission will help form an idea of how the solar system looked before planets formed. The lander is named after the Nile island Philae where an obelisk was found that helped decipher the Rosetta Stone. The spacecraft has already performed two successful asteroid flyby missions on its way to the comet. In 2007, Rosetta performed a Mars swingby (flyby), and returned images. The craft completed its fly-by of asteroid 2867 Šteins in September 2008 and
    6.50
    2 votes
    179
    Ranger 5

    Ranger 5

    Ranger 5 was a spacecraft of the Ranger program designed to transmit pictures of the lunar surface to Earth stations during a period of 10 minutes of flight prior to impacting on the Moon, to rough-land a seismometer capsule on the Moon, to collect gamma-ray data in flight, to study radar reflectivity of the lunar surface, and to continue testing of the Ranger program for development of lunar and interplanetary spacecraft. Due to an unknown malfunction, the spacecraft ran out of power and ceased operation. It passed within 725 km of the Moon. Ranger 5 was a Block II Ranger spacecraft similar to Ranger 3 and Ranger 4. The basic vehicle was 3.1 m high and consisted of a lunar capsule covered with a balsawood impact-limiter, 65 cm in diameter, a mono-propellant mid-course motor, a retrorocket with a thrust of 5080 lbf (23 kN), and a gold and chrome plated hexagonal base 1.5 m in diameter. A large high-gain dish antenna was attached to the base. Two wing-like solar panels (5.2 m across) were attached to the base and deployed early in the flight. Power was generated by 8680 solar cells contained in the solar panels which charged an 11.5 kg 1 kWh capacity AgZn launching and backup
    4.75
    4 votes
    180
    Kliper

    Kliper

    Kliper (Клипер, English: Clipper) was a proposed partly reusable manned spacecraft by RSC Energia. Due to lack of funding from the ESA and RSA, the project has been indefinitely postponed as of 2006. Designed primarily to replace the Soyuz spacecraft, Kliper was proposed in two versions: as a pure lifting body design and as spaceplane with small wings. In either case, the craft would have been able to glide into the atmosphere at an angle that produces much less stress on the human occupants than the current Soyuz. Kliper was intended to be designed to be able to carry up to six people and to perform ferry services between Earth and the International Space Station. In February 2004 Nikolai Moiseyev, the deputy director of Russian Federal Space Agency (FSA) told journalists that the Kliper project had been included in the Russian federal space program for 2005-15. At that point he announced that if the program is implemented successfully the first launch may even take place in five years' time. Kliper had been developed since 2000 and reportedly relied heavily on research studies as well as proposals for a small Russian lifting body spacecraft from the 1990s. Externally its design
    7.00
    1 votes
    181
    Megha-Tropiques Mission

    Megha-Tropiques Mission

    Megha-Tropiques is a satellite mission to study the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere in the context of climate change A collaborative effort between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Megha-Tropiques was successfully deployed into orbit by a PSLV rocket in October 2011. Megha-Tropiques was initially scrapped in 2003, but later revived in 2004 after India increased its contribution and overall costs were lowered. With the progress made by GEWEX (Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment), Megha-Tropiques is designed to understand tropical meteorological and climatic processes, by obtaining reliable statistics on the water and energy budget of the tropical atmosphere. Megha-Tropiques complements other data in the current regional monsoon projects such as MAHASRI and the completed GAME project. Megha-Tropiques also seeks to describe the evolution of major tropical weather systems. The focus will be the repetitive measurement of the tropics. Primarily Megha-Tropiques provides instruments that allow simultaneously observation of 3 interrelated components of the atmospheric engine: water vapor, condensed water (clouds and
    7.00
    1 votes
    182
    Sakigake

    Sakigake

    Sakigake (translating to "pioneer", or "Pathfinder"), pre-launch codename MS-T5, was Japan's first interplanetary spacecraft, and the first deep space probe to be launched by any country other than the USA or the Soviet Union. It aimed to demonstrate the performance of the new launch vehicle, test the schemes of the first escape from the Earth gravitation for Japan on engineering basis, observing space plasma and magnetic field in interplanetary space. Sakigake was also supposed to get references for scientists. Early measurements would be used to improve the mission of the Suisei probe several months later. Sakigake developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science for the National Space Development Agency (both of which are now part of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA). It became a part of the Halley Armada together with Suisei, the Soviet/French Vega probes, the ESA Giotto and the NASA International Cometary Explorer, to explore Halley's Comet during its 1986 sojourn through the inner solar system. Unlike its twin Suisei, it carried no imaging instruments in its instrument payload. Sakigake was launched January 7, 1985 from Kagoshima Space Center by
    7.00
    1 votes
    183
    Pioneer 2

    Pioneer 2

    Pioneer 2 was the last of the three project Able space probes designed to probe lunar and cislunar space. Shortly after launch at 07:30:00 UTC on November 8, 1958, the third stage of the launch vehicle separated but failed to ignite, and Pioneer 2 did not achieve its intended lunar orbit. The spacecraft attained a maximum altitude of 1,550 km (960 mi) before reentering Earth's atmosphere at 28.7 N, 1.9 E over NW Africa. A small amount of data was obtained during the short flight, including evidence that the equatorial region around Earth has higher flux and higher energy radiation than previously considered and that the micrometeorite density is higher around Earth than in space. Pioneer 2 was nearly identical to Pioneer 1. It consisted of a thin cylindrical midsection with a squat truncated cone frustum on each side. The cylinder was 74 cm in diameter and the height from the top of one cone to the top of the opposite cone was 76 cm. Along the axis of the spacecraft and protruding from the end of the lower cone was an 11 kg solid propellant injection rocket and rocket case, which formed the main structural member of the spacecraft. Eight small low-thrust solid propellant velocity
    5.33
    3 votes
    184
    WIND

    WIND

    The Global Geospace Science (GGS) WIND satellite is a NASA science spacecraft launched at 04:31:00 EST on November 1, 1994 from launch pad 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Merritt Island, Florida aboard a McDonnell Douglas Delta II 7925-10 rocket. WIND was designed and manufactured by Martin Marietta Astro Space Division in East Windsor, New Jersey. The satellite is a spin stabilized cylindrical satellite with a diameter of 2.4 m and a height of 1.8 m. It was deployed to study radio and plasma that occur in the solar wind and in the Earth's magnetosphere before the solar wind reaches the Earth. The spacecraft's original mission was to orbit the Sun at the L1 Lagrangian point, but this was delayed when the SOHO and ACE spacecraft were sent to the same location. WIND has been at L1 continuously since 2004, and is still operating as of November 2011. WIND currently has enough fuel to last roughly 60 years at L1. WIND continues to produce relevant research as its data has contributed to over ~600 publications since 2008 and nearly 2000 publications prior to 2008. As of March 22, 2012, the total number of publications either directly or indirectly using Wind data is
    5.33
    3 votes
    185
    GOES 8

    GOES 8

    GOES 8, known as GOES-I before becoming operational, was an American weather satellite, which formed part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. It was launched in 1994, and operated until 2004 when it was retired and boosted to a graveyard orbit. At launch, the satellite had a mass of 2,105 kilograms (4,640 lb), and an expected operational lifespan of three or five years. It was built by Space Systems/Loral, based on the LS-1300 satellite bus, and was the first of five GOES-I series satellites to be launched. GOES 8 was also featured in the 1996 film Twister. GOES-I was launched aboard a Martin Marietta Atlas I rocket, flying from Launch Complex 36B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 06:04 GMT on 13 April 1994, and placed the satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. It was then raised into geostationary orbit by means of an R-4D-11 apogee motor. During the first burn of the apogee motor, an unusually high temperature was detected in one of the flanges upon which a thruster was mounted, however later analysis, based on satellites using similar thruster systems,
    6.00
    2 votes
    186
    Huygens probe

    Huygens probe

    The Huygens probe was an atmospheric entry probe carried to Saturn's moon Titan as part of the Cassini–Huygens mission. The probe was supplied by the European Space Agency (ESA) and named after the Dutch 17th century astronomer Christiaan Huygens. The combined Cassini–Huygens spacecraft was launched from Earth on October 15, 1997. Huygens separated from the Cassini orbiter on December 25, 2004, and landed on Titan on January 14, 2005 near the Xanadu region. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer solar system. It touched down on land, although the possibility that it would touch down in an ocean was also taken into account in its design. The probe was designed to gather data for a few hours in the atmosphere, and possibly a short time at the surface. It continued to send data for about 90 minutes after touchdown. It remains the most distant landing of any craft launched from Earth. Huygens was designed to enter and brake in Titan's atmosphere and parachute a fully instrumented robotic laboratory down to the surface. When the mission was planned, it was not yet certain whether the landing site would be a mountain range, a flat plain, an ocean, or something else,
    6.00
    2 votes
    187
    Pioneer 4

