Encyclopedia Astronautica
ERS



ers.jpg
ERS
Credit: NASA
American earth magnetosphere satellite. 7 launches, 1962.09.17 (TRS) to 1967.04.28. Environmental Research Satellites were especially designed for piggyback launching from large primary mission vehicles.

Ranging in mass from 0.7 to 45 kg, and carrying from 1 to 14 experiments, these ERS "hitch-hiker" spacecraft provided an inexpensive, flexible vehicle capable of making scientific and engineering measurements in space. A major role of the ERS satellites was to act as a test bed to determine the reliability of improved components and subsystems destined for use in later generations of spacecraft.

A unique feature of the system was its capability to function without a battery. The key to this advantage was the design which permitted solar cells, fastened to all exterior surfaces of the vehicle, to maintain constant exposure of about 15 percent of the sun. The ERS was a small satellite, measuring in one version only 22 cm on a side and weighing 680 g; the larger version weighed 45 kg and was a 51 cm diameter cylinder. At least 12 satellites were launched from 1962 for a variety of missions and sponsors. The 8-sided version was designated the OV-5 and became a part of a program conducted by the Air Force Office of Aerospace Research. Prime Contractor was TRW Systems Group of TRW Inc.

AKA: Earth Resources Satellite.
Gross mass: 45 kg (99 lb).
First Launch: 1962.09.17.
Last Launch: 1967.04.28.
Number: 7 .

More... - Chronology...


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...
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...
  • Titan The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. 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...
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Titan American orbital launch vehicle. The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. More...
  • Thor Agena B American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x Agena B More...
  • Atlas Agena B American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with improved, enlarged Agena upper stage. More...
  • Atlas Agena D American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with further improved and lightened Agena upper stage. More...
  • Titan 3C American orbital launch vehicle. Titan 3A with five segment solid motors. Man-rated design originally developed for Dynasoar spaceplane. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...
  • TRW American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. TRW Corporation, Redondo Beach, CA, USA. 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.
  • Aerospace Yearbook, 1966,

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...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC1W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC13 Atlas launch complex. Originally built in 1958 for the Atlas ballistic missile program, Complex 13 supported 51 Atlas and Atlas/Agena launches from 1958 to 1978. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC3W Delta, Atlas launch complex. First designated LC1-1 and used to launch Atlas Agena B with Samos payloads. After Samos cancellation, rebuilt in 1963 to support launch of KH-4 Corona spysats atop Thor-Agena. Refurbished in 1973 to accomodate surplus Atlas ICBM's in space launch role. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC3E Atlas V, Atlas launch complex. Atlas test facility, originally designated PALC1-2, then LC1-2, and finally upgraded to a Space Launch Facility in 1966. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC41 Titan, Atlas V launch complex. Complexes 40 and 41 were constructed as part of the Integrate-Transfer-Launch (ITL) Titan launch facility at the north end of Cape Canaveral in the early 1960s. Over the next three decades, the complexes supported a wide variety of military space missions involving Titan IIIC, Titan 34D and Titan IV. Complex 41 was deactivated at the end of 1977, then upgraded for the Titan IV program in the 1986-88 period. In October 1999, Complex 41 was demolished with high explosives in order for a new pad for launch of the Atlas 5 rocket to be erected. By then it had been the starting point for 27 Titan flights. More...

ERS Chronology


1962 September 17 - . 23:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 350 / Agena B 1133.
  • TRS - . Payload: ERS 2. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERS. COSPAR: 1962-A-Chi-xx.

1962 November 11 - . 20:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 128D / Agena B SPS 2405.
  • TRS 1 - . Payload: ERS 1. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERS. COSPAR: 1962-B-Pi-xx.

1963 July 19 - . 03:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 75D / Agena B S01 1207.
  • TRS 10 - . Payload: ERS 10. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERS. COSPAR: 1963-030xx.

1965 July 20 - . 08:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 225D / Agena D 1803.
  • ORS 3 - . Payload: ERS 17. Mass: 5.00 kg (11.00 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERS. Decay Date: 1968-07-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 1460 . COSPAR: 1965-058C. Apogee: 111,793 km (69,464 mi). Perigee: 566 km (351 mi). Inclination: 36.9000 deg. Period: 2,595.40 min. Summary: Radiation data. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1966 June 9 - . 20:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3. LV Configuration: SLV-3 Agena D 7201 / Agena D 1351.
  • ORS 2 - . Payload: ERS 16. Mass: 15 kg (33 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERS. Decay Date: 1967-03-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 2202 . COSPAR: 1966-051C. Apogee: 3,641 km (2,262 mi). Perigee: 178 km (110 mi). Inclination: 90.0000 deg. Period: 125.10 min. Summary: Metal-to-metal bonding experiments. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1966 August 19 - . 19:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3. LV Configuration: SLV-3 Agena D 7202 / Agena D 1352.
  • ORS 1 - . Payload: ERS 15. Mass: 5.00 kg (11.00 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERS. USAF Sat Cat: 2412 . COSPAR: 1966-077C. Apogee: 3,700 km (2,200 mi). Perigee: 3,680 km (2,280 mi). Inclination: 89.7000 deg. Period: 167.60 min. Summary: Cold welding experiments. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1967 April 28 - . 10:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C. LV Configuration: Titan IIIC 3C-10.
  • ERS 18 - . Mass: 9.00 kg (19.80 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERS. USAF Sat Cat: 2767 . COSPAR: 1967-040C. Apogee: 110,842 km (68,873 mi). Perigee: 8,991 km (5,586 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 2,831.30 min. Summary: Radiation research. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

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