Encyclopedia Astronautica
ATS-5


American communications technology satellite. One launch, 1969.08.12, ATS 5.

The experimental goals of ATS-5 included a demonstration using L-band signals to precisely locate ships, tests of an electric ion engine, evaluation of the attenuation effects on RF signals by rain, and C-band communications tests. However, following the firing of the satellite's apogee kick motor, ATS-5 went into an unplanned flat spin. The vehicle recovered and began spinning about the correct axis, but in the direction opposite that planned. As a result, the spacecraft's gravity gradient booms could not be deployed, and some experiments were not functional. The spacecraft was able to perform some of its experimental goals, and was finally boosted above geostationary orbit at the end of its mission.

The spacecraft had an aluminum structure, and drum mounted solar cells provided 150 W BOL and recharged 2 x 6 Ah NiCd batteries. N2 and N2H4 thrusters provided attitude control, yo-yo despin, and nutation control. The solar arrays were cooled by heat pipes. The spacecraft was originally planned as gravity gradient stabilized.

Payloads included a magnetometer, an ion engine (a 10^-5 lbf resistojet), a C-band communications package, a millimeter wave propagation experiment, and an L-band communications experiment.

AKA: Applications Technology Satellite.
Gross mass: 821 kg (1,809 lb).
Height: 1.80 m (5.90 ft).
First Launch: 1969.08.12.
Number: 1 .

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • NSF American agency overseeing development of spacecraft. National Science Foundation, USA. More...
  • Hughes American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Hughes Aircraft Co. , USA More...

Associated Programs
  • ATS The Applications Technology Satellite was a project with the purpose of improving other satellites, specifically to enhance the ability of existing and future satellites to provide weather, and communications data and air/sea navigation aids. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Lockheed Martin Coporation, Atlas Family Fact Sheets, September 1998.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC36A Atlas launch complex. Launch site built in 1960 for NASA's Atlas/Centaur development program, and used for launches of that launch vehicle until its retirement. More...

ATS-5 Chronology


1969 August 12 - . 11:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur SLV-3C. LV Configuration: SLV-3C Centaur AC-18 / Centaur D-1A 5402C.
  • ATS 5 - . Payload: ATS E. Mass: 821 kg (1,809 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Program: ATS. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: ATS-5. Completed Operations Date: 1984-01-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 4068 . COSPAR: 1969-069A. Apogee: 36,024 km (22,384 mi). Perigee: 35,992 km (22,364 mi). Inclination: 14.5000 deg. Period: 1,447.40 min. Applications Technology Satellite; communications tests. Launch vehicle successfully put the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. The spacecraft maneuvered into geostationary orbit at 108 degrees W. The purpose of this flight was to demonstrate North-South Stationkeeping of a geosynchronous satellite. ATS-5 was equipped with an ion engine package identical to that on ATS-4. Once in geosynchronous orbit the spacecraft could not be despun as planned, and thus the spacecraft gravity gradient stabilization could not be implemented. The spacecraft spin rate was about 76 revolutions per minute, and this caused an effective 4g acceleration on the cesium feed system. The high g-loading on the cesium feed system caused flooding of the discharge chamber, and normal operation of the thruster with ion beam extraction could not be performed. The IPS was instead be operated as a neutral plasma source, without high-voltage ion extraction, along with the wire neutralizer to examine spacecraft charging effects. The neutralizer was also operated by itself to provide electron injection for the spacecraft charging experiments. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Americas at 105 deg W in 1969-1977; over the Americas at 70 deg W in 1977-1983. As of 1 September 2001 located at 15.48 deg E drifting at 2.807 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 111.70E drifting at 2.819W degrees per day.

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