    Pioneer 4

    Pioneer 4 was a spin-stabilized spacecraft launched as part of the Pioneer program on a lunar flyby trajectory and into a heliocentric orbit making it the first U.S. probe to escape from the Earth's gravity. It carried a payload similar to Pioneer 3: a lunar radiation environment experiment using a Geiger-Müller tube detector and a lunar photography experiment. It passed within 60,000 km of the Moon's surface. However, Pioneer 4 did not come close enough to trigger its photoelectric sensor. The spacecraft was still in solar orbit as of 1969. Pioneer 4 was a cone-shaped probe 51 cm high and 23 cm in diameter at its base. The cone was composed of a thin fiberglass shell coated with a gold wash to make it electrically conducting and painted with white stripes to maintain the temperature between 10 and 50 degrees Celsius. At the tip of the cone was a small probe which combined with the cone itself to act as an antenna. At the base of the cone a ring of mercury batteries provided power. A photoelectric sensor protruded from the center of the ring. The sensor was designed with two photocells which would be triggered by the light of the Moon when the probe was within about 30,000 km of
    6.00
    2 votes
    188
    Surveyor 4

    Surveyor 4

    Surveyor 4 was the fourth lunar lander in the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon. This spacecraft crashed after an otherwise flawless mission; telemetry contact was lost 2.5 minutes before touchdown. This spacecraft was the fourth in a series designed to achieve a soft landing on the moon and to return photography of the lunar surface for determining characteristics of the lunar terrain for Apollo lunar landing missions. Equipment on board included a television camera and auxiliary mirrors, a soil mechanics surface sampler, strain gauges on the spacecraft landing legs, and numerous engineering sensors. After a flawless flight to the moon, radio signals from the spacecraft ceased during the terminal-descent phase, approximately 2.5 min. before touchdown. Contact with the spacecraft was never reestablished, and the mission was unsuccessful. The solid fuel retro rocket may have exploded near the end of its scheduled burn. Like Surveyor 3, Surveyor 4 was equipped with a surface claw (with a magnet in the claw) to detect and measure ferrous elements in the lunar surface. The mission was completely successful until all communications were abruptly
    6.00
    2 votes
    189
    CARTOSAT-1

    CARTOSAT-1

    Cartosat-1 is a stereoscopic Earth observation satellite in a sun-synchronous orbit. The satellite was built, launched and maintained by the Indian Space Research Organisation. Weighing around 1560 kg at launch, its applications will mainly be towards cartography in India. It was launched by the PSLV-C6 on 5 May 2005 from the newly built second launch pad at Sriharikota. Images from the satellite will be available from GeoEye for worldwide distribution. The satellite covers the entire globe in 1867 orbits on a 126 day cycle. Adjacent paths are covered with a separation of eleven days. Cartosat-1 carries two state-of-the-art panchromatic (PAN) cameras that take black and white stereoscopic pictures of the earth in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The swath covered by these high resolution PAN cameras is 30 km and their spatial resolution is 2.5 metres. Department of Space (DOS),Government of India has a glorious history of having launched a series of satellites for Earth’s resource management and monitoring. These satellites have been very successful in providing data in various scales ranging from 1:1 Million upto 1:12,500 scale . Each of the Indian Remote
    5.00
    3 votes
    190
    Magellan probe

    Magellan probe

    The Magellan spacecraft, also referred to as the Venus Radar Mapper, was a 1,035-kilogram (2,280 lb) robotic space probe launched by NASA on May 4, 1989, to map the surface of Venus using Synthetic Aperture Radar and measure the planetary gravity. It was the first interplanetary mission to be launched from the Space Shuttle, the first to use an inertial upper stage booster and was the first spacecraft to test aerobraking as a method for circularizing an orbit. Magellan was the fourth successful, NASA funded mission to Venus and ended an eleven year U.S. interplanetary exploration hiatus. Beginning in the late 1970s, scientists pushed for a radar mapping mission to Venus. First seeking to construct a spacecraft titled Venus Orbiter Imaging Radar, it became obvious the mission would be outside the limits of the budgetary constraints during the following years and was subsequently canceled in 1982. Recommended by the Solar System Exploration Committee, a stripped down mission proposal was resubmitted and accepted as the Venus Radar Mapper in 1983. The proposal included a limited focus and a single primary scientific instrument. In 1985, the mission was renamed Magellan, after the
    5.00
    3 votes
    191
    Jupiter Europa Orbiter

    Jupiter Europa Orbiter

    As a part of the defunct Europa Jupiter System Mission – Laplace (EJSM/Laplace), the Jupiter Europa Orbiter (JEO) was a proposed orbiter probe slated for lift-off in 2020 and planned for detailed studies of Jupiter's moons Europa and Io as well as the Jovian magnetosphere. Its main goal would have been to look for evidence of a possible subsurface ocean.
    5.50
    2 votes
    192
    Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2

    Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2

    Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 (Chosungul: 광명성 2호, Hanja: 光明星 2號, meaning Bright Star-2 or Lode Star-2) was a satellite the North Korean government claimed to have placed into orbit in April 2009. According to the North Korean government, an Unha-2 rocket carrying the satellite was launched on Sunday 5 April 2009 at 11:20 local time (02:20 UTC) from the Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground at Musudan-ri in northeastern North Korea. However, officials in South Korea and the United States reported that the rocket and any payload had fallen into the Pacific Ocean. The Russian Space Control concurred, stating that the satellite "simply is not there". Prior to the launch, concern was raised by other nations, particularly the United States, South Korea and Japan, that the rocket was a Taepodong-2, and the launch might be a trial run of technology that could be used in the future to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. The launch of the rocket was sharply condemned by the United States and the European Union, while the People's Republic of China and Russia urged restraint. On 13 April 2009, the United Nations Security Council issued a Presidential Statement condemning the launch as a violation
    5.50
    2 votes
    193
    Ranger 6

    Ranger 6

    Ranger 6 was designed to achieve a lunar impact trajectory and to transmit high-resolution photographs of the lunar surface during the final minutes of flight up to impact. The spacecraft carried six television vidicon cameras, 2 wide angle (channel F, cameras A and B) and 4 narrow angle (channel P) to accomplish these objectives. The cameras were arranged in two separate chains, or channels, each self-contained with separate power supplies, timers, and transmitters so as to afford the greatest reliability and probability of obtaining high-quality Television pictures. No other experiments were carried on the spacecraft. Due to a failure of the camera system no images were returned. Rangers 6, 7, 8, and 9 were so-called Block III versions of the Ranger spacecraft. The spacecraft consisted of a hexagonal aluminum frame base 1.5 m across on which was mounted the propulsion and power units, topped by a truncated conical tower which held the TV cameras. Two solar panel wings, each 739 mm wide by 1537 mm long, extended from opposite edges of the base with a full span of 4.6 m, and a pointable high gain dish antenna was hinge mounted at one of the corners of the base away from the solar
    5.50
    2 votes
    194
    Vanguard 2

    Vanguard 2

    Vanguard 2 or Vanguard II is an earth-orbiting satellite launched February 17, 1959 aboard a Vanguard SLV 4 rocket as part of the United States Navy's Project Vanguard. The satellite was designed to measure cloud-cover distribution over the daylight portion of its orbit, for a period of 19 days, and to provide information on the density of the atmosphere for the lifetime of its orbit (~300 years). As of April 4, 2012, Vanguard 2 was still in orbit. The spacecraft is a magnesium sphere 20 in (50.8 cm) in diameter. It contained two optical telescopes with two photocells. The sphere was internally gold-plated, and externally covered with an aluminum deposit coated with silicon oxide of sufficient thickness to provide thermal control for the instrumentation. Radio communication was provided by a 1 W, 108.03 MHz telemetry transmitter and a 10 mW, 108 MHz beacon transmitter that sent a continuous signal for tracking purposes. A command receiver was used to activate a tape recorder that relayed telescope experiment data to the telemetry transmitter. The power supply for the instrumentation was provided by mercury batteries. Because of its symmetrical shape, Vanguard 2 was selected by the
    5.50
    2 votes
    195
    Arabsat-1B

    Arabsat-1B

    Arabsat-1B was a Saudi Arabian communications satellite which was operated by Arabsat. It was used to provide communication services to the Arab States. It was constructed by Aérospatiale, based on the Spacebus 100 satellite bus, and carried two NATO E/F-band (IEEE S band) and twenty five NATO G/H-Band (IEEE C band) transponders. At launch, it had a mass of 1,270 kilograms (2,800 lb), and an expected operational lifespan of seven years. Arabsat-1B was launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-51-G. Discovery was launched from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 11:33:00 GMT on 17 June 1985. It was deployed from Discovery, and boosted to a geosynchronous transfer orbit by means of a PAM-D upper stage. Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud flew aboard the Shuttle to supervise deployment, becoming the first Saudi citizen and first member of royalty to fly in space. Morelos 1 and Telstar 3D were also deployed on the same mission. Arabsat 1B was placed into a geosynchronous orbit at a longitude of 26° East. In October 1991, a problem developed with the spacecraft's attitude control system, causing it to drift eastward out of control. The same fault had developed aboard
    6.00
    1 votes
    196
    Astrobiology Field Laboratory

    Astrobiology Field Laboratory

    The Astrobiology Field Laboratory (AFL) (also Mars Astrobiology Field Laboratory or MAFL) was a proposed NASA unmanned spacecraft that would have conducted a robotic search for life on Mars. This proposed mission, which was not funded, would have landed a rover on Mars in 2016 and explore a site for habitat. Examples of such sites are an active or extinct hydrothermal deposit, a dry lake or a specific polar site. Had it been funded, the rover was to be built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, based upon the Mars Science Laboratory rover design, it would have carried astrobiology-oriented instruments, and ideally, a core drill. The original plans called for a launch in 2016, however, budgetary constraints caused funding cuts. The rover could have been the first mission since the Viking program landers of the 1970s to specifically look for the chemistry associated with life (biosignatures), such as carbon-based compounds along with molecules involving both sulfur and nitrogen. The mission strategy was to search for habitable zones by "following the water" and "finding the carbon." In particular, it was to conduct detailed analysis of geologic environments identified by the 2012
    6.00
    1 votes
    197
    Chandra X-ray Observatory

    Chandra X-ray Observatory

    The Chandra X-ray Observatory is a space telescope launched on STS-93 by NASA on July 23, 1999. Chandra is sensitive to X-ray sources 100 times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope, enabled by the high angular resolution of its mirrors. Since the Earth's atmosphere absorbs the vast majority of X-rays, they are not detectable from Earth-based telescopes; therefore space-based telescopes are required to make these observations. Chandra is an Earth satellite in a 64 hour orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of 2012. Chandra Observatory is the third of NASA's four Great Observatories. The first was Hubble Space Telescope; the second was the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, launched in 1991; and the last is the Spitzer Space Telescope. Of the four, Compton ended in 2000 and the other three continue. Chandra has been described as being as revolutionary to astronomy as Galileo's first telescope. It was named in honor of the Nobel-prize winning physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar who worked for University of Chicago from 1937 until he died in 1995. He was known for determining the maximum mass for white dwarfs. "Chandra" means "moon" in Sanskrit. Before 1998, it was known as AXAF, the
    6.00
    1 votes
    198
    Cosmos 1

    Cosmos 1

    Cosmos 1 was a project by Cosmos Studios and The Planetary Society to test a solar sail in space. As part of the project, an unmanned solar sail spacecraft christened Cosmos 1 was launched into space at 15:46:09 EDT (19:46:09 UTC) on June 21, 2005 from the submarine Borisoglebsk in the Barents Sea. However, a rocket failure prevented the spacecraft from reaching its intended orbit. Once in orbit, the spacecraft was supposed to deploy a large sail, upon which photons from the Sun would push, thereby increasing the spacecraft's velocity (the contributions from the solar wind are similar, but of much smaller magnitude). Had the mission been successful, it would have been the first ever orbital use of a solar sail to speed up a spacecraft, as well as the first space mission by a space advocacy group. The project budget was US$4 million. The Planetary Society planned to raise another $4 million for Cosmos 2, a reimplementation of the experiment provisionally to be launched on a Soyuz resupply mission to the International Space Station. The Discovery Channel was an early investor. However, advances in technology and the greater availability of lower mass piggyback slots on more launch
    6.00
    1 votes
    199
    Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer

    Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer

    The Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) is a space-based telescope operated by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. FUSE was launched on a Delta II rocket on June 24, 1999, as a part of NASA's Origins program. FUSE detected light in the far ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, between 90.5-119.5 nanometres, which is mostly unobservable by other telescopes. Its primary mission was to characterize universal deuterium in an effort to learn about the stellar processing times of deuterium left over from the Big Bang. FUSE resides in a low Earth orbit, approximately 760 km (410 nmi) in altitude, with an inclination of 25 degrees and just less than a 100 minute orbital period. Its Explorer designation is Explorer 77. On July 12, 2007, FUSE's final reaction wheel, which is required for accurately pointing a spacecraft, failed and efforts to restart it were unsuccessful. An announcement was made on September 6 that because the fine control needed to perform its mission had been lost, the FUSE mission would be terminated. Although the original specification was to have a Wolter-type grazing incidence telescope, the final design of the FUSE
    6.00
    1 votes
    200
    GOES 11

    GOES 11

    GOES 11, known as GOES-L before becoming operational, is an American weather satellite, which is part of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system. It was launched in 2000, and operated at the GOES-WEST position, providing coverage of the west coast of the United States, until December 6, 2011. GOES-L was launched aboard an International Launch Services Atlas IIA rocket, flying from Space Launch Complex 36A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 07:07 GMT on 3 May. The launch was originally scheduled for 15 March 1999, however it was delayed to allow the Eutelsat W3 satellite to be launched first. Following this, it was rescheduled for 15 May. On 30 April, the Centaur upper stage of a Titan IV(401)B failed during the launch of USA-143. Since a version of the Centaur was also used on the Atlas II, the launch of GOES-L was delayed a week to ensure that the same problem would not affect its launch. Less than five days after the Titan failure, a Delta III failed to launch Orion 3. The failure occurred during the second stage restart, and as the Delta III and Atlas II both used RL10 engines
    6.00
    1 votes
    201
    Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer

    Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer

    The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is a space exploration mission scheduled for launch in early 2013. To carry out the mission NASA will send a robotic spacecraft into orbit around the Moon, and use instruments aboard the spacecraft to study the Moon's atmosphere and dust in the Moon's vicinity. Instruments will include a dust detector, a neutral mass spectrometer, an ultraviolet-visible spectrometer, and recently announced, a laser communications (lasercomm) terminal. LADEE was announced during the presentation of NASA's FY09 budget in February 2008. It will be launched aboard a Minotaur V from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. LADEE is a strategic mission that will address three major science goals: LADEE is scheduled for launch in May 2013 out of the Wallops Flight Facility on a Minotaur V carrier rocket. The LADEE propulsion system will consist of an orbit control system (OCS) and a reaction control system (RCS). The OCS will provide velocity control along the +Z axis for large velocity adjustments. The RCS will provide three-axis attitude control during burns of the OCS system, and will also provide momentum dumps for the reaction wheels which are
    6.00
    1 votes
    202
    Mars Pathfinder

    Mars Pathfinder

    Mars Pathfinder (MESUR Pathfinder) was an American spacecraft that landed a base station with a roving probe on Mars in 1997. It consisted of a lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, and a lightweight (10.6 kg/23 lb) wheeled robotic Mars rover named Sojourner. Launched on December 4, 1996 by NASA aboard a Delta II booster a month after the Mars Global Surveyor was launched, it landed on July 4, 1997 on Mars's Ares Vallis, in a region called Chryse Planitia in the Oxia Palus quadrangle. The lander then opened, exposing the rover which conducted many experiments on the Martian surface. The mission carried a series of scientific instruments to analyze the Martian atmosphere, climate, geology and the composition of its rocks and soil. It was the second project from NASA's Discovery Program, which promotes the use of low-cost spacecraft and frequent launches under the motto "cheaper, faster and better" promoted by the then administrator, Daniel Goldin. The mission was directed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology, responsible for NASA's Mars Exploration Program. The project manager was JPL's Tony Spear. This mission was
    6.00
    1 votes
    203
    Pioneer 0

    Pioneer 0

    Pioneer 0 (also known as Thor-Able 1) was a failed United States space probe that was designed to go into orbit around the Moon, carrying a television camera, a micrometeorite detector and a magnetometer, as part of the first International Geophysical Year (IGY) science payload. It was designed by the United States Air Force (USAF) as the first satellite in the Pioneer program and was one of the first attempted launches beyond Earth orbit by any country, but the rocket failed shortly after launch. The probe was intended to be called Pioneer (or Pioneer 1), but the launch failure precluded that name. The spacecraft consisted of a thin cylindrical midsection with a squat truncated cone frustum of 6.5 inches (17 cm) high on each side. The cylinder was 29 inches (74 cm) in diameter and the height from the top of one cone to the top of the opposite cone was 76 cm. Along the axis of the spacecraft and protruding from the end of the lower cone was an 11 kilograms (24 lb) solid propellant injection rocket and rocket case, which formed the main structural member of the spacecraft. Eight small low-thrust solid propellant velocity adjustment rockets were mounted on the end of the upper cone
    6.00
    1 votes
    204
    TacSat-2

    TacSat-2

    TacSat-2 (also known as JWS-D1 or RoadRunner) is an experimental satellite built by the USAF's Air Force Research Laboratory with an operational life expected to be not more than one year as part of the 'Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration' program. The TacSat series of experimental spacecraft are designed to allow military commanders on a battlefield to request and obtain imagery and other data from a satellite as it passes overhead. Collected data will be delivered to field commanders in minutes rather than hours or days. The sensor on TacSat-2 can collect color images sharp enough to distinguish ground objects as small as 1 meter in diameter. TacSat-2 was launched on 16 December 2006 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport using an Orbital Sciences Minotaur launch vehicle. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport is a commercial space launch facility located on the Delmarva Peninsula 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Chincoteague, Virginia. Satellites in the TacSat series were planned to use commercial or available launchers, and largely off-the-shelf components, in order to reduce costs. The space platform was built by MicroSat Systems of Littleton, Colorado. The core avionics of the
    6.00
    1 votes
    205
    Titan Saturn System Mission

    Titan Saturn System Mission

    Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM) was a joint NASA/ESA proposal for an exploration of Saturn and its moons Titan and Enceladus, where many complex phenomena were revealed by the Cassini–Huygens mission. With an estimated NASA cost of $2.5 Billion (FY07), TSSM is proposed to launch in 2020, get gravity assists from Earth and Venus, and arrive at the Saturn system in 2029. The 4-year prime mission would include a two-year Saturn tour, a 2-month Titan aero-sampling phase, and a 20-month Titan orbit phase. In 2009, a mission to Jupiter and its moons was given priority over Titan Saturn System Mission. The Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM) was officially created in January 2009 by the merging of the ESA's Titan and Enceladus Mission (TandEM) with NASA's Titan Explorer (2007) study, although plans to combine both concepts date at least back to early 2008. TSSM was competing against the Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM) proposal for funding since then, however in February 2009 it was announced that NASA/ESA had given EJSM priority ahead of TSSM, although TSSM will continue to be studied for a later launch date, probably sometime in the 2020s. Detailed assessment reports of the
    6.00
    1 votes
    206
    Vega 2

    Vega 2

    Vega 2 (along with Vega 1) is a Soviet space probe part of the Vega program. The spacecraft was a development of the earlier Venera craft. They were designed by Babakin Space Center and constructed as 5VK by Lavochkin at Khimki. The craft was powered by twin large solar panels and instruments included an antenna dish, cameras, spectrometer, infrared sounder, magnetometers (MISCHA), and plasma probes. The 4,920 kg craft was launched by a Proton 8K82K rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Tyuratam, Kazakh SSR. Both Vega 1 and 2 were three-axis stabilized spacecraft. The spacecraft were equipped with a dual bumper shield for dust protection from Halley's Comet. The descent module arrived at Venus on 15 June 1985, two days after being released from the Vega 2 flyby probe. The module, a 1500 kg, 240 cm diameter sphere, contained a surface lander and a balloon explorer. The flyby probe performed a gravitational assist maneuver using Venus, and continued its mission to intercept the comet. The surface lander was identical to that of Vega 1 as well as the previous five Venera missions. The objective of the probe was the study of the atmosphere and the exposed surface of the planet. The
    6.00
    1 votes
    207
    Space Capsule Recovery Experiment

    Space Capsule Recovery Experiment

    The Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SCRE or more commonly SRE or SRE-1) is an Indian experimental spacecraft which was launched at 03:53 GMT on January 10, 2007 from Sriharikota by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The launch was conducted using the PSLV C7 rocket, along with three other satellites. It remained in orbit for 12 days before re-entering the Earth's atmosphere and splashing down into the Bay of Bengal at 04:16 GMT on January 22. SRE-1 was designed to demonstrate the capability to recover an orbiting space capsule, and the technology of an orbiting platform for performing experiments in microgravity conditions. It was also intended to test reusable Thermal Protection System, navigation, guidance and control, hypersonic aero-thermodynamics, management of communication blackout, deceleration and flotation system and recovery operations. SRE-1 is a 555 kg capsule. It comprises aero-thermo structure, internal structure, Mission Management Unit, Altitude sensors and Inertial measurement unit, S-band transponder with unique belt array antenna embedded to ATS, power and electronics packages to support deceleration and flotation system. It also houses two
    4.33
    3 votes
    208
    Earth Observing-1

    Earth Observing-1

    The Earth Observing-1 Mission (EO-1) satellite is part of NASA's New Millennium Program (NMP), to develop and validate a number of instrument and spacecraft bus breakthrough technologies designed to enable the development of future earth imaging observatories that will have a significant increase in performance while also having reduced cost and mass. Its Advanced Land Imager (ALI) measures nine different wavelengths simultaneously, instead of the seven measured by the imager in Landsat 7. This permits a greater flexibility in false-color imagery. Another improvement is that instead of having an imaging spectrometer that sweeps from side to side, the ALI has a linear array of spectrometers that each scan a strip of ground parallel to that of adjacent spectrometers. In order to compare the two imagers, EO-1 follows Landsat 7 in its orbit by exactly one minute. Other new technologies include: EO-1 has also been used to test new software, like the Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment. This allows the spacecraft to decide for itself how best to create a desired image. It is only limited by a priority list of different types of images, and by forecasts of cloud cover provided by the
    5.00
    2 votes
    209
    Neutral Ion-Coupling Explorer

    Neutral Ion-Coupling Explorer

    The Neutral Ion-Coupling Explorer (NICE) is one of six proposed SMEX satellites under consideration by NASA. The goal of the NICE mission is to answer the question: How do neutral dynamics drive ionospheric variability? NICE will approach this goal with three targeted investigations of neutral-ion coupling: NICE will discover how winds and composition of the upper atmosphere drive the electric fields and chemical reactions that control Earth's ionosphere. The mission will resolve competing theories about the low-latitude ionospheric dynamo, and will explain how large-scale waves from the lower atmosphere can couple to the ionosphere and upper atmosphere. Understanding neutral-ion coupling in Earth's atmosphere has applications for solar and planetary atmospheres including Mars and Jupiter. NICE will be the first mission to simultaneously measure all the key parameters that both characterize and drive the ionosphere. It will remotely measure the neutral wind, temperature, composition, atmospheric and ionospheric density distributions as well as make in situ measurements of the ion motion. NICE uses flight-tested science instruments in a low-inclination orbit where the geometry
    5.00
    2 votes
    210
    Project 921-2

    Project 921-2

    Tiangong (Chinese: 天宫; pinyin: Tiāngōng; literally "Heavenly Palace") is a space station program of the People's Republic of China, with the goal of creating a third generation space station, comparable to Mir. This program is autonomous and unconnected to any other international space-active countries. The program began in 1992 as Project 921-2. As of March 2011, China is moving forward on a large multiphase construction program that will lead to a large space station around 2020. China launched its first space laboratory, Tiangong 1, on September 29, 2011. Following Tiangong 1, a more advanced space laboratory complete with cargo ship, dubbed Tiangong 2, will be built. Tiangong 3 will continue to develop these technologies. The project will culminate with a large orbital station, which will consist of a 20-ton core module, 2 smaller research modules, and cargo transport craft. It will support three astronauts for long-term habitation and is scheduled to be completed just as the International Space Station is currently scheduled to be retired. In 1999, Project 921-2 was finally given official authorization. Two versions of the station were studied: an 8-metric ton "space
    5.00
    2 votes
    211
    Proteus

    Proteus

    Proteus is the name of the multimission platform satellite developed by CNES and Aérospatiale Satellite Division (now Thales Alenia Space) in France.
    5.00
    2 votes
    212
    Ranger 1

    Ranger 1

    Ranger 1 was a spacecraft in the Ranger program of unmanned space missions. Its primary mission was to test the performance of those functions and parts necessary for carrying out subsequent lunar and planetary missions; a secondary objective was to study the nature of particles and fields in interplanetary space. The spacecraft was only partially successful, due to failure of a rocket late in the mission. The spacecraft was of the Ranger Block 1 design and consisted of a hexagonal base 1.5 m across upon which was mounted a cone-shaped 4 m high tower of aluminum struts and braces. Two solar panel wings measuring 5.2 m from tip to tip extended from the base. A high-gain directional dish antenna was attached to the bottom of the base. Spacecraft experiments and other equipment were mounted on the base and tower. Instruments aboard the spacecraft included a Lyman-alpha telescope, a rubidium-vapor magnetometer, electrostatic analyzers, medium-energy range particle detectors, two triple coincidence telescopes, a cosmic-ray integrating ionization chamber, cosmic dust detectors, and solar X-ray scintillation counters. The communications system included the high gain antenna and an
    5.00
    2 votes
    213
    Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite

    Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite

    The Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS) was an astronomical observatory launched on December 5, 1998 as part of the Small Explorer program within NASA. Investigators at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Goddard Space Flight Center designed the telescope and the spacecraft, respectively. The satellite examined microwaves from 487–556 GHz that originated in water molecules, molecular oxygen, atomic carbon, and carbon monoxide in space. This corresponds to wavelengths of about 0.54 to 0.61 millimeters (540 to 610 μm). SWAS made observations until July 21, 2004. In June 2005, the spacecraft was reactivated for a 3 month period (after a year of stand-by operation) in order to observe the effects of the Deep Impact probe's collision with comet P/Tempel 1. The main optic of SWAS is a 55 cm x 71 cm elliptical off-axis Cassegrain telescope, sending light into a pair of Schottky diode receivers. SWAS observed a unique area of the spectrum alternately described as submillimeter (for the wavelength of light seen), microwave, radio, and/or far infrared.
    5.00
    2 votes
    214
    Surveyor 3

    Surveyor 3

    Surveyor 3 was the third lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon. Launched on April 17, 1967, Surveyor 3 landed on April 20, 1967 at the Mare Cognitum portion of the Oceanus Procellarum (S3º 01' 41.43" W23º 27' 29.55") . It transmitted a total of 6,315 TV images to the Earth. As Surveyor 3 was landing (in a crater, as it turned out ), highly reflective rocks confused the spacecraft's lunar descent radar. The engines failed to cut off at 14 feet (4.3 meters) in altitude as called for in the mission plans, and this delay caused the lander to bounce on the lunar surface twice. Its first bounce reached the altitude of about 35 feet (10 meters). The second bounce reached a height of about 11 feet (three meters). On the third impact with the surface — from the initial altitude of three meters, and velocity of zero, which was below the planned altitude of 14 feet (4.3 meters), and very slowly descending —Surveyor 3 settled down to a soft landing as intended. This Surveyor mission was the first one that carried a surface-soil sampling-scoop, which can be seen on its extendable arm in the pictures. This mechanism was mounted on an
    5.00
    2 votes
    215
    Surveyor 5

    Surveyor 5

    Surveyor 5 was the fifth lunar lander of the American unmanned Surveyor program sent to explore the surface of the Moon. Surveyor 5 landed on Mare Tranquillitatis. A total of 19,049 images were transmitted to Earth. The mission experienced a helium leak in the system that pressurized the liquid-fuel vernier engines that could have resulted in failure. An improvised landing sequence which started the retrorocket just 42 km above the moon (about half the usual height) allowed vernior engines to bring the craft down in 106 seconds from a height of only 1340 m (about 10% of the usual). This brought the craft down with a helium pressure on the edge of what would have shut the engines down from lack of pressure. The landing, however, was successful, and data was received for 2 weeks after the landing. A miniature chemical analysis lab using an alpha particle backscatter device was used to determine the lunar surface soil consisted of basaltic rock. A similar instrument, the APXS, was used onboard several Mars missions. Surveyor 5 was the third spacecraft in the Surveyor series to achieve a successful lunar soft landing. The spacecraft had a basic triangular structure of aluminum tubing
    5.00
    2 votes
    216
    C/NOFS

    C/NOFS

    C/NOFS, or Communications/Navigation Outage Forecasting System is a satellite developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate to investigate and forecast scintillations in the Earth's ionosphere. It was launched by an Orbital Sciences Corporation Pegasus-XL rocket at 17:01 GMT on 16 April 2008. The satellite, which will be operated by the USAF STP, will allow the US military to predict the effects of ionospheric activity on signals from communication and navigation satellites, outages of which could potentially cause problems in battlefield situations. C/NOFS has a three-axis stabilisation system, and is equipped with seven sensors. It was placed into a low Earth orbit with orbital inclination of 13°, a perigee of 400 km and an apogee of 850 km. It carries the CINDI experiment for NASA. Launch was originally scheduled for 2003, but was delayed due to a number of issues. The spacecraft payload consists of the following instruments: C/NOFS science data is now available online for general use. VEFI and PLP data are available through NASA Goddard's Coordinated Data Analysis Web (CDAWeb). CINDI data are available through the William B. Hanson Center for Space
    4.00
    3 votes
    217
    COBE

    COBE

    COBE is an architectural firm based in Copenhagen and Berlin. Founded by Danish architect Dan Stubbergaard and German architect Vanessa Miriam Carlow in 2005, the practice has beem particularly successful within the area of urban planning but also made a number of award-winning designs of buildings and urban spaces. The name of the practice is an acronym for the two cities in which it is based, COpenhagen and BErlin. COBE was founded in 2005 by Danish architect Dan Stubbergaard and German architect Vanessa Miriam Carlow. In 2006 the firm won the Golden Bear at the 10th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale for the project CO-Ecolution which was made in collaboration with three other young Danish practices. In March 2009 the firm won the large international competition for a masterplan for the North Harbour area in Copenhagen. This success has been followed by a number of other wins in planning competitions, such as those of the North Campus area in Copenhagen (2011), the Central Station area in Aarhus and Lund Science Village in Lund, Sweden. The practice has also designed a number of buildings and urban spaces.
    4.50
    2 votes
    218
    Jason 1

    Jason 1

    Jason-1 is a satellite oceanography mission to monitor global ocean circulation, study the ties between the ocean and the atmosphere, improve global climate forecasts and predictions, and monitor events such as El Niño and ocean eddies. It is the successor to the TOPEX/Poseidon mission, which measured ocean surface topography from 1992 through 2005. Like its predecessor, Jason-1 is a joint project between the NASA (United States) and CNES (France) space agencies. Jason-1's successor, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission on the Jason-2 satellite, was launched in June 2008. These satellites provide a unique global view of the oceans that is impossible to acquire using traditional ship-based sampling. Jason-1 was built by Thales Alenia Space using a Proteus platform, under a contract from CNES, as well as the main Jason-1 instrument, the Poseidon-2 altimeter (successor to the Poseidon altimeter on-board TOPEX/Poseidon) Jason-1 was designed to measure climate change through very precise millimeter-per-year measurements of global sea level changes. As did TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 uses an altimeter to measure the hills and valleys of the ocean's surface. These measurements of sea surface
    5.00
    1 votes
    219
    LCROSS

    LCROSS

    The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was a robotic spacecraft operated by NASA. The mission was conceived as a low-cost means of determining the nature of hydrogen detected at the polar regions of the moon. The main LCROSS mission objective was to explore the presence of water ice in a permanently shadowed crater near a lunar polar region. It was successful in discovering water in the southern lunar crater Cabeus. It was launched together with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on June 18, 2009, as part of the shared Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, the first American mission to the Moon in over ten years. Together, LCROSS and LRO form the vanguard of NASA's return to the Moon, and are expected to influence United States government decisions on whether or not to colonize the Moon. LCROSS was designed to collect and relay data from the impact and debris plume resulting from the launch vehicle's spent Centaur upper stage (and data collecting Shepherding Spacecraft) striking the crater Cabeus near the south pole of the Moon. Centaur had nominal impact mass of 2,305 kg (5,081 lb), and an impact velocity of about 10,000 km/h (6,200 mph), releasing the kinetic
    5.00
    1 votes
    220
    Mars Global Surveyor

    Mars Global Surveyor

    The Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) was a US spacecraft developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and launched November 1996. It began the United States's return to Mars after a 10-year absence. It completed its primary mission in January 2001 and was in its third extended mission phase when, on 2 November 2006, the spacecraft failed to respond to messages and commands. A faint signal was detected three days later which indicated that it had gone into safe mode. Attempts to recontact the spacecraft and resolve the problem failed, and NASA officially ended the mission in January 2007. The Surveyor spacecraft, fabricated at the Lockheed Martin Astronautics plant in Denver, is a rectangular-shaped box with wing-like projections (solar panels) extending from opposite sides. When fully loaded with propellant at the time of launch, the spacecraft weighed 1,060 kg (2,337 lb). Most of Surveyor's mass lies in the box-shaped module occupying the center portion of the spacecraft. This center module is made of two smaller rectangular modules stacked on top of each other, one of which is called the equipment module and holds the spacecraft's electronics, science instruments, and the 1750A
    5.00
    1 votes
    221
    Mars Observer

    Mars Observer

    The Mars Observer spacecraft, also known as the Mars Geoscience/Climatology Orbiter, was a 1,018-kilogram (2,244 lb) robotic space probe launched by NASA on September 25, 1992 to study the Martian surface, atmosphere, climate and magnetic field. During the interplanetary cruise phase, communication with the spacecraft was lost on August 21, 1993, 3 days prior to orbital insertion. Attempts to re-establish communication with the spacecraft were unsuccessful. In 1984, a high priority mission to Mars was set forth by the Solar System Exploration Committee. Then titled the Mars Geoscience/Climatology Orbiter, the Martian orbiter was planned to expand on the vast information already gathered by the Viking program. Preliminary mission goals expected the probe to provide planetary magnetic field data, detection of certain spectral line signatures of minerals on the surface, images of the surface at 1 meter/pixel and global elevation data. Mars Observer was originally planned to be launched in 1990 by a Space Shuttle Orbiter. The possibility for an expendable rocket to be used was also suggested, if the spacecraft would be designed to meet certain constraints. On March 12th, 1987, the
    5.00
    1 votes
    222
    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

    Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is a multipurpose spacecraft designed to conduct reconnaissance and Exploration of Mars from orbit. The US$720 million spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin under the supervision of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The mission is managed by the JPL, at California Institute of Technology, La Canada Flintridge, California, for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. It was launched August 12, 2005, and attained Martian orbit on March 10, 2006. In November 2006, after five months of aerobraking, it entered its final science orbit and began its primary science phase. As MRO entered orbit it joined five other active spacecraft which were either in orbit or on the planet surface: Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Express, Mars Odyssey, and two Mars Exploration Rovers; at the time a record for the most operational spacecraft in the immediate vicinity of Mars. MRO contains a host of scientific instruments such as cameras, spectrometers, and radar, which are used to analyze the landforms, stratigraphy, minerals, and ice of Mars. It paves the way for future spacecraft by monitoring Mars' daily weather and surface conditions, studying potential
    5.00
    1 votes
    223
    Progress spacecraft

    Progress spacecraft

    The Progress (Russian: Прогресс) is a Russian expendable freighter spacecraft. The spacecraft is an unmanned resupply spacecraft during its flight but upon docking with a space station, it allows astronauts inside, hence it is classified manned by the manufacturer. It was derived from the Soyuz spacecraft, and is launched with the Soyuz rocket. It is currently used to supply the International Space Station, but was originally used to supply Soviet space stations for many years. There are three to four flights of the Progress spacecraft to the ISS per year. Each spacecraft remains docked until shortly before the new one, or a Soyuz (which uses the same docking ports) arrives. Then it is filled with waste, disconnected, deorbited, and destroyed in the atmosphere. Because of the different Progress variants used for ISS, NASA uses its own nomenclature where "ISS 1P" means the first Progress spacecraft to ISS. It has carried fuel and other supplies to all the space stations since Salyut 6. The idea for the Progress came from the realisation that in order for long duration space missions to be possible, there would have to be a constant source of supplies. It had been determined that a
    5.00
    1 votes
    224
    Suisei probe

    Suisei probe

    Suisei (すいせい; Japanese for Comet), originally known as Planet-A, was an unmanned space probe developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (now part of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA). It constituted a part of the Halley Armada together with Sakigake, the Soviet/French Vega probes, the ESA Giotto and the NASA International Cometary Explorer, to explore Halley's Comet during its 1986 sojourn through the inner solar system. Suisei was identical in construction and shape to Sakigake, but carried a different payload: a CCD UV imaging system and a solar wind instrument. The main objective of the mission was to take UV images of the hydrogen corona for about 30 days before and after Comet Halley's descending crossing of the ecliptic plane. Solar wind parameters were measured for a much longer time period. The spacecraft is spin-stabilized at two different rates (5 and 0.2 rpm). Hydrazine thrusters are used for attitude and velocity control; star and sun sensors are for attitude control; and a mechanically despun off-set parabolic dish is used for long range communication. Suisei was launched on August 18, 1985 by M-3SII-2 launch vehicle from Kagoshima
    5.00
    1 votes
    225
    Pioneer Venus project

    Pioneer Venus project

    The Pioneer mission to Venus comprised two components, launched separately. Pioneer Venus 1 or Pioneer Venus Orbiter was launched in 1978, and studied the planet for more than a decade after orbital insertion in 1978. Pioneer Venus 2 or Pioneer Venus Multiprobe sent four small probes into the Venusian atmosphere. This was managed by NASA Ames Research Center as part of the Pioneer series of spacecraft that included Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11. Pioneer Venus Orbiter or Pioneer Venus 1 was inserted into an elliptical orbit around Venus on December 4, 1978. The Orbiter was a flat cylinder, 2.5 m in diameter and 1.2 m high. All instruments and spacecraft subsystems were mounted on the forward end of the cylinder, except the magnetometer, which was at the end of a 4.7 m boom. A solar array extended around the circumference of the cylinder. A 1.09 m despun dish antenna provided S and X band communication with Earth. It was manufactured by Hughes Aircraft Company. The Pioneer Venus Orbiter carried 17 experiments (with a total mass of 45 kg): From Venus orbit insertion to July 1980, periapsis was held between 142 and 253 km (at 17 degrees north latitude) to facilitate radar and ionospheric
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    Explorer 5

    Explorer 5

    Explorer 5 (EXPLR5) was a United States satellite with a mass of 17.24 kg. It launched atop a Jupiter-C rocket on August 24, 1958 from Launch Complex 5, but failed when the rocket's booster collided with its second stage after separation, causing the upper stage firing angle to be off.
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    Explorer 6

    Explorer 6

    Explorer 6 (1959-004A or S-2) was a United States satellite launched on August 7, 1959. It was a small, spheroidal satellite designed to study trapped radiation of various energies, galactic cosmic rays, geomagnetism, radio propagation in the upper atmosphere, and the flux of micrometeorites. It also tested a scanning device designed for photographing the Earth's cloud cover, and transmitted the first pictures of Earth from orbit. The satellite was launched into a highly elliptical orbit with an initial local time of apogee of 2100 h. The satellite was spin-stabilized at 2.8 rps, with the direction of the spin axis having a right ascension of 217 degrees and a declination of 23 degrees. Four solar cell paddles mounted near its equator recharged the storage batteries while in orbit. Each experiment except the television scanner had two outputs, digital and analog. A UHF transmitter was used for the digital telemetry and the TV signal. Two VHF transmitters were used to transmit the analog signal. The VHF transmitters were operated continuously. The UHF transmitter was operated for only a few hours each day. Only three of the solar cell paddles fully erected, and this occurred during
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    LISA Pathfinder

    LISA Pathfinder

    LISA Pathfinder is the revised name for SMART-2 or Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology-2, a NASA/ESA space probe to be launched in 2014. The aim of the LISA Pathfinder is to test technologies needed for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, a joint NASA/ESA gravitational wave detector. It will contain one arm of the LISA interferometer, shortened from 5 Gm (5 million km) to 35 cm. In particular, it will verify: LISA Pathfinder is being built by EADS Astrium Ltd. of Stevenage, UK under contract to the European Space Agency. It will carry a European 'LISA Test Package' comprising inertial sensors, interferometer and associated instrumentation as well as two drag-free control systems: a European one using field emission electric propulsion (FEEP) thrusters, and a US-built 'Disturbance Reduction System' using slightly different sensors and colloid thrusters that use ionised droplets of a colloid accelerated in an electric field. The LISA Test Package is being integrated by Astrium Germany, but the instruments and components are being supplied to Astrium by contributing institutions across Europe. The noise rejection technical requirements on the interferometer are very
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    Mariner 10

    Mariner 10

    Mariner 10 was an American robotic space probe launched by NASA on November 3, 1973, to fly by the planets Mercury and Venus. Mariner 10 was launched approximately two years after Mariner 9 and was the last spacecraft in the Mariner program (Mariner 11 and 12 were allocated to the Voyager program and redesignated Voyager 1 and Voyager 2). The mission objectives were to measure Mercury's environment, atmosphere, surface, and body characteristics and to make similar investigations of Venus. Secondary objectives were to perform experiments in the interplanetary medium and to obtain experience with a dual-planet gravity assist mission. There currently is a spacecraft mission doing a more in-depth survey of Mercury, MESSENGER. The planning of the mission was dependent on Mariner 10's data sets. Mariner 10 was the first spacecraft to make use of an interplanetary gravitational slingshot maneuver, using Venus to bend its flight path and bring its perihelion down to the level of Mercury's orbit. This maneuver, inspired by the orbital mechanics calculations of the Italian scientist Giuseppe Colombo, put the spacecraft into an orbit that repeatedly brought it back to Mercury. Mariner 10 used
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    Persona

    Persona

    Persona is a class of Russian reconnaissance satellites, derived from the Resurs DK class of remote sensing satellite, itself derived from the Soviet Yantar reconnaissance satellites. The satellites are built by TsSKB-Progress, and the optics by LOMO and the Vavilov State Optical Institute. The first satellite, identified as Kosmos 2441, was launched into a 750 km sun synchronous orbit on 26 July 2008, atop a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket from LC-43/4 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome It reportedly failed to return useful imagery due to an electrical malfunction. The satellites have a mass of 6,500 kilograms (14,000 lb), are 7 metres (23 ft) long, and 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) in diameter. The satellites optical subsystems are believed to be based on a 3-mirror Korsch type telescope with a primary mirror diameter of 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) and focal length of 20 metres (66 ft). The CCD sensor is probably ELCT1080v1U with a pixel size of 9 µm. The CCD is produced by ELAR, previously known as ELECTRON-OPTRONIC. The focal plane unit is manufactured by NPO Opteks. The satellites have a nadir image resolution of 33 centimetres (13 in), using panchromatic imagery. They are planned to operate for 7 years.
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    Venera 15

    Venera 15

    Venera 15 (Russian: Венера-15) was a spacecraft sent to Venus by the Soviet Union. This unmanned orbiter was to map the surface of Venus using high resolution imaging systems. The spacecraft was identical to Venera 16 and based on modifications to the earlier Venera space probes. Venera 15 was launched on June 2, 1983 at 02:38:39 UTC and reached Venus' orbit on October 10, 1983. The spacecraft was inserted into Venus orbit a day apart from Venera 16, with its orbital plane shifted by an angle of approximately 4° relative to one another probe. This made it possible to reimage an area if necessary. The spacecraft was in a nearly polar orbit with a periapsis ~1000 km, at 62°N latitude, and apoapsis ~65000 km, with an inclination ~90°, the orbital period being ~24 hours. Together with Venera 16, the spacecraft imaged the area from the north pole down to about 30°N latitude (i.e. approx. 25% of Venus surface) over the 8 months of mapping operations. The Venera 15 and 16 spacecraft were identical and were based on modifications to the orbiter portions of the Venera 9 and Venera 14 probes. Each spacecraft consisted of a 5 m long cylinder with a 0.6 m diameter, 1.4 m tall parabolic dish
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    Venera 3

    Venera 3

    Venera 3 (Russian: Венера-3) (Manufacturer's Designation: 3MV-3) was a Venera program space probe that was built and launched by the Soviet Union to explore the surface of Venus. It was launched on November 16, 1965 at 04:19 UTC from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The mission of this spacecraft was to land on the Venusian surface. The entry body contained a radio communication system, scientific instruments, electrical power sources, and medallions bearing the State Coat of Arms of the U.S.S.R. The probe crash-landed on Venus on March 1, 1966 becoming the first spacecraft to land on another planet's surface. It impacted on the night side of Venus, near the terminator, probably around -20° to 20° N, 60° to 80° E. However, its communications systems failed before it could return any information about the planet.
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    Deep Space 1

    Deep Space 1

    Deep Space 1 (DS1) is a spacecraft of the NASA New Millennium Program dedicated to testing a payload of advanced, high risk technologies. Launched on 24 October 1998, the Deep Space mission carried out a flyby of asteroid 9969 Braille, which was selected as the mission's science target. Its mission was extended twice to include an encounter with Comet Borrelly and further engineering testing. Problems during its initial stages and with its star tracker led to repeated changes in mission configuration. While the flyby of the asteroid was a partial success, the encounter with the comet retrieved valuable information. Three of twelve technologies on board had to work within a few minutes of separation from the carrier rocket for the mission to continue. The Deep Space series was continued by the Deep Space 2 probes, which were launched in January 1999 on Mars Polar Lander and were intended to strike the surface of Mars. Deep Space 1 was the first spacecraft to use ion powered rocketry, in contrast to the traditional chemical powered rockets. The Autonav system, developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, takes images of known bright asteroids. The asteroids in the inner Solar
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    Delfi-C3

    Delfi-C3

    Delfi-C is a CubeSat satellite constructed by students at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. It is a 3-unit CubeSat, and was launched at 03:53:42 on 28 April 2008, as part of the NLS-4 mission, aboard a PSLV rocket, from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India. The launch was contracted by ISRO, through Antrix Corporation and UTIAS. The satellite's primary mission is technology demonstration and development. It is carrying new types of solar cells, a solar sensor for TNO Science and Industry, and a high-efficiency transceiver experiment. Delfi-C does not contain batteries, as the experiments are dependent on the sun. She is the fourth Dutch Satellite, after ANS, IRAS and SLOSHSAT. It is the first Dutch university Satellite and is based on a 3-Unit CubeSat. Some other mission characteristics include: The Delfi-C ground segment consists of two command ground station, the primary being in Delft and the backup station at the TU Eindhoven in Eindhoven. For data collection, A distributed ground station network (DGSN) is used in which radio amateurs receive packets and sent these via internet to the central data collection server. Data decoding
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    GOES 3

    GOES 3

    GOES 3, known as GOES-C before becoming operational, is an American geostationary weather and communications satellite. It was originally built for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system, and was launched in June 1978. It is positioned in geostationary orbit, from where it was initially used for weather forecasting in the United States. Since ceasing to function as a weather satellite in 1989, it has been used as a communications satellite, and having spent over thirty one years in operation, it is one of the oldest functioning satellites in orbit. GOES 3 was built by Ford Aerospace, and is based around the satellite bus developed for the SMS programme. At launch it had a mass of 627 kilograms (1,380 lb). GOES-C was launched using a Delta 2914 carrier rocket flying from Launch Complex 17B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 10:49 GMT on 16 June 1978, just two minutes short of a year after the previous satellite, GOES 2. The launch successfully placed GOES-C into a geosynchronous transfer orbit, from which it raised itself to geostationary orbit using an onboard SVM-5
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    Lunar Orbiter 2

    Lunar Orbiter 2

    The Lunar Orbiter 2 spacecraft was designed primarily to photograph smooth areas of the lunar surface for selection and verification of safe landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions. It was also equipped to collect selenodetic, radiation intensity, and micrometeoroid impact data. The spacecraft was placed in a cislunar trajectory and injected into an elliptical near-equatorial lunar orbit for data acquisition after 92.5 hours flight time. The initial orbit was 196 by 1,850 kilometres (122 × 1,150 mi) at an inclination of 11.8 degrees. The perilune was lowered to 49.7 kilometres (30.9 mi) five days later after 33 orbits. A failure of the amplifier on the final day of readout, December 7, resulted in the loss of six photographs. On December 8, 1966 the inclination was altered to 17.5 degrees to provide new data on lunar gravity. The spacecraft acquired photographic data from November 18 to 25, 1966, and readout occurred through December 7, 1966. A total of 609 high resolution and 208 medium resolution frames were returned, most of excellent quality with resolutions down to 1 metre (3 ft 3 in). These included a spectacular oblique picture of Copernicus crater, which was
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    LUNAR-A

    LUNAR-A

    LUNAR-A is a cancelled Japanese spacecraft project that was originally scheduled to be launched in August 2004. After many delays (primarily due to potential thruster faults, the project was eventually cancelled in January 2007. It was planned to be launched on a Japanese M-V rocket from the Kagoshima Space Center. The vehicle would have been cylindrical, with a diameter of 2.2 m and a height of 1.7 m. It would have had four solar panels and was engineered to be spin-stabilized. Plans called for it to enter an elliptical orbit around the Moon, and deploy two penetrators at an altitude of 40 km on opposite sides of the lunar body. The penetrators were to have been braked by a small rocket at an altitude of 25 km, then free fall to the surface. They were designed to withstand a collision speed of 330 meters per second to deeply penetrate the lunar regolith. Once the penetrators deployed, the LUNAR-A spacecraft was mission-planned to maneuver to an orbital altitude of 200 km above the lunar surface. The craft was to have carried a monochromatic imaging camera with a resolution of 30 m.
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    Mariner 4

    Mariner 4

    Mariner 4 (together with Mariner 3 known as Mariner-Mars 1964) was the fourth in a series of spacecraft, launched on November 28, 1964, intended for planetary exploration in a flyby mode and performed the first successful flyby of the planet Mars, returning the first pictures of the Martian surface. It captured the first images of another planet ever returned from deep space; their depiction of a cratered, seemingly dead world largely changed the view of the scientific community on life on Mars. Mariner 4 was designed to conduct closeup scientific observations of Mars and to transmit these observations to Earth. Other mission objectives were to perform field and particle measurements in interplanetary space in the vicinity of Mars and to provide experience in and knowledge of the engineering capabilities for interplanetary flights of long duration. On December 21, 1967 communications with Mariner 4 were terminated. The Mariner 4 spacecraft consisted of an octagonal magnesium frame, 127 cm across a diagonal and 45.7 cm high. Four solar panels were attached to the top of the frame with an end-to-end span of 6.88 meters, including solar pressure vanes which extended from the ends. A
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    Mars 3

    Mars 3

    Mars 3 was an unmanned space probe of the Soviet Mars program which spanned between 1960 and 1973. Mars 3 was launched nine days after its twin spacecraft Mars 2. Both probes were identical spacecraft, each consisting of an orbiter and an attached lander. After Mars 2 crash-landed on the martian surface, Mars 3 lander became the first spacecraft to attain soft landing on Mars. Both probes were launched by Proton-K rockets with Blok D upper stages. The primary purpose of the orbiter was to study the topography of the surface; analyze its soil composition; measure various properties of the atmosphere; monitor "solar radiation, the solar wind, and the interplanetary and martian magnetic fields." In addition, it served as a "communications relay to send signals from the lander to Earth." The orbiter suffered from a partial loss of fuel and did not have enough to put itself into a planned 25 hour orbit. The engine instead performed a truncated burn to put the spacecraft into a highly-elliptical long-period (12 day, 19 hours) orbit about Mars. By coincidence, a particularly large dust storm on Mars adversely affected the mission. When Mariner 9 arrived and successfully orbited Mars on 14
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    Mars 96

    Mars 96

    Mars 96 (sometimes called Mars 8) was a failed Mars mission launched in 1996 to investigate Mars by the Russian Space Forces and not directly related to the Soviet Mars probe program of the same name. After failure of the second fourth-stage burn, the probe assembly re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, breaking up over a 200-mile long portion of the Pacific Ocean, Chile, and Bolivia. The Mars 96 spacecraft was based on the Phobos probes launched to Mars in 1988. They were of a new design at the time and both ultimately failed. For the Mars 96 mission the designers believed they had corrected the flaws of the Phobos probes, but the value of their improvements was never demonstrated due to the destruction of the probe during the launch phase. It was, however, a very ambitious mission and the heaviest interplanetary probe launched up to that time. The mission included an orbiter, surface stations and surface penetrators. The mission included a large complement of instruments provided by France, Germany, other European countries and the United States. Similar instruments have since been flown on Mars Express, launched in 2003. Its project scientist was Alexander Zakharov. Mars 96 was
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    Pioneer 11

    Pioneer 11

    Pioneer 11 (also known as Pioneer G) is a 259-kilogram (569 lb) robotic space probe launched by NASA on April 6, 1973 to study the asteroid belt, the environment around Jupiter and Saturn, solar wind, cosmic rays, and eventually the far reaches of the solar system and heliosphere. It was the first probe to encounter Saturn and the second to fly through the asteroid belt and by Jupiter. Due to power constraints and the vast distance to the probe, communication has been lost since November 30, 1995. Approved in February 1969, Pioneer 11 and twin probe Pioneer 10 were the first to be designed for exploring the outer solar system. Yielding to multiple proposals throughout the 1960s, early mission objectives were defined as: Subsequent planning for an encounter with Saturn added many more goals: Pioneer 11 was built by TRW and managed as part of the Pioneer program by NASA Ames Research Center. A backup unit, Pioneer H, is currently on display in the "Milestones of Flight" exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.. Many elements of the mission proved to be critical in the planning of the Voyager Program. Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 carry a gold-anodized aluminum
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    Prospero X-3

    Prospero X-3

    The Prospero satellite, also known as the X-3, was launched by the United Kingdom in 1971. It was designed to undertake a series of experiments to study the effects of space environment on communications satellites and remained operational until 1973, after which it was contacted annually for over twenty-five years. Although Prospero was the first (and, to date, only) British satellite to have been launched successfully by a British rocket, the first British satellite placed in orbit was Ariel 1, launched in April 1962 on an American rocket. Prospero has the COSPAR (NSSC ID) designation 1971-093A and the US Space Command satellite catalogue number 05580. Prospero was built by the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough. Initially called Puck, it was designed to conduct experiments to test the technologies necessary for communication satellites, such as solar cells, telemetry and power systems. It also carried a micrometeoroid detector, to measure the presence of very small particles. When the Ministry of Defence cancelled the Black Arrow programme, the development team decided to continue with the project, but renamed the satellite Prospero when it was announced it would be the
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    Radiation Belt Storm Probes

    Radiation Belt Storm Probes

    The Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) is a NASA mission under the Living With a Star program. The probes were launched on August 30, 2012 to help study the dynamic regions of space known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts that surround Earth. Understanding the radiation belt environment and its variability has important practical applications in the areas of spacecraft operations, spacecraft system design, mission planning and astronaut safety. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the overall Living With a Star program of which RBSP is a project, along with Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The Applied Physics Laboratory is responsible for the overall implementation and instrument management for RBSP. The primary mission is scheduled to last 2 years, with expendables expected to last for 4 years. The spacecraft will also work in close collaboration with the Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL), which can measure particles that break out of the belts and make it all the way to Earth's atmosphere. The Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission is part of NASA’s Living With a Star program, which is managed by Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. The Johns
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    Spirit rover

    Spirit rover

    Spirit, MER-A (Mars Exploration Rover – A), is a robotic rover on Mars, active from 2004 to 2010. It was one of two rovers of NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission. It landed successfully on Mars at 04:35 Ground UTC on January 4, 2004, three weeks before its twin, Opportunity (MER-B), landed on the other side of the planet. Its name was chosen through a NASA-sponsored student essay competition. The rover became stuck in late 2009, and its last communication with Earth was sent on March 22, 2010. The rover completed its planned 90-sol mission. Aided by cleaning events that resulted in higher power from its solar panels, Spirit went on to function effectively over twenty times longer than NASA planners expected following mission completion. Spirit also logged 7.73 km (4.8 mi) of driving instead of the planned 600 m (0.4 mi), allowing more extensive geological analysis of Martian rocks and planetary surface features. Initial scientific results from the first phase of the mission (the 90-sol prime mission) were published in a special issue of the journal Science. On May 1, 2009 (5 years, 3 months, 27 Earth days after landing; 21.6 times the planned mission duration), Spirit
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    Sputnik 1

    Sputnik 1

    Sputnik 1 (Russian: "Cпутник-1" Russian pronunciation: [ˈsputʲnʲək], "Satellite-1", ПС-1 (PS-1, i.e. "Простейший Спутник-1", or Elementary Satellite-1)) was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957. The surprise success precipitated the American Sputnik crisis, began the Space Age and triggered the Space Race, a part of the larger Cold War. The launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. Sputnik was also scientifically valuable. The density of the upper atmosphere could be deduced from its drag on the orbit, and the propagation of its radio signals gave information about the ionosphere. Sputnik 1 was launched during the International Geophysical Year from Site No.1/5, at the 5th Tyuratam range, in Kazakh SSR (now at the Baikonur Cosmodrome). The satellite travelled at about 29,000 kilometers (18,000 mi) per hour, taking 96.2 minutes to complete each orbit. It transmitted on 20.005 and 40.002 MHz which were monitored by amateur radio operators throughout the world. The signals continued for 22 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on 26 October 1957.
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    STEREO

    STEREO

    STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) is a solar observation mission. Two nearly identical spacecraft were launched into orbits around the sun that cause them to respectively pull farther ahead of and fall gradually behind the Earth. This will enable stereoscopic imaging of the Sun and solar phenomena, such as coronal mass ejections. The two STEREO spacecraft were launched at 0052 UTC on October 26, 2006 from Launch Pad 17B at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a Delta II 7925-10L launcher into highly elliptical geocentric orbits. The apogee reached the Moon's orbit. On December 15, 2006, on the fifth orbit, the pair swung by the Moon for a gravitational slingshot. Because the two spacecraft were in slightly different orbits, the "ahead" (A) spacecraft was ejected to a heliocentric orbit inside Earth's orbit while the "behind" (B) spacecraft remained temporarily in a high earth orbit. The B spacecraft encountered the Moon again on the same orbital revolution on January 21, 2007, ejecting itself from earth orbit in the opposite direction from spacecraft A. Spacecraft B entered a heliocentric orbit outside the Earth's orbit. Spacecraft A will take 347 days
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    Surveyor 1

    Surveyor 1

    Surveyor 1 was the first lunar soft-lander in the unmanned Surveyor program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, United States). This lunar soft-lander gathered data about the lunar surface that would be needed for the manned Apollo Moon landings that began in 1969. The successful soft landing of Surveyor 1 on the Ocean of Storms was the first one by an American space probe onto any extraterrestrial body, and it occurred just four months after the first Moon landing by the Soviet Union's Luna 9 probe. This was also a success on NASA's first attempt at a soft landing on any astronomical object. Surveyor 1 was launched May 30, 1966, from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and it landed on the Moon on June 2, 1966. Surveyor 1 transmitted 11,237 still photos of the lunar surface to the Earth by using a television camera and a sophisticated radio-telemetry system. The Surveyor program was managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Los Angeles County, but the entire Surveyor space probe was designed and built by the Hughes Aircraft Company in El Segundo, California. The Surveyor series of space probes was designed to carry out the
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    Surveyor 2

    Surveyor 2

    Surveyor 2 was to be the second lunar lander in the unmanned American Surveyor program to explore the Moon. It was launched September 20, 1966 from Cape Kennedy, Florida aboard an Atlas-Centaur rocket. A mid-course correction failure resulted in the spacecraft losing control. Contact was lost with the spacecraft at 9:35 UTC, September 22. On February 3, 1966 Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data to Earth. Several months after, Surveyor 1 launched on May 30, 1966; and landed on Oceanus Procellarum on June 2, 1966, also transmitting photographic data back to Earth. This spacecraft was the second of a series designed to achieve a soft landing on the moon and to return lunar surface photography for determining characteristics of the lunar terrain for Apollo program lunar landing missions. Besides transmitting photos, Surveyor 2 was planned to perform a 'bounce', to photograph underneath its own landing site. It was also equipped to return data on radar reflectivity of the lunar surface, bearing strength of the lunar surface, and spacecraft temperatures for use in the analysis of lunar surface temperatures. The
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    Vanguard 3

    Vanguard 3

    Vanguard 3 (international designation 1959 Eta 1) is a scientific satellite that was launched into Earth orbit by a Vanguard rocket on September 18, 1959, the third successful Vanguard launch out of eleven attempts. The satellite was launched from the Eastern Test Range into a geocentric orbit. The objectives of the flight were to measure the Earth's magnetic field, the solar X-ray radiation and its effects on the Earth's atmosphere, and the near-earth micrometeoroid environment. Instrumentation included a proton magnetometer, X-ray ionization chambers, and various micrometeoroid detectors. The spacecraft was a 50.8-cm-diameter magnesium sphere. The magnetometer was housed in a glass fiber phenolic resin conical tube attached to the sphere. Data transmission stopped on December 11, 1959, after 84 days of operation. The data obtained provided a comprehensive survey of the Earth's magnetic field over the area covered, defined the lower edge of the Van Allen radiation belt, and provided a count of micrometeoroid impacts. Vanguard 3 has an expected orbital lifetime of 300 years. This experiment had a proton precessional magnetometer to measure the Earth's magnetic field at altitudes
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    Venera 6

    Venera 6

    Venera 6 (Russian: Венера-6) (manufacturer's designation: 2V (V-69)) was a Soviet spacecraft, launched from a Tyazheliy Sputnik (69-002C) on January 10, 1969 towards Venus to obtain atmospheric data. It had an on-orbit dry mass of 1130 kg. The spacecraft was very similar to Venera 4 although it was of a stronger design. When the atmosphere of Venus was approached, a capsule weighing 405 kg was jettisoned from the main spacecraft. This capsule contained scientific instruments. During descent towards the surface of Venus, a parachute opened to slow the rate of descent. For 51 min on May 17, 1969, while the capsule was suspended from the parachute, data from the Venusian atmosphere were returned. It landed at 5°S 23°E / 5°S 23°E / -5; 23. The spacecraft also carried a medallion bearing the State Coat of Arms of the U.S.S.R. and a bas-relief of V.I. Lenin to the night side of Venus. Given the results from Venera 4, the Venera 5 and Venera 6 landers contained new chemical analysis experiments tuned to provide more precise measurements of the atmosphere's components. Knowing the atmosphere was extremely dense, the parachutes were also made smaller so the capsule would reach its full
